Just Because It Feels Familiar, Doesn’t Mean It’s Right
What do I mean? I’ll give you an example from my experiences to become a better dressage rider. We all struggle what is called our “seat” which is in direct communication with the horse’s back. We need to be straight, balanced, quiet yet steady, and a whole host of other nearly impossible feats while a 1400-pound living, moving mass is under us. During my lessons, the instructor, Ashley Kennedy of Kennedy Dressage, will tell me I am off to one side or to put more weight in a certain hipbone, etc. I do as she commands, but it often feels “wrong.” I do it anyway. Why? Because I know I need to change. At the time, I didn’t feel like I was uneven, unbalanced, off-center. That is because my brain-body connection has gotten used to me being crooked, usually off to the left, and that has become normal feeling. Usually, we want to stay feeling “normal,” but when it isn’t right, we have to be willing first to acknowledge the problem.
STEP 1: Seek Out and Identify a Problem
We Don’t Like to Feel Uncomfortable
Learning, change, progress all come with a dose of discomfort. We have to take a leap of faith and do something that does not feel right sometimes in order to re-wire the brain-body connection and make progress. Riders look in the mirrors around the dressage ring not because they are vain (well, usually), but because they occasionally need to check what they see rather than what they feel. Even professionals and experts fall into what’s familiar instead of what’s correct. I recently got a dose of evidence of my chronic crookedness when I looked at the pattern left on the soft, impressionable seat of my new saddle (love my Custom saddle!). The “butt outline” was evidence that my weight was not even and I had ridden that day about a quarter inch off-center.
STEP 2: Identify Root Cause and Believe It’s Happening
Like Riding, Like In Life, Change is Hard
We often don’t want to face what we are doing wrong or don’t want to make any changes in life because it feels comfortable or normal to stay just where we are. Change, progress, improvement may require we get really uncomfortable for a while before we see results. Before we find our “new normal.” Habits die hard. That’s a cliche, but it’s true. We continue to do what we’ve always done but by some stroke of insanity, expect a new result. Don’t continue down your path that is going nowhere, or worse yet, is heading into a storm. Take the chance of being a little uncomfortable now, rather than filled with regret later.
STEP 3: Learn to Accept Discomfort Temporarily