So many people – friends, riders I teach and strangers I get chatting to on trains or in the post office – more often than not have a very outwardly negative frame of mind. Me included. I’ve been spending far too much time thinking about the things that are wrong in my life and how I could be better, and not nearly enough time focusing on the things that are great.
A rude awakening
I spent most of last month in a rut. I didn’t feel as though I was progressing, or as if I had purpose to my riding or working life.
I knew something had to change because it was beginning to affect my mood and my relationships – no-one wants to live with a moaning old trout! I was beating myself up for not knowing why I was unhappy – I knew I wanted to be happier, but that’s as far as I’d got.
Reasons to be cheerful
Then I made a decision that’s changed my whole life. I decided to be positive about absolutely everything. I listed five things that make me proud, that I’ve achieved and that I’ve worked for…
The first one was the ability to jump around a BE100 course last season, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do in a million years. I couldn’t face getting on, never mind sailing over a 1m trakehner with a smile on my face!
The second was self-publishing my books. I had no experience and had a go at it on a total whim, and it worked! It’s given me a breath of fresh air in my working life and opened up so many wonderful doors.
The third was a photograph of me jumping a big hedge when I hadn’t got a shred of confidence. It was a miraculous moment that made me braver in just a few hours.
The fourth is a photograph from my wedding day because without the support of my husband, family and friends, I wouldn’t have got half this far. It’s very important to have people around you to help you and cheer you on.
And lastly, a picture of my home. It’s the place I feel happiest and safe, and where I’ve laughed often.
This was the turning point. If I can feel positive about all these things every day, I know there won’t be room for negativity in my life. Every time negative thoughts creep in, I take a look at the list and remind myself how much I have to feel positive about.
Making the decision to be positive has changed my riding the most, particularly my outlook on hacking. Think about all the people who don’t have this love of horses and are missing out on feeling the wind in their eyes as they canter across a field. Embrace the feeling of being out of control and enjoy the spooking. Realise that you’re privileged enough to be sat on a horse who has a mind of his own, that you can forgive him for jumping in the air over a killer bird or highly dangerous carrier bag. Turn all the things you worry about into positives.
You’ve got the power
Look at everything with a positive frame of mind and you’ll be amazed at the difference. With my new mindset, I’ve managed to ride every day this week, so I know it works! Let’s make this month positive. Make a list of achievements you’re proud of, big or small, look at it often and appreciate the little things you may not have noticed before. Did you know you’re just one decision away from changing your life?
Love as always,
Vic and Pat