From the time we are young, we are taught to suppress our natural emotions. “Don’t be a cry baby,” we are admonished. “You must not be angry,” “don’t yell,” “share your marbles with your friends,” and other advice comes from parents and caregivers to remind us to build a strong shield between ourselves and our natural emotions.
So even though our instinct is to cry because we have fallen and it hurts, even though we are angry because someone has done something mean to us, and even though we want to keep our marbles all to ourselves, we comply. We do not instinctively like a person or a situation, but we are encouraged to get over that and interact with someone or engage in an uncomfortable situation as part of our learning process.
We feel one way inside ourselves, but when we are taught that certain emotions are not conducive to getting along with others, we either accept that change and go with it, or we begin to operate by feeling one thing on the inside and practicing a completely different thing on the outside.
In many instances, this is constructive and encourages us to grow past our natural comfort zone and to see that social skills are needed to function creatively in our world. We grow and adapt and find our place in a broader world, finding our courage and honing our sense of adventure.
But when it pushes us too far in an attempt to mold us into a being that is not what we are meant to be, we become too far removed from the person we want to be and the exercise can cripple us emotionally and intuitively. We can end up in roles we were never meant to play in life. We can find ourselves doing things that do not necessarily match our skillset or calling. When we become too disconnected from our intuition and our emotions, we can find ourselves in a state of perpetual conflict.
Working and being in close proximity with horses through equine assisted learning programs like HorseDream can help us unlock the doors to our inner selves and begin a readjustment process.
The horse, who has no judgment about our emotional hang-ups, just takes us as we are. If it senses we are confused and at odds with our authentic self, it will send that feedback to us loudly and clearly by refusing to do what we ask. Like a mirror to all that we have hidden deep in our souls, it will shine it out and reflect it back to us through its own actions.
It is important at some point as adults to get out of our heads and back into our hearts to see what is really there. With the wisdom we have gathered over the years, we need to go back and reconnect to our authentic selves. We need to forgive ourselves if our feelings are not what others think they should be. We need to find confidence that what we sense is accurate and enlightening and gives us wisdom, just as much as the conditioning and courage we have summoned. We need to rediscover how we think and how we feel and how closely it is linked to our authentic personality. We have to figure out why we are worthy of trust and what we can do to convince those we lead to follow us. We learn that by allowing the horse, without pretense, to strip our souls bear and beam them back to us.
If the horse will not follow us, or let us lead it, we have clearly confused it or failed to gain its trust. If it ignores us, we have not connected at any authentic level with it. If it runs away from us, it is not accepting our leadership, and we must look deep to determine what we are missing. When our inner actions match our outer actions, we sense the horse accepting us, and we know we have found our inner self again with its help.
HorseDream Canada, founded by Susan Wilson, provides high impact, quality leadership and team development experiences for individuals, teams, leaders and companies. It is part of an internationally renowned Horse Assisted Education Program proving transformative learning experiences around the world. HorseDream Canada is a division of I DO BUSINESS. Inc., a social purpose business. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for our new book, Leadership 93/7 coming soon!