Pack order

If you have a dog in training, one of the first things a teacher will tell you is to establish yourself as the alpha dog or the pack leader. The alpha dog is the top dog and the one who sets the rules for the pack that all other dogs follow. The alpha dog gets to eat first and gets the best sleeping spot. Speaking of sleeping, the alpha dog sleeps higher than dogs lower in the pack. From a certain vantage point, they are on a pedestal.

I’ve started to notice that in almost everything in life, there is a person, consciously or not, trying to establish pack order.

Friends discussing a debatable topic.
Colleagues in a work group.
Moms in a group of other moms.
Runners in a running group.
Diet trend enthusiast on a message board.
Politicians doing politic things.

There is a usually a person that stands out and wants to be “heard”, be the “expert” or wants to “win” the conversation. And we seek that order. It is there. In every group. Think about it.

Or, looking at it from a different perspective, maybe the person isn’t clamoring for the alpha spot, but in our own mind, we place the person in the position of alpha dog to be the one whom we should follow. Think of a leader in your industry, a person in your community group or someone in your family. Are you taking your lead from their behavior? Are you using their performance as your own measuring stick?

I believe both of these dichotomies, who we are compared to others, exists in our mind all the time. It is ingrained in our culture. Who is the best and how did they get there? If I follow their lead, can I get there too?

But what if, instead, we respected others regardless of their behavior? What if we focused on self-respect? What if we set our own rules for only us and no one else?

I think that would provide an incredible amount of emotional freedom. Don’t be right or wrong, just be. Focus on following your own rules. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, they are not in your pack. Be your own leader. Be a pack of one.