One of the biggest problems when we feel unconfident – is that we tie ourselves in knots ABOUT feeling unconfident.
We start thinking of what everyone else is doing – or what we were doing this time last year, or before our fall – and we beat ourselves up about how we are feeling.
Isn’t that interesting?
One of the biggest changes I see when I coach people is when I say “well of COURSE you are unconfident –with everything that is going on in your life right now – why wouldn’t you be?”
And when they hear those words, when I give them permission to feel exactly how they feel, the shoulders relax, the neck eases, and the breathing changes…..
Try that now on yourself – just say to yourself:
“Of COURSE I am unconfident – why wouldn’t I be? I hereby officially give myself permission to feel exactly how I am feeling!”
Say that a few times and feel the difference in your shoulders, your neck and inside your whole body.
It’s not just with confidence that this happens. One of the biggest things in counselling is enabling people to ACCEPT where they ARE – instead of kicking themselves for not being where they think (or where they have been told) they OUGHT to be.
Before you can manage a feeling, work on a feeling – -you need to accept the feeling.
I have already written an article about how accepting your fear helps you become confident…
But this is about MUCH more than that.
There are MANY things that if you gave yourself permission, would make a HUGE difference to your confidence.
Here are just a few I have seen in my coaching so far this year:
1. Give yourself permission to be exactly where you are in your horsemanship journey
So you don’t know how to do flying changes yet? Or you don’t know how what a renvers is yet? Or maybe you don’t know what to do to help your horse change his behaviours yet? Or you don’t know how to stop your horse from barging through you yet?
Those aren’t character flaws – -you jut don’t know how to do them yet…
A friend of mine would constantly beat herself up about not knowing how to use a computer – she couldn’t use spreadsheets or presentation software which was getting in the way of her work.
One evening she was saying this again when I stopped her – “Why do you expect to be able to do these things – if you have never LEARNED to do them?”
She sat there, and realised that she had never actually had time to learn these things – she signed onto a course and is not confidently using the software and making her job a LOT easier for herself.
So , if you don’t KNOW something – that is not bad news – it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, or shouldn’t have horses – it just means you need to get out there and find a place to LEARN that something. Thanks to social networking and forums we have lots of places to go to ask others how they learned these things.
When you hear yourself saying “but I don’t know HOW TO…..” – add the word “YET” on the end – it really changes how you feel, changing something permanent to something temporary
Listen to the difference:
“I don’t know how to handle my horse safely” vs “I don’t know how to handle my horse safely – yet”
That second one has hope.
In that second one you are giving yourself permission to not know everything, and to go learn about things…. how powerful is that?
2. Give yourself permission to have a life…..
Many people I work with are constantly stressed by not being able to spend enough time with their horses.
What is “enough” time?
In the old days when only professionals had horses, yes, they were ridden every day and kept fit and well trained…but seriously, how many of us who are not professionals have the time to do that?
And does it really hurt our horses?
Sure, our horses would learn faster if we spent two hours a day with them – but you know, we have jobs, studies, family, friends – our horses are a PART of our life, not the whole of it.
I haven’t met a horse yet who complained of a few extra hours or days in the field with the herd….
So how about giving yourself permission to have a life? Sit down and work out what you CAN realistically offer your horses – that might vary between winter and summer of course, so don’t forget that!
When I had the flu, I gave myself permission to give my horses another month off! And now we are restarting our work together. Sure we are a month late – but then I don’t remember having a deadline – working with my horses is for my own fun, and there is no deadline on that.
Giving yourself permission to have a life can be a real boost for your confidence….
3. Give yourself permission to decide what YOU want to do with your horse…
How many times have you been asked “So, what do YOU do with your horse?” – as if we need to be eventing, show jumping or at the very least riding every day to make it reasonable to have a horse in the first place.
You know what – if you want to sit in the field in the sunshine and watch your horses – that’s good enough for me. Give yourself permission to do exactly that.
If you want to groom all day and nothing else – that’s good enough for me. Give yourself permission to do exactly that.
I bet once you have given yourself permission to do these things you will enjoy them a lot more.
4. Give yourself permission to be feeling exactly how you are feeling–
If you are grumpy, tired, worried, anxious, sleepy – give yourself permission to be exactly how you are
If you are happy, bright, sparkly, bubbly – give yourself permission to be exactly how you are
Once you have given yourself permission to be a human being, like the rest of us (yes we are ALL all of those things!) then you can think about whether you want to stay that way….I usually find hugging a horse helps me make any changes
Pretending we are not feeling what we are feeling, or hiding it – means we are not being authentic, and that bothers not just our horses, but also our own unconscious –
Being true to how we are really feeling can have a very positive impact on our confidence….
5. Give yourself permission to BE A STUDENT
What do students do? Are they perfect? Do they always get 100%?
No, they don’t.
Students try things
They make mistakes – except a mistake is really not a problem, it’s just a try that didn’t work.
And if we make mistakes, or try things that don’t work with our horses – why does it matter?
As long as we aren’t violent, forceful or aggressive – -why does it matter?
Giving yourself permission to TRY, to TRY SOMETHING – will give you freedom…
After all, as one of my teachers once said – -“you have a 50-50 chance of getting it right”
So all I do is set things up to make sure if I am not in that 50%, there is no harm done.
Give yourself permission to TRY, and LEARN from your tries
Finally – -and this is the most important one:
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE YOU
We are all different. Each one of us has a unique genome – and even identical twins can have different mutations as a result of being exposed to different environmental factors!
So if you see someone else doing something you don’t want to do – give yourself permission to be you – and not do it
If someone tries to pressure you to do something you don’t want to do – -give yourself permission to be you and not do it
When you truly give yourself permission to be yourself, you can listen to anyone, hear anything and it won’t upset you – because you know who you are…. you will be able to take things that will help you and leave things that won’t help you; you will be able to learn, grow and change – on your own terms.
Give yourself permission to be you –
It’s not easy, and it is what I spend a lot of time helping people do….
But it is certainly worth it…..
For you AND your horse
Yours, in confidence