When I first started with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, I was not only unconfident while riding, I was downright scared for my life. My confidence around horses got shattered due to a riding accident, where I got thrown off the horse, listened to my friend to get back on and got - again! - bucked off just a few minutes later. My inner gut had told me not to get back on my horse (more about why it happened and how in a later blog... :-). Yet, I listened to my neighbor and friend and mounted back up.
WHY IS THAT?
Why do we do things that WE don't feel comfortable doing, but other people tell us to do or expect us to do? I realized that it's because I was unable to set boundaries and unable to say NO. I was certainly guilty of THAT. All I had to do that day was, say NO! No, I do not feel ok getting back on my horse... It might be ok for you to do that, but it's not ok for me. Saying this, would have meant that I take care of my feelings, my confidence, my health, simply taking care of myself. Hmmm... Rather than doing that I pleased my friend, lost my confidence, hurt my body and did some serious damage to my emotional well-being.
It took me a while to figure out, that I was never really good at setting boundaries. Not with my horses, not with my family, not with my friends, not with customers, not with strangers. My mom was and still is of the opinion that you have to take care of others first, and that you take care of yourself last. So, this is what she taught me. It took me a long time to be OK and feel good about taking care of myself FIRST. A friend told me once: How can you take care of others, if you don't take care of yourself.... Giving myself the permission to do just that... it was hard... and sometimes, it still is :-)
Do you know Pat Parelli's 45's P's? Here is a part of it:
"This Perspective takes Patience from Process to Product, from Principle to Purpose. "
Yes, it's still a process for me, and it does take patience and the principle is the willingness to notice, learn and move on, instead of beating myself up over mishaps and missteps... :-) I have to pat myself on the back, I am getting much better at setting boundaries and reinforcing them. I learned this by following the Parelli program. Being aware of my personal space, being aware that there is a difference between my horse asking to come to me and simply invading my space by coming close uninvited.... Being more particular and to expect more from myself and my horse...
Engaging in never-ending self-development... It's a journey... It's part of being a Parelli student....
So, how do you do with boundaries?
I'd love to hear from you!