For many of us, finding our confidence again can take many paths: learning more knowledge, practicing more techniques – among other things
And sometimes it just takes time
With all the knowledge, and all the techniques in the world at your fingertips, when your rational mind is saying “but you SHOULD be confident by now”—sometimes you just need more time.
It takes time to deal with ghosts, memories – and the feelings of being hurt.
What are Ghosts?
Ghosts are the haunting images of how things used to be. Remember that favourite horse? That perfect one you used to ride? And how different your current horse is?
Well, that is a ghost haunting you – -and as long as you hold on to that ghost, and compare your current horse to the past one, you will not be able to acknowledge, recognise and accept your current horse for the independent, individual sentient being he is – and you will not be confident with him.
If all your unconscious mind can think about is how different this horse is, then how can it be confident?
Putting ghosts to rest can be as simple as performing a ritual where you accept that your old horse is gone, say your farewell, and then welcome your new horse as a new being, with no baggage from the past….
This honours the past while respecting the present – and will allow you to move forwards without the ghosts haunting you.
Sometimes however it isn’t as simple as that – and even though we intellectually understand these things, our heart can’t let it happen.
Sometimes it takes more time.
Memories: These are like ghosts in that they haunt us – but they are of ourselves. Our past selves. Remember when you COULD ride confidently? When a canter was so easy? Or a jump? And now the thought of hacking out makes us anxious?
Memories CAN be inspiring. Remembering times when we WERE confident CAN remind us that we WERE confident, and therefore we CAN be confident again….
However they can also be an enemy to our confidence. Comparing our current selves (older, wiser and often a bit wounded) to that confident carefree younger version of ourselves can often end up in us feeling bad about ourselves, which is not good for our confidence…
And have you noticed how in both the above cases, the more we think about it, the better our past horses or selves were? Hmmm sometimes the “looking back” glasses are distinctly rose tinted.
As with ghosts, we can go through a ritual of accepting the memories for what they are – aspects of joyous times past, and accept where we are now as our reality – and these rituals can really help….
But sometimes it just takes time… to let those memories become sepia tinted, and to allow ourselves to start to create a NEW store of more recent memories to motivate ourselves.
After all, I might not gallop across the stubble fields as carefree as when I was younger – but I certainly have a much stronger bon with my horses now than I had then – and you know, I appreciate that! Taking the time to build NEW memories can make a huge difference to our confidence…
And lastly, let’s talk about being hurt.
Our horses hurt us in so many ways
Sometimes it is mental and emotional: we get frustrated with them, and angry – or we know we are not being as good to them as we want to be – and that hurts. It hurts us mentally and emotionally.
And that erodes our confidence until we realise we are hardly spending any time with our horses at all
And sometimes it is physical. Some of us have really, actually, genuinely been hurt by our horse.
And that is hard to “get over”
Not only do you have the physical aspects of pain and discomfort to process, but there are also the feelings of being let down, of broken trust – in your horse and, perhaps more importantly, yourself…
Think about it – actually, think about the last time a HUMAN hurt you by letting you down, not doing what you thought they were going to do…
Or by not caring as much about you as you did about them….
Those feelings are very similar to the ones most people feel after being hurt by their horses.
And how do you get over those feelings?
Well you can get some counselling – that can help.
You can logically and rationally process the feelings and come up with all sorts of ways to make sure you don’t have those feelings again – you can avoid riding, or learn more, learn to read your horse and that will help
Most of all though, you need to ALLOW yourself to take the time it takes to get over the pain.
Whether the pain is physical, emotional or mental – enough time needs to pass so you can look back at it as a separate entity, and not as a part of your current identity.
Time doesn’t heal so much as put a distance between you and the injury so you can observe it more dispassionately, and see it for what it is….and yes, let go of the hurt that holds you back….
In all these examples, there are active steps you can take to restore and rebuild your confidence. Learning more knowledge, understanding your horse better – understanding yourself better – all these things will help.
BUT: if we expect instant answers, then don’t expect lasting solutions….
So – whether you have ghosts, memories, or pain – remember, sometimes it just takes time.
Yours, in confidence