I have never been a particularly courageous person
So why the hell am I doing horses?!
Well, you’d be well within your rights to ask that. I don’t know the answer. Maybe I’m just tapped in the head or something. Actually, there’s no maybe about it!
I’ve never had the courage to step forward and ask for what I want or make myself known. I was always the one hanging back, letting everyone else choose first, picking up whatever was left at the end. I just didn’t have the nerve to go first.
I still don’t really. Working with horses has made quite a difference to a lot of things, and it has certainly improved my ability to assert myself – as any horsey person will tell you, if you can’t assert yourself with horses you just get squashed! For a while I felt pretty confident in what I was doing, and like that whole having the balls to jump in and do anything thing was something I was capable of.
That feeling, however, has disappeared. Lately I have found myself hanging back more than I want to, mostly because I just do not have the courage or conviction to really jump into the fray. My doubts are overtaking my beliefs and my fears are running amuck. Slowly but surely I’ve been retreating back behind that big safe wall which blocks out all the things I don’t want to deal with and allows me to be quiet and reclusive and measured.
In regards to daily life, this doesn’t have much impact; I’m much the same as I ever was. When it comes to my ability to progress with life, however, I come up against more of a problem. The more I fall back, the more I doubt myself and the less likely I am to do anything that I want to do. I sit there and worry, questioning myself on every decision I have ever made, and end up with so little confidence that I wonder whether I should bother continuing with anything at all. “What’s the point? I’m no good anyway” mumbles my inner self, looking down at the ground with folded arms, scuffing her toes in the dust.
Are people born courageous? I don’t think so. It’s more to do with the experiences we have and the way we deal with things that causes us to be one of those bright bold brave people, or to shrink back into ourselves. Because I was out there, all sunshiney and carefree and positive, not that long ago. I just had this confidence that I was doing something right for once. And I didn’t have that as a kid, so it’s not like it’s innate. It’s obviously learned behaviour.
And now I don’t feel that, now I am pulling away from the world and turning in on myself, well that’s learned behaviour too. It’s instinctive, automatic and habitual for me. I know how to do it, and I know it’s safe. So I do it.
I want nothing more than to feel that brightness and confidence and conviction again. But I have no idea where to start to bring it about. At the moment I am floundering, lost in a soupy muddle of wondering what I’m doing, where I’m going and why I bother to continue. I am struggling to make decisions about my future, because I do not believe I am the right person to do it.
I am struggling to regain confidence in my riding, because I do not believe I can do the things I’m asked to do. And I am struggling to motivate myself to work, because I do not believe it will amount to anything.
When little kids go swimming, they get arm bands to help them while they’re struggling to understand what to do. I could do with some arm bands.
But I do not have the courage to ask for them.