Some things are “NON NEGOTIABLE”
They have to be or else I can’t live the way I need to to achieve and maintain optimum wellbeing and fire on all cylinders. There are certain things I need so I can take care of myself to the utmost degree. The “nth degree”, as my teacher says. For me, I have to have firm boundaries and stick to them or I’ll get walked all over. I know. It’s happened before when I’ve been lax, too accepting, haven’t put myself first, or quite frankly, just had no self-respect or esteem.
The more I learn about training horses, the more I see these philosophies can be applied to life, and relationships in general. With horses, we teach them how to treat us by what we allow and don’t allow and it’s the same with people, whether it’s family, a partner, kids, friends, or work colleagues.
My horse commands respect. She’s a battle-mare that has fought her way to the top. She won’t take shit from anyone and I love her for it. She reminds me that I deserve respect and I am in charge of making sure I get it with my actions, my words, and the way I treat and respect myself.
In all of my relating I have to set boundaries with what is acceptable right at the beginning of the relationship and be consistent by reasserting those boundaries every time we interact. Nipping bad behaviour in the bud in the first instance. Otherwise, not only is it a pain in the arse to have to continually re-school, but it can become unsafe. Especially with horses, kids and men. That old saying “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” applies here.
With horses, for me, I have had to learn to be really firm, not letting the little stuff slide. I get to practice being assertive, which is awesome.
It’s the little things. Being in tune and aware of what is going on. Seeing every time a boundary is tested and remaining firm. Stuff like not letting her get away with repositioning herself if I didn’t ask for it. If she takes a step forward I make her take a step back. If she goes to move left I move her right. Lots of little things establish boundaries and give me the confidence and control I need to know I can handle whatever comes up.
Boundaries. Consistency. Repetition.
Working with horses has taught me about asking for exactly what I want. No playing games. No preconceived notions. No making excuses for their bad behaviour. I admit, I often made excuses for other peoples bad behaviour in the past, for the horrible way they treated me sometimes. I let things slide because, “Oh, but they had a really bad day/childhood/life.” That undermined me and taught others it was ok to treat me like that.
I had to learn to know my worth. I had to learn to treat myself with the respect I deserved and command it from others. I had to learn to stick up for myself and not bend to another’s will, just because I didn’t want to rock the boat, or it seemed easier at the time. I had to learn that I am the chick in charge and that’s OK.
I am the boss of me! Who’da thunk it?
Consistency has always been a bit of an issue for me over the years. I’m a work in progress, and it’s progress not perfection I strive for, but I will not go backwards. It’s been a long slow process, but working with a snotty battle-mare has really helped me…..………..
…………..and of course working with native flower essences! Oh my gosh, they saved my soul and my mind so I could get to the point where I could tackle my dreams of working with horses in a manner that keeps me safe and empowers me.
Dangerous situations happen when we lose focus, don’t respect ourselves or have defined boundaries, are not in tune with our surroundings, and are distracted or not in control. It’s the same with life. It’s the same with shamanic work.
Photo is of Ru and I at our first lesson together last year at Maddox Equestrian in Kumeu.