I thought I'd write a post on this, mostly because it's been on my mind a lot lately. I'm also starting my 2014 goals and thoughts early because my life is only a couple of weeks away from starting fresh and as far as I'm concerned, that's a better excuse to turn over a new leaf than a date on the calender.
(Be warned this post contains some negativity for the sake of honesty and context :)
I envy those who come by confidence naturally, and admire those who have enough world experience to earn it the hard way.
It's something I struggle with on a regular basis, a lack of confidence. It sneaks around in the back of my mind until I finally notice that it's not sneaking anymore, it's right there front and center affecting my better judgement.
I am a very strong person inside. I know this. I've been through horrible situations and stupid decisions and always come out a stronger, better person. I am entirely capable of doing most anything I set my mind to - if not, I work harder until I can. I know this. I have an amazing partner, and an incredible horse. Again, I know this.
I feel like I've had a bit of a beating in 2013, though. There was the not so stellar year with Ginger, and the stresses that come with living 1500 miles away from G. More recently, the job has become pretty stressful. Budget concerns and department restructuring are bringing out the worst in a few people, including my direct supervisor. Logically, I know I have done nothing wrong and I am good at my job. I've never fully trusted the guy so I keep pretty accurate records of everything. Still, a little piece of confidence leaves me every time I am tossed to the wolves and left to fend for myself, or made to feel guilty for leaving in a few short weeks. That negative part of me wants to take the situation personally, rather than logically just seeing it for what it is and having the confidence to move forward unscathed.
How does this apply to horses? For me, it has everything to do with my success or lack thereof in my chosen sport. The above mentioned work situation and the resulting lack of confidence is a mirror image of my feelings after a bad lesson, an overheard criticism, a health issue with one of the horses, a boarding situation gone wrong, a bad fall. It's always what have I done wrong, what could I have done better, what did I do to make this situation happen? Most of all, did I do right by my horse? In short, taking every situation personally, whether its appropriate to or not, and magnifying those emotions by 10 because there is another living being involved who's welfare directly depends on my actions.
Of course it's healthy to critique yourself and realize your shortcomings and work to improve. It's not so healthy to let your confidence slide away due to things beyond your control or things you shouldn't hold yourself accountable for. Consider me guilty for both the first and the second, not so healthy option. My confidence is at an all time low, particularly where horses are concerned.
There are a lot of positives here though. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for 2014. I'm going home to G. Ginger will be there at the end of December. She's going to a great barn. There is someone in the area offering lessons that I think will suit us quite well. I'm going back to a job that I loved, and a place where I am valued. I'm fitter than I've ever been. Ginger has had time to recuperate and mature. I've had plenty of time this year to evaluate my priorities in the horsey world.
I know what I need to do. I see the paths I can take to get there. I've got plenty of time, and more than enough determination. The negative garbage cluttering my brain is the only thing slowing me down, and I recognize it and am going to work hard to move on- it's not going to be sneaking around in there any more. If history has taught me anything, I am going to come out of all this stronger and more capable than before.
So, here's to better times ahead for me, and everyone else out there that's been having a not so great year. Let's get the 2014 party started.