“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
-Henry David Thoreau
It’s no secret that we all perceive the world in different ways. The same situation can cause two different people to have completely opposing reactions based on their individual personalities and previous experiences. For example, while for one person, public speaking can be a thrilling and invigorating experience that brings about joy, and for another it can be panic inducing and terrifying, throwing the individual into fight or flight mode or causing them to completely freeze up.
How do you relate to your world and to the challenges that are presented to you?
If you believe that the world is out to get you, you will find evidence of this in all of your experiences. But if you see the world as a benevolent and kind place then you will see evidence of this. Reality is, in a way, an illusion. We experience it through our own, unique filter based on our previous life experiences.
You have the choice every single day to choose how you will relate to your experiences. The key question to ask is not “Why is this happening to me?” but instead “why is this happening FOR me?” If you choose to find the opportunities for growth in all situations, you will shift yourself from victim to one that is in control of your life. You have the power to create your own reality based on your perceptions and reactions to life’s experiences.
All of life is an incredible journey, though not always an easy one. Focus on the lessons you can learn and the ways in which you can grow into the most beautiful version of yourself.
Next time you encounter a challenging situation, whether in training your horse or perhaps a difficult relationship with a coworker, ask yourself what are the lessons for me to learn here? How can this help me grow? Are these experiences happening for me to bring about my highest evolution?
You have the power to choose how you interpret your world. If you believe you are a failure, you will see evidence to back this up. If you believe you are never good enough, you will find support for this too. But, if you begin to cultivate self love and acceptance and begin to see yourself as a most beautiful incarnation of light and love, then, guess what? That is exactly what you will see, and, when you do fall short, because we are all human after all, you will be able to show yourself compassion and understanding because you know who you are at the deepest, most spiritual level.
It’s like when you’re driving a horse trailer and all of a sudden you notice all of the other horse trailers on the road or if you make an intention to see all of the red cars along the road they are all but invisible until you make that decision to see them. They were there all along but until you set an intention to see them, they were not perceived.
I had a major burnout in 2014. I felt like every ride I had was a failure. I felt like I could not make progress and was a terrible rider and trainer (even though evidence did not support this). I had no joy when riding because I had decided, more subconsciously than consciously, before the ride even began that it would not be good enough. I had no compassion towards myself and would become angry and frustrated. It was a tough time and I questioned why I was even riding anymore. I had decided that I was not a good rider, that I was a failure and I saw that each and everyday even though from the outside looking in I looked successful and happy.
My story is not an unusual one. I think anytime we are passionate about something, we go through times of difficulty when we question ourselves and our abilities as we attempt to live up to some impossible standard. Who set these standards anyway? Early life experiences of always falling short- getting the B instead of the A or not being as successful in sports as our parents believed we should have been or not being as comfortable in social situations as our sibling. Whatever the case may be, we all have our own unique stories that create our current perspectives. The key is understanding that you can change it if you wish.
Now, five years after my burnout, I am loving riding more than I ever have. I took off about six months from riding at the end of 2014 into 2015 when I was pregnant with my first child. What had become a stressful job for me now was my alone time, the time when I could focus on myself and my horses. My horses became a place of peace and solace, my rides became the time in which I could quietly study to improve myself and through improving myself, improve my horses. Develop the rider, you develop the horse. Did I magically become that much “better” a rider in the last five years? I hope I have improved but more likely it is my interpretation of myself and my rides now that had led to my joy. Where I used to berate myself for not ever being good enough, now I enjoy the journey each and everyday and when I do have difficult rides I can see them for what they are, not a reflection of my failure but as a beautiful opportunity for learning and growth.
If you are interested into shifting your life and finding more peace, happiness and freedom, I encourage you to set an intention to find the things to be grateful for. Make this a practice. If you can begin to train your mind to look for the positives in your life, it will be easier to find the lessons that aid you in your growth in tumultuous times.
Believe that you are the creator of your own reality and begin to shift the perspective of your life into one in which you are evolving into the absolute best version of yourself!