Fear is a powerful thing.
Fear of the horse, fear of losing control, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of what might happen, fear of looking stupid, fear of damaging our horse, fear of hurting ourselves, fear of failing, fear of what if we succeed? Fear of not being good enough, fear of being too good. Fear of change….fear of not changing…..fear of not being able to change….
We give power to this fear by fighting it, denying it. In denying the fear, trying to pretend it’s not really there, we ignore the whispers of self doubt. But the self doubt doesn’t go away – it’s there for a reason, and so when we don’t hear it, it has to raise its voice and shout louder and louder to get our attention – and so that slight anxiety we push ourselves through and ignore, grows into nausea, legs shaking and tears when we even think of doing things.
In fighting the fear, we give it power. The fear is from within ourselves, so it is like fighting a reflection. Every ounce of energy we put into fighting the fear feeds into the energy the fear itself has to use against us. We fight ourselves and tear ourselves apart. The fear grows louder, stronger until there is room for nothing else.
Opposition breeds opposition.
Resistance builds resistance.
Aggression and anger towards our fear is aggression and anger towards ourselves.
We become violent to ourselves: when we deny the fear, or fight it and try to force it away – we are forcing ourselves against ourselves….
Can you imagine the damage this does?
It is not fear that is harmful to us. Fear is just our unconscious trying to keep us safe. It is the fear of fear that causes the harm. By being frightened of the fear, and denying or fighting it, we give it a strange power over us – a power of control, of limitation and we allow the fear to stop us from living.
And we are fighting a part of ourselves. A part that is just trying to keep us safe.
When we fight ourselves, we are not coherent or congruent – and our horses know this. A horse is a herd animal, and knows when our energy is divided, when our being is fighting – when there is violence around us.
Fighting or denying fear causes our horses to fear us: when we are not coherent or congruent, how can they trust us?
So what can we do?
What if we treated ourselves like we would treat our horses?
What would we do with a frightened horse?
Would we fight her? Tell her not to be so stupid? Not to be frightened?
Would we deny it? Tell her she’s not frightened, or shouldn’t be – ignore her fear?
We wouldn’t do that to a horse – -and yet so many of us do it to ourselves.
What if instead of denying or fighting fear, we ACCEPTED it.
What if we said “THANK YOU” to it – for keeping us safe, and stopping us from doing dangerous things….
THANK YOU for causing me to think about what I do, so I take care of myself.
I deserve to take care of myself
I am worth it.
What if we said that?
What if we were THANKFUL for our fear?
What if we welcomed and accepted the part of us that is keeping us safe, opened our arms and invited it in, thankful that part of our being is so focused on keeping us safe, and making sure we stay intact.
What if we made the fear feel welcome, comfortable – and relaxed and trusting.
Well then we could have a conversation with it.
Like we would have a conversation with a friend.
Hi there, thanks for keeping me safe – I realise you are doing an important job. I would like to respect the job you do — I would also like to be happy riding my horse. How can I set things up so that both things can be true?
You may be surprised to hear your fear answer you.
Give you some ideas.
Usually, it will suggest taking smaller steps, breaking things down into tinier increments, making sure you are safe at one step before going on to the next.
When I felt fear about riding again after I had a bad fall, I recognised that I had fear. And I asked the question – -what had to happen so that I can respect my fear, stay safe – and ride again?
And instead of just saddling up and riding off, I broke it down into smaller steps: I stood on a large log and leant over my horse, proving that was ok. I did that ten times until I realised there was zero fear or worry. Then I bounced up and down on the log. Ten times. Zero worry. I put my foot in the stirrup – bounced up and down – ten times, no worry. Watching my horse. I stepped up and put my hip into the saddle so all my weight was in the saddle but I could slip off easily. Ten times.
I was talking with my fear, and it was allowing me to make progress. It was also talking to me in a whisper, not a shout.
By taking these small steps, I proved to my fear that I WAS safe. That I could handle things.
And so my fear became my partner – and worked WITH me on keeping me safe that day, and yet I DID ride, and I WAS happy.
Welcoming your fear, being thankful for your fear – takes the POWER away from the fear.
It makes the fear our PARTNER
It means we are working WITH ourselves, not AGAINST ourselves, and our horses will feel that honesty.
Working WITH our fear instead of AGAINST it –
Gives the power back to where it belongs…..
Yours, in Confidence