Give Yourself a Break…

Our mind can be our greatest weapon, or our biggest weakness, depending on how we control it.

And we do control it…

I have always been fascinated with the power of ones own mind. I have seen it destroy someone that I love, and I have also seen it keep someone going through impossible odds.

We witness it everyday. The person with depression who forgets why he loves his family, the grandfather who holds on just to see his grandson being born, the cancer patient who refuses to give up.

There is an aboriginal folk story that I read about when I was little, where the tribe leader would “point the bone” at a man who had deceived the tribe in some way, and that man would be dead within the week. It wasn’t a special bone of any kind, just the regular sort, but because the man accused believed in the ritual…he died.

I used to say that “If you strongly believe something, it’s already happened…because even if it hasn’t happened, it might as well have.”

Truth is you can convince yourself of pretty much anything if you set your mind on it. And once you convince yourself you unconsciously make it true. You can wake up and decide that you hate your life, and let that destroy every good thought you have.

My mum would always say to me “don’t let your mind go there”…and there is so much truth in that…Everyone has good and bad thoughts, it’s whether or not you choose to explore them that matters.

The second part about the mind is how it affects those around us…We project so much onto other people without even realising it…

In 1964 Harvard professor Robert Rosenthal, performed an experiment with students and teachers to prove that  “If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ from certain students, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ,”. This theory has now been proven many times over, that what we expect from people we often create for them.

I believe this…The less you think of someone, the more they prove you right to be suspicious.

But can you do this for yourself?

I am facing this at the moment. I can’t and most likely will never do the thing that I dedicated my life to. My writing, and teaching, and my dream…the reason why I moved across the other side of the world, was in a large part to start again, but in the most part it was to pursue my dream of international competition, specifically to continue my life with horses and make something from that.

It has not been easy for me to face up to that reality. I feel like I have failed in every possible way, but the reality is I have not. I believe that my physical inability to do the thing I love has actually just uncovered something that needs to be dealt with…I still have not forgiven myself for things that I did, or things that I had nothing to do with, from years ago. Sometimes I have to actively tell myself just to give myself a break, because not everything in the whole world is actually my fault.

It’s a freeing thought actually. The thought that regardless of what I do, and what I achieve, I will be ok, because I deserve no more or no less than anyone else. Learning to see myself with the same amount of care and affection that I give to everyone else.

It seems so simple..Just don’t be so hard on yourself. But the truth is I have spent a lifetime trying to make up for something that in reality I had nothing to do with.

You may think me weak for admitting it, and I don’t really care, over 100 people wrote to me last week to say that they admire me, or I inspire them, and a part of me is proud of that, and a part of me wonders…why? Why do I inspire them?

I think it’s because in my articles, both in life and in horse riding, I say the things that people think, and as one lady said, I “say it like it is” and not in a way that would make me sound better, or more knowledgeable.

In training I say how much trouble I had with an exercise and suggest a new approach, instead of saying how well I can do it and then explain why I can do it so well…

People also were writing to ask what happened? Basically I have an injury that has been getting slowly worse for 20 years, and a specialist had told me that surgery to lock the pubic bone together is the only solution.

I have since then seen other physicians who say that fusing the pubic bone of a 30 year old woman, cutting off her chances of ever..riding, or havinga family, or even running, is ridiculous.

I am trying again with the physio from my favorite football team (Benfica) and a pilates trainer who is just the the best, and who knows what the future holds…But one thing is certain, this experience has reminded me of the things I still need to work on, and I am finding that “giving myself a break” is not such a bad thing after all.