Self-Esteem Lessons from Scarlett, my Pug

Walking with Scarlett

It’s a beautiful day in Seattle today!  It makes me hopeful that summer has finally arrived…but I am still keeping my fingers crossed {wink}.

I didn’t want to risk missing the sunshine and so headed out for my daily walk with Scarlett, my black pug, at lunchtime.   Our favorite path was full of other Seattle-ite’s who obviously shared our same thought.  As we walked this familiar and beloved stretch of Queen Anne one of the local businesses had turned on their outdoor fountain for the first time this season.  The unexpected noise that this fountain created stopped Scarlett in her tracks!

The Fountain

She dropped low to the ground in fear and anticipation, hopped several steps backwards, and even let out a tiny little yep of nerves.  I stood there with her for several minutes letting her stare down this new, unexpected, unexplored, possibly dangerous (to a pug) noisemaker, inching closer and closer one paw at a time.  It took several minutes, glances back to me for reassurance, sniffs in the air, and baby steps but eventually she made her way to the dreaded fountain.

Once she got there, she sniffed and checked out every inch of that new noisemaker.  She thoroughly explored it until she was ready to move on.  As we walked away from this fountain, I couldn’t help but notice the new swagger and pep in her step.  Every person we passed after this encounter commented on what a “confident” little pug she was.  She was glowing with pride for conquering her fear and it showed!

New Found Confidence

Did you notice that Scarlett’s confidence didn’t come from not having a struggle to overcome on her walk?  Her swagger came from kicking that fountain’s butt! 😀

This same concept is true for us.  Self-Esteem comes from facing and figuring out how to conquer our obstacles, not from not having obstacles.

The Lesson

If this new fountain hadn’t been on during our walk today, Scarlett would have enjoyed her walk, but she also would have missed out on the pride she felt after conquering this obstacle in her life.  The same is true for us.  We can avoid the “new fountains” in our lives, or wish they never happened, but then we’ll miss out on the feeling of confidence that comes from kicking their butts.  That confidence IS self-esteem.

So, let’s take this lesson from Scarlett the pug, and flip the way we define self-esteem.  Next time we encounter something new, scary, or risky don’t wish we had more self-esteem to tackle it, but tackle it because it will give us more self-esteem!