Month: November 2020

Month: November 2020

I’ve been thinking about giving and receiving praise recently so decided to write down a few thoughts about this subject.

In today’s internet society everything is constantly rated and reviewed and there are many rating sites we can look at before making a holiday choice or picking a restaurant, for example.  The same goes for choosing a service or when we are looking for somebody to help us with an aspect of our lives where we naturally tend to choose the one who has received most praise.

Here at Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland I rarely ask for or publish client testimonials due to the importance of confidentiality. An unnamed testimonial saying ‘Show Jumper from Scotland says Jane is wonderful’ is unverifiable and meaningless and I want my clients to feel that it is entirely their choice whether or not they share that they have consulted me for help with confidence or mindset.

However, on a recent facebook post some riders were kind enough to make some very positive comments about how I had been able to help them and by choosing to say this publicly they were obviously happy to say that they had used my services.  Other riders prefer to keep quiet about needing help with confidence issues and choose not to share this and I am more than happy for them to do that.

I, like most people, love to receive praise and get a great boost when somebody gives me positive feedback.  I also enjoy giving praise to others for example, I like to praise my clients for the hard work and commitment they show towards overcoming the nervousness which interferes with their enjoyment of riding or for the hours of determined practice they put in before a competition.

Whilst enjoying receiving and giving praise what really gives me the most satisfaction is when I can praise myself.  When I can feel inside that I have done a good job.  When I can tell, by their body language, that audience members at a talk are listening and understanding what I say.  When the look on a client’s face changes from one of tension and worry to a big and genuine smile.  When I can look at my animals and know that I have done a good job with them and given them a good life.  When I can go to bed at night feeling that I have acheived something worthwhile during the day.

All these feelings come from within and I believe that is where our enjoyment of life truly comes from.  We should be wary of needing others to constantly praise us and work towards true self acceptance.

As always, thanks for reading this and any comments are very welcome.

Whether your session is face:face or online I want you to feel comfortable that I am there just for you.


Month: November 2020

Category : Uncategorized

I’m sure you will have seen and read many posts about the importance of “Being Kind to Yourself”. This week is World Kindness Day, I have posted about kindness on my social media channels and we all could do with sharing some kindness at the moment.

I think most of you probably have a good idea what being kind to other people means and I sincerely hope you all have a good understanding of what being kind to horses means but, what does being kind to yourself mean?

It probably means something different to each of us but I think it’s worth spending a little time thinking about it.

Psychologist Albert Ellis, the founder of rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) talks about the importance of “Unconditional Self Acceptance” and this could be a good place to start. Ellis talks about each of us working towards accepting ourselves as unique individuals with unique strengths and unique challenges. He suggests that it can take many, many years to truly accept ourselves as we are but that it’s something to work towards being comfortable with.

As I see it, this means that we avoid comparing ourselves unfavourably to others. Whether that’s comparing ourselves unfavourably to other riders we encounter or whether it’s comparing ourselves to supermodels we see in magazines and feeling dissatisfied with our appearance. In both cases comparison usually leads to disappointment.

Unconditional self acceptance also means that we relieve ourselves of the pressure that we ‘should’ or ‘must’ ride at a certain level or jump a particular height. On the contrary, we push ourselves to do these things because we want to and we wish to develop and learn not because we feel under pressure.

Unconditionally accepting ourselves means that we don’t generalise our mistakes. So instead of telling yourself that you’re a “rubbish rider” because you’ve been eliminated at the first fence you tell yourself that you simply made a mistake and you’re going to work out why the heck you did that and avoid making the same mistake again!

Unconditionally accepting ourselves DOES NOT mean that we let ourselves off the hook for bad behaviour and it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to give up on learning and working hard to fulfil our goals.

Being kind to yourself might also mean sometimes being quite firm with yourself. For example you might like to be kind to yourself with a treat of a bar of chocolate but it might not be self kindness to have two bars! 

Being kind to yourself might mean making sure that you programme your riding into your week to make sure that it happens and avoiding feeling guilty about other commitments and demands on your time. Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean that you are unkind to others but it might mean that you learn to say “no” more often.

Finally, it’s worth noting that along with working towards unconditional self acceptance we can also try to unconditionally accept other people for who they are. It’s not always easy by any means but I think it’s definitely worth trying.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you feel being kind to yourself means.


Month: November 2020

Category : Uncategorized

I am hearing from, and reading about, more and more people who are experiencing increased levels of anxiety at the moment and, of course, this is hardly surprising given the times we are living in. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge uncertainty for many people with fears about health, worries about employment and finance, a feeling of lack of control or a sense of isolation leading to increased stress levels accompanied by a feeling of being powerless and anxious.

None of the above is a surprise and knowing that we are all in this together may help some people but not everyone. We are all different in how much uncertainty we are able to tolerate with some seemingly gliding through in a relaxed manner and others feeling close to breaking point.

So for those of you who are struggling here are some simple tips which you can put into practice easily and which will help you through the coming Winter period.

  1. FOCUS ON THE THINGS WHICH YOU CAN CONTROL
    You may well be hearing this from multiple sources at the moment but it really does make a huge difference.
    Start each day by noting down THREE things which you CAN DO today. This is know as “Setting your intentions” for the day.
    They might be big and important things or they might be small and seemingly insignificant but they are things which you CAN DO.

  2. STAY CONNECTED
    Keep in touch with work colleagues, family and friends. If you are self employed think about checking in with your clients and customers to find out how they are getting on and to help them to know that you care about them even when you might not actually be able to work with them.
    Offer to help those who need it where you are able. This could be practical help for an elderly neighbour or being prepared to listen to a friend who needs some extra support.
    There is a lot of evidence which shows that helping others helps you to feel better about yourself.

  3. DO THINGS WHICH YOU ENJOY
    Instead of worrying about the things which you aren’t able to do for fun such as go on holiday, eat out and have parties find other ways to enjoy yourself.
    If you’re stuck at home make sure that each day you plan to do a couple of nice things such as have a soak in the bath and light a scented candle, get out in the fresh air when you can or give yourself a home manicure.
    Make sure that each day includes something for fun or relaxation rather than simply completing tasks.

  4. LOOK AFTER YOUR MIND AND BODY
    Make sure to eat well, exercise, stick to a bedtime routine and get up and dressed at a normal time for you each morning.
    Think about researching some simple meditation or breathing and relaxation techniques which will help to settle your mind and allow you to focus on the present rather than worrying about an uncertain future.

  5. PRACTICE GRATITIDE
    At the end of each day look back at the intentions you wrote down in the morning. How did you get on? Did you do what you said you would do? How does this affect your feelings about your situation.
    Then end the day with noting three things you are grateful for. Again, they might be big and important things or they might be tiny. It doesn’t matter, write them down as you practice gratitude and note how you feel when you do this.

    If you are struggling in any way then seek help. I am always happy to have a no obligation chat and am a very good listener so feel free to get in touch.

A reminder of warm summer days to help you at this time.