Let’s face it, there are tons of opportunities to feel burnt out and grossly negative about your training. Beating yourself up about small mistakes; faking illnesses to avoid going to the barn; snapping at loved ones – they’re all the product of a lie that you’ve been believing. The ‘I’m not good enough’ lie. Oh yes, I face it every time I think about going out to Stormy, and I’ve learnt that pushing through often makes things worse (like today for example). The key is to catch the lie before it prevents you from moving forward. Catch it before you’ve decided to go out and greet a disaster. Here’s how:
- Look back. I mean, WAY back (and trust me, this is the only time I recommend looking back at the past). Look at where you’ve come from and remind yourself of all the hurdles you’ve conquered. “Jeannine, you used to be terrified of your first horse! Look at how confident you are with Storm!” or “Hey, you used to mount like an ogre and now you’re lithe as a gymnast!” Immediately I begin to feel better about myself. Look back and realize the even if the hill was small, you still climbed a hill!
- Ask yourself, ‘what does my self-worth depend on?’ If it depends on your friends’ or family’s opinion of you, that’s a problem. Your self-worth should depend on you alone. If you look at yourself and see only good things, so will your horse – and that makes for a really fun session! If you look at yourself and see the bad and the ugly, your horse will totally agree with you and leave you to wallow in self-pity. Here’s the secret: Your horse actually wants to see the best in you. Give him a little help by starting him off. Once the flame catches, it won’t die.
- Do what you enjoy. Not always possible – I know that (boy, do I know that!) But when it is possible, don’t wait! Now is the only time you have, so make use of it! Instead of sitting and worrying about what’s coming (the job, or a meeting, or school) think about what you would like to do, right here. Right now. Then go out and do it! This is my BIGGEST problem, so you’re not alone. It interferes with everything, including Storm’s relationship with me. I am constantly having to convince myself that he’s what I want; not the stress, not the worry – him.
- Find a happy place. Read my article on finding the ideal training spot: Building Your Learning Palace This is going to help you find motivation because there is a safe place waiting. I was reading a book that talked about why indigenous peoples settled where they did. It said that there was something about the land that just felt good; a place that made it easy to live. Try to find a place like that.
- Eat well. Play nice. Stay calm. Put away the laptop for an extra hour a day. Go for a walk when you just don’t know what else to do. Eat something healthy for a change. Drink water. (Yes, I know I’m sounding like your mom, but it all makes a difference.) Build your body up, and your mental/emotional self will follow.
This post was edited February 2018.