On Finding Perspective

When it comes to perceptions about our own body, it’s no secret these are mighty influences on how we feel and how we think we look to others. And what’s even more important to consider is how we consciously and unconsciously may be allowing others to influence what we think of our own bodies.

Here’s the truth, though. We often don’t have a very clear idea at all of where we
are on the scale of things. We may think we are much larger or much smaller than we actually are. We may be spending so much time and energy bemoaning what’s wrong with our body that we’re completely missing what’s right — or what could be right with a little focused effort. In order to get to our best ride — through life or on the back of a horse — we have to first get real about how we’re built, the shape we’re in, and what our thoughts about our body are really saying.

Because our work with our horses is so deeply rooted in our emotions, gaining an honest and accurate perspective is a key concept to improving our ride. Although there is the classic “rider’s body” image we all tend to compare ourselves to, with the help of Coach Daniel Stewart (see his chart comparing horse breed body types to human body types, reprinted with permission on page 96 of Riding Through Thick and Thin or in Stewart’s own book, Ride Right) we can take a step back from comparison to discover a much healthier and proactive acceptance that will empower us to embrace the natural strengths of our body type, and learn how to offset any real challenges — just as we accept and learn to work with the body types and natural capabilities of different breeds of horses.

By removing our emotions from the swirl of self-loathing about what’s wrong with our body, channeling those emotions in a more proactive “what’s right” direction, and making concrete measurable plans for capitalizing on our strengths, we put our emotions on a healthier plane our horses will feel and appreciate.

I want to hear from you. Reach out to me on TwitterFacebook, or at MelindaFolse.com. Tell me what you’ve noticed about your own body’s strengths and capabilities — and how you plan to capitalize on them in order to ride more, better, or at a different level or new activity. 

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