|Sometimes it's all about believing in yourself.|
We often hear about the first two, but the confidence and ego so often get overlooked. But lets think about this! Don't you need to feel like you can do it, before you put your heart into it? Well, since my accident, I've realized that 90% of my problem is my confidence. I've always said that the worst part of a fall was the bruise to my ego, and I think I may have been a little too right.
Just stop and think about one of the first things you said to yourself when your fear first hit you. I'm going to bet I know how it started:
It stops us in our tracks, and we honestly believe that we no longer CAN do something because at one time we failed. And lets be a bit honest here, our accidents are something that we as individuals think of as failures, even if they really aren't. It doesn't matter that we've done that thing a million times before, or may have even done it many times since. Our mind still says that we failed and can no longer do it.
|Confidence helps us feel good about trying the hard things|
I think my accident has been a great example of this. I got kicked in the head while standing on the ground brushing a horse. Diva got jealous about me giving attention to Sweetie (her arch nemesis in herd rank) and decided to run off Sweetie so I would pay attention to her. Logically it makes sense. In horsey minds, the dominant mare has the right to move other horses around by force, and only a more dominant horse can stop her. Well, Diva went to move Sweetie, and I suddenly "disappeared" (uh, knocked into the dirt at their feet) and didn't stop her. In Diva's mind, this means that she was allowed to act this way.
Logically, this is easy to work around. If Diva comes up while I'm messing with Sweetie, simply move Diva away before she gets it in her head to act up. Totally not a big deal, right?
|Even if we know we can, we also have to FEEL that we can|
As I have been working my way back to "normal" I realized that what has helped me the most is putting myself in situations that allow me to feel like I will succeed. Most horse people have figured out that if you start off thinking it will go bad, then usually your find yourself in the middle of a train wreck. This is so true in so many ways.
Want to load a horse in a trailer? Just think that the horse will walk in, and it usually does. Give yourself hours to deal with a refusal and the horse won't. If you think the horse will balk, then most times, you will fight that horse for hours trying to prove that the trailer really is a safe place, only to have some one else walk up with confidence and put the horse right in like there's no problem.
|Some riding takes more then just know-how|
They flip out.
For me, I have been doing only those things I feel I can do well. As I "win" at each thing, it gives me the confidence boost to try something else. I'm still working my way back up to what I "used to be able to do" but I feel like I am coming along pretty quickly.
And that gives me more confidence!
Each step I take, whether it is watching some one else do something, or trying something that used to be "easy" to me, it all adds up. But the big one for me, is taking away the bruising to my ego.
Think about it. When you are terrified to do something, and too proud to admit you're scared, then having to tell someone that you feel fear is just one more blow to you. We never seem to think badly of another rider who says "I don't feel good about trying that right now" or something even more specific like "jumping terrifies me". And how many of us have a friend that isn't ready to canter yet because they are scared? When they say "I am scared to canter" you don't laugh at them! Most of us sympathize instead. Because we have BEEN THERE!
|You have to be able to trust yourself, and your horse|
By admiting to myself, and my friends and family that I have fear issues, I have taken away one pain to my ego. Removing that lets me focus on what I need to do, what I can do, and what I want to do. I no longer have the peer pressure to step up to the plate, and show how "good" or "brave" I am. And the only person who ever made me feel pressured was myself.
It feels pretty good to be open and honest about it. When the fear tries to grip me, I know that I can simply stop and step off the horse, and my friends understand and support me. They ask to help, and many times I have taken them up on it. Sometimes seeing some one else do what terrifies you lets you know that it can be done. The horse will do it, and you can too.
But I think that dealing with the bruise to our egos - while it's the first step in healing our fear - is the hardest. If you are as prideful as I am, then watching a novice rider handle something that sets off your heebie jeebies kinda smarts if you let it. But if you let go of the pride, and think "hey, if she can do it, then I must be able to as well!" it's a pretty good feeling.
|Sometimes, we just have to take a leap of faith|
And knowing you aren't alone helps so much. Lisa, over at Laughing Orca Ranch, who just got back on her horse after a horrible accident of her own (You go GIRL!) mentioned this as well in her post. Seeing that every one has some level of fear makes you feel better about your own. Remove that bruise to the ego, and it's as if healing can begin. And dealing with our fear is a type of mental healing.
Because once you regain your confidence, it almost seems like one day, out of the blue, you just think you can. And that day, when you try it - what ever "it" is - is the day you will succeed. Healing the fear isn't about waiting for the body to get back into one piece, but rather about knitting the mind back into something beautiful that we recognize as our self.
And for me, sometimes it's not even about the success. Sometimes just taking the step to try it does more good to my confidence then anything else. Because failing and living through it, is often a great accomplishment of its own!