In order to feel good about ourselves or our decisions, we often justify things. Like a choice we made to leave something or someone behind. Since I do academic art of riding, I have seen many people come and also seen quite a few go. I think that’s totally normal. I see life as a journey and sometimes we travel together and then we might go in different directions. What I noticed though is a tendency to talk badly about something or someone when people decided it’s not for them.
It’s actually the same with relationships. People split and suddenly the person whom we spent many years with and who was very important to us is the last person we wants to see. And all our friends have to listen to how terrible that person is.
Of course, we can drift apart. Things are being said. But I think it’s important to remember that not everything was bad and that it was part of our journey.
When we leave a relationship, or anything for that matter, and talk badly about it afterwards, we mostly change our own memories about it and become unhappy about the time and effort we spent, even if there were many happy moments. We might feel that we wasted our time, our money, our hard work. We close ourselves to everything we have learned and that it still might be good for something else. And then we continue to make the same mistakes over and over, because we cannot accept the lesson.
Imagine you are at a dinner party and someone trash talks an ex-partner. Would you like to meet this person now? Probably not. However, the two of you might have been a match made in heaven! The problem is, nowadays, with social media, it’s more like shouting your opinion from the roof tops for hundreds and thousands of people to read. You didn’t get along with trainer X? Didn’t agree with this and that dressage style? These things happen. And you probably have good reason. But for someone else, or for their horse, it might just be the perfect match. And they might never try and thus never arrive at something they feel good with because of someone else having made bad experiences and feeling the need to inform everyone about it. I know we might even feel like getting our revenge that way, but I don’t think that’s good style.
I know what some of you will say now. “It must be allowed to be critical!” Absolutely. Concerning dressage, there is probably no perfect system. Including the academic art 😉 We are just people and we err. Not everything is for every horse. Or person. It must be allowed to voice one’s concerns and provide evidence to the contrary. However, we should do that with the people directly affected, like our teachers. Telling it out loud on the internet mostly tells something about ourselves, in my opinion. And we can’t expect people or a system to change because of our concerns. Because in their eyes, we might not be right.
Often times, I can hear a lot of hurt and resentfulness in these kinds of comments. Is this actually a useful way of dealing with our emotions? Shouldn’t we rather take it as a lesson and try to do better next time?
Today I had a great moment with Nazir. I closed the pasture for today and while I was doing that, Nazir came over to me. I said hello and he licked my hand and then just stood there. He closed his eyes and snoozed. I could feel his deep and regular breath on my hand. I decided to stay a while and just be with him. Nazir and I didn’t always get along well. But in order to have these kinds of moments with him, these moments of deep connectedness, I had to let all of that go. He sure did. And it made me think that probably, we could save many a relationship by just accepting that things don’t always go our way and if we could let the past go and forgive.
A dear friend of mine left a trainer group of a well know trainer some time ago. I thought she showed real maturity because she didn’t bad mouth it in public. Yes she was hurt. Yes some things happened that from her perspective were not O.K. But she still said that she was grateful for the experience and the things she learned. When I heard that, I knew I could trust her and that she wouldn’t talk badly about me one day because of some disagreement we might have in the future (which I hope will not be the case, of course).