Am I good enough yet?
Are you beating yourself up over your riding today? Then this blog is written for you. Today I am cutting up my thoughts on what is "good enough" and "dressage perfection" and renaming it: Things that make me happy in life.
What is "good enough"? I always think that focusing on being "good enough" kind of implies insecurity, like you're holding yourself up to a standard that is beyond your reach. It can't be good for happiness either if you're always searching for something that is beyond your reach. But if you live in the present moment, which I always aspire to do, then it's easier to accept what is good enough and have a road map to make progress. I think as dressage people and horse people in general we destroy our self esteem on a quest to always be better and "good enough".
So my first question is, how do you define good enough for yourself?
Is it winning? What if your class was 1 of 1 and you make a stellar facebook post of that blue ribbon with lots of likes? What if you're class place was 2 of 62, will anyone still care? Which one of those placings is going to make you a hell of a lot happier on your trailer ride home?
Is it making measurable progress with your horse and riding from week to week and month to month? Can you take that same skill set you learned on one horse and create results on another horse?
Is it happiness and going on fun adventures with your horse?
Is it having your basic needs met outside the barn (house, car, food, money in the bank, horse trailer, and a nice horse?)
Is it being a better rider than your competition?
Is it going the extra mile to work out, write blogs, and scrub water buckets?
Is it having enough clients to pay the bills and still leave you stress free?
I know I am right where I need to be. I know that for the number of resources that I have, the income that I have, the two jobs that I work, the frequency of local lessons and clinics that are available, it's actually quite perfect. Four years ago when I moved here I was scammed about a rental house on Craigslist. As a result I spent the next 6 weeks living without electric and it was an especially cold winter here in the south. I remember wrapping up in my wool jacket to sleep at night and praying that a solution would come through soon. I would also drive Uber to ungodly hours in the morning just to pay bills while I established my business. But now I have my own house, car, truck, trailer, fancy horses and disposable income that I can spend on lessons and clinics. So if someone cuts down my riding i'm honestly probably thinking that life is great right now and not worried about being perfect. My basic needs are now met, so I am happy and my horses are making progress. I know that I have made tremendous progress over the last four years and I continue to grow in my riding and training. Also, the thought of coming home to a house with no power and no heat and laying in a dark cold room on a floor with no bed makes me exceptionally grateful to be sitting here typing in an easy chair wrapped in a blanket with the heat in my house cranked to 74 degrees.
Also, those clients and special people in my life that let me bum showers during that hard time - those are the people that you don't forget.
I notice that often times people have different perceptions of good enough. For example, a person only obsessed with winning might not realize that your measure of "hey, it's good enough, i'm making progress" is based on having a stable home environment, money in the bank, a truck, trailer, car, then fancy horses and lessons/clinics, and then winning.
Almost 12 years ago I was in a bad car accident that left me in a wheel chair and unable to walk, so the very fact that I can wake up, walk, and get on and ride my horse makes it "good enough".
So quit judging. Quit being hard on yourself. Everyone is right where they need to be.
You can't push the river, so stop making mountains out of molehills until the timing is right.
The funny thing is...it was like the day I finally quit actively worrying about being "good enough" in my head was when something changed and I finally made progress and started getting good.
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Ashley is a dressage trainer and instructor that loves to train dressage and teach lessons.