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How to Handle Instagram Coaches

Here comes a very honest real internal dialogue:

I found a super old video on Instagram and saw a comment I hadn't noticed. The comment was from a young girl and said something about holding onto the reins too tight. It was silly and it was from someone who was just scrolling on social media that had no personal connection. One of the things in my riding I really strive for is soft hands so this really unraveled my confidence. I couldn't believe my internal dialogue.

My thoughts went from how dare she to she doesn't know me, those instant defensive thoughts. Meanwhile, this was a child and even if it wasn't, of course, I am not perfect! I am not pretending to be perfect there is always room for improvement, it is what keeps me working hard. So why did a mention of any sort of lack of perfection rattle me? How could I take myself so seriously?

A) The video was nearly a year old, so that was not a live-action video. I am not experiencing this criticism in real life.

B) It was one of my first cross country courses EVER on a young horse who liked to bolt after jumps, so she was accurate which with more thought I realized is why it bothered me. I absolutely did need to let go a bit, thinking about that now makes me chuckle a bit.

C) I'm not even riding professionally anymore so why does it matter? I ride purely for my own pleasure and for my horses so why does it matter?

D) Why did I even need to go through these comforting statements? How did this bother me so much? How did I need to go through this list to calm myself?

AH OMG STOP YOU KNOW BETTER! my brain thought.

I was having such a nice day, just got off a boat with friends on Cinco de Mayo and I saw this comment and it unraveled me, even after all of my yoga mental teachings. So then that negative thought pattern went to how could I be so easily upset? Then I got upset at myself about that so instead of reading before bed like I usually did I scrolled through social media to escape the negative thought pattern. I witnessed my unhealthy unraveling of thoughts so then I finally took a deep breath, I shut off social media and sat with my discomfort.

I let myself speak to my thoughts, that is all they are thoughts, those thoughts are not me. I spoke to them like a parent speaking to an irrational child and wow it helped. I wish I just did that from the beginning instead of trying to escape the negative feelings so quickly. When we avoid discomfort we make a bigger deal of it and don't get to use it as an opportunity to grow. Discomfort is just a place where your heart says, here is something that is still deep insecurity and you have an opportunity to let go of it. Lean into it! Think thank you, heart, for unveiling this now I have an opportunity to get more comfortable with myself.

So instead of trying to rationalize and justify and feeding the insecurity, I did a few things to come back to my inner peace. I recommend journaling the process:

1) Where are you right now?

For me: I am home, I am safe. My family whom I love is in the house with me during quarantine, I am so lucky.

2) Does this criticism really affect your current state?

For me: No, it did not affect the way my day went. I still work hard every day to improve my riding. I am still incredibly happy every time my rear end hits that saddle. Reminder, it is a long term relationship, I will always be working to ride to make my horse as comfortable as possible. I don't want to take myself too seriously, I know that I am not the best rider in the world and I am OK with that.

3) What about the day that may be affecting your inner peace besides this comment? For me: I indulged in sugar today which always spikes my anxiety.

4) Is there something about the comment that upsets you personally?

I haven't had as much time as I usually do to lesson and work on my riding so it probably hit a soft spot.

5) List 3 things you are grateful for in the present moment:

-my horse

-my friends

-my family

This took the power away from the comment and brought me back to reality. I dove in headfirst instead of hiding from it. Confidence is not about thinking that you are the best at everything, that is ego and ego doesn't get us anywhere. Confidence is being OK with where you are and strong enough to keep working. If you think you are the best at everything and lead with your ego you would never ask questions and get stuck. Placing the ego aside and being open to learn and improve is that "beginner mentality" that yoga speaks about and brings an innocent joy into the process. This wasn't about the comment at all this was about my circumstances.

Most importantly things changed when I was kind to myself about even caring. At first, I was more upset at myself for being upset and then I couldn't work through anything. Once I practiced this with compassion my whole mentality shifted. Now I think about it and laugh at myself (with compassion). What, at the moment, feels so incredibly hurtful really is not that bad once you allow yourself to really think it through. If you try to push it off it only makes you harp on it more. You are entitled to having thoughts of insecurity, you are not silly or stupid, do not be so hard on yourself for being human. It is like telling yourself not to think about an elephant, that is the only thing you would think about!

When you conquer your inner peace fewer things on the outside can disturb it, but again, this is a marriage, there is a constant ebb and flow. You do not reach inner peace and just magically stay there, like any relationship you have to work on it with compassion. It is always a give and take. As we keep saying, love the process, this is all apart of it.

Sometimes "silly" things will unravel you and that is OK, just be kind and come back to your reality.

You are loved, you are enough, you are safe. Pick a mantra that brings you back.

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