“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” -Gloria Steinem
I have been working with troubled horses for long enough to see a common thread in their rehab process: feelings get hurt. Sometimes I think I need to get a degree in psychology to really be good at this.
The solution for the horse is often quite simple: change our habits, change their environment, make consistent rules and learn along with our horse.
The human factor is not so simple, however. First we have to accept the reality of the situation, and our contribution to the problem. The human mind is expert at rationalizing, excusing, and then when it accepts, it beats itself with the truth. None of these are constructive habits, but meanwhile the horse waits in the background while we work on getting our sh** together.
Guiding people through the process of seeing the truth as it is, without being mad about it, hating themselves for it, blaming others, lashing out, shutting down, becoming fearful, or losing interest entirely, is really quite something. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my habits as well. Not taking this process personally is a goal I hope to achieve someday, but I get to understanding and empathizing with it more as I gain more experience.
My intention toward horses and people is always to help and create a better life for them. But in that process, walking the fine line between being truthful and sympathetic toward someone’s feelings is a tight rope act; and sometimes feelings do get hurt.