SweetPea is one of those special chickens – the kind that exhibits more canine-like behavior than the typical aloof and scattered nature of gallus gallus domesticus. She not only minds you petting her, she demands it.
SweetPea, however, is going through one of the most traumatic molts I’ve seen in my gals so far. Not only does she look like a chicken that’s gone through the washing machine a few too many times, she’s also lost quite a bit of weight, and due to the painful growth of new feathers, no longer can handle being petted or held.
But in spite of all these challenges, SweetPea always keeps her chin up. And even though she’s just a chicken, here’s five lessons from SweetPea we can all benefit from:
Lesson 1: Don’t Judge Based on Looks
SweetPea is not exactly the glamour girl of my small flock, but she’s certainly the friendliest. How often is that the case? Just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean we should judge them immediately. Hold reservation – if even for a second – before you judge. Often, you’ll find that the scary-looking, tattoo-covered girl is the kindest person you’ll ever meet. It’s not always the case, of course. Sometimes that scary girl giving you the mean mug is really mean! But approach people with an open heart and you may be surprised.
Lesson 2: Embrace Yourself
Just like how you shouldn’t readily judge others, you should also avoid judging yourself. SweetPea may look like a chicken that’s gone through the wringer, but it doesn’t stop her from strutting her stuff and remaining true to her sweet, social self. We all have bad hair days, don’t let those days define you. Acknowledge and accept the positive things about yourself. How can others accept you for who you are if you can’t accept yourself?
Lesson 3: When in Doubt, Fake It
I’m not a fan of misrepresenting, but occasionally some forced confidence is necessary. Once in a while you have to put yourself out there in order to take the next step. I do this in my job almost daily. I am, at heart, an introvert and fairly shy. My job has me not only speaking to strangers all the time, but speaking to them in a way that demonstrates my capability as a trainer and my knowledge of the product my company creates. In other words, I have to pretend I know what I’m doing when in reality I’m quaking with fear inside. And that’s ok. Fear has a place. It’s a motivator. So allow yourself, when the occasion arises, to pretend you know your stuff, when maybe your not quite as prepared as you’d like to be. Just look at SweetPea! She is obviously not the most gorgeous chicken. But she doesn’t care. She manufactures her own confidence.
Lesson 4: Accept Change
We’ve all heard the quote “the only thing constant is change…” by Heraclitus. But boy, is it true! You can fight it, kicking and screaming the whole way, but it’s not going to do you any good. All the meticulous planning and all those good-intentions don’t hold water when the Universe has other ideas. SweetPea teaches us to just roll with it. She, of all creatures, doesn’t have much of a say when it comes to things like her living space and mates, but she makes the most of it!
Lesson 5: Love Yourself
This may seam like a repeat of Embrace Yourself. But it’s not. Embracing yourself is step 1. Loving yourself is step 2. Once you’ve become comfortable with your own skin, you can start to build on that and learn to love yourself for who you are. Now, this doesn’t mean to go all narcissistic on me. It just means that you should love yourself enough to make good decisions for you (skip that holiday party you really don’t want to go to, and stay in) and treat your body right (indulge in that piece of pecan pie, but do some tai chi to make up for it). SweetPea never let’s peer-pressure or false-expectations stop her from taking care of #1. We could all learn a little from her!