Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Giraffes are graceful and elegant creatures, who are very calm, peaceful and non-threatening. They are very unique in their appearance and stand tall for the majority of the day. Because of their height, giraffes are able to see things from a different perspective to others and are able to take in the bigger picture of what is happening around them.
The lessons we can learn from the giraffe are to embrace your individuality and stand tall in your own beliefs and personality; look at the world from a different perspective and try to see the bigger picture by looking at challenges and problems from a higher perspective; and to be at peace with yourself and the world.
Embrace Your Individuality
With its long neck and unique physique, the giraffe really stands out in the crowd. It isn’t phased by this and in fact it is very calm and peaceful in its demeanour. Being different has as distinct advantage for the giraffe, as it can see further afield and it can reach the highest and juiciest leaves on the tree.
Everybody is different in some way. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, we all look different, we have our own style of clothes, we like different foods and we enjoy different activities. Yet many people don’t value their differences or the differences in others. Many people want to be like others, to do what they do, dress like they dress or to be as slim, good looking, clever or talented as they perceive other people to be. At the same time many people don’t value some of the differences in others and inherently believe that they should fit in with a perceived norm – often either more like them or how they would prefer to be themselves - slim, good looking, clever etc.
Where does this discord come from? Who says that people have to look or be a certain way? Why are people made to feel bad about who they are or what they look like? Much of this comes from embedded beliefs, instilled by the media or family, friends and community that they have grown up in (see ‘Stand In Your Own Tiger Power’).
Nobody should be made to feel less important than they are, or anything less than the wonderful people that they are. That includes you. What have you been wanting to change about yourself and why? Is it because by doing so you will feel better or healthier in yourself, or is it because you feel that society won’t value you as you are and as such you don’t value yourself for who you are? That’s an important distinction to make.
Likewise, question your beliefs about others. Do you think other people should change who they are, or consider them anything less than perfect because they don’t fit in with your ideal? If so, where does that come from? Is it your belief, or one that has been fed to you by others? Ask yourself is it true?
Individuality is precious. It makes us who we are, it makes life interesting, it contributes to the creation of different inventions, books, art, sport etc. Even as you are reading this article, you will have your own unique understanding thoughts and belief systems around it. Own that. You are unique and you have your own gifts to bring to the world.
See From a Different Perspective
Giraffes are very peaceful creatures. Because of their height, they have a unique perspective on life. This has two advantages: they can see things from different perspectives and they can see the bigger picture.
Seeing things from a different angle or perspective is so important. Not only does it enrich your understanding of a given situation, it can help you resolve problems and maintain positive relationships with other people, with whom you might be having a disagreement.
Nobody likes to feel that they are not being listened too, yet in a world where we are so used to multitasking, people are often already forming their replies to conversations before they’ve actually heard everything that has been said. This prevents you from actually fully hearing and considering their argument. It also prevents you from fully processing what is being conveyed, not just spoken. By actively listening you are able to take in, not only the spoken word, but an idea of the feeling and conviction behind the words, which can help you to acknowledge and better understand that viewpoint. From listening to others and trying to see other viewpoints, you can learn more and enhance your own perspective on life, or else discover parts of a jigsaw that pieces together the whole picture and helps you find a resolution. When you can actively listen, see the problem from someone else’s perspective and empathise with them, they are also more likely to mirror your response and see things from your perspective too, leading to better collaboration and improved relationships.
Look At The Bigger Picture
Because of their height, giraffes are able to see much further afield than other animals. This gives them a unique perspective and enables them to see the bigger picture of what is going on around them.
Often a problem can be much bigger than the eye can see. For those of you who play chess, you will know that you have to think two or three moves ahead in order to win the game. In doing so, you are looking at the bigger picture of what is going on and you have to try to think like your opponent to consider the moves they will make next.
Life is very much like this. When you are able to look at a situation and goal objectively and see the bigger picture of what is actually happening, you are more likely to rationalise the situation and see a clearer path towards achieving that goal. Quite often, a goal can be lost amongst a sea of distractions, which can deter you away from your desired goals and outcomes if you are not careful. This can especially be the case when you follow the crowd instead of standing in your own truth. This is where the ability to look at the problem from different perspectives can really help.
Just like the giraffe, you can stand tall in your own individuality by valuing yourself for who you are and what you look like, by forming your own beliefs, taking into account different perspectives and by looking at the bigger picture in life rather than being caught up in the collective viewpoints of others. This in itself will bring you more inner peace.