There are only two things your parents really want for you:
To be safe To be happy
We might add, to be successful as well, but I ask “What would success give you?” Mostly, we would say, “It would make us happy!” What makes your parents drive you all over the countryside to shows and lessons, and spend every last cent on horses and tack.
TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!
So what is it, do you think, you can do, to let them know you are grateful? It’s simply by saying
“Thanks Mum and Dad. I am really grateful for you taking me, and I am really glad you were there”
Thats it! Whether the competitions was a success or not – simply letting your family know that you are growing from the experiences they are offering you, and are enjoying the journey they will be more willing to take you to the end of the moon and back if need be.
BUT - there is a whole lot more to being the best version of YOU. Many young riders, maybe you feel the same, think that you need to bring home the blue ribbon to make your parents happy, to feel worthy enough of their love.
Know this, your parents love you unconditionally!!!
It’s only you that have linked up, that success, be it a higher level of competition or placing at an event is required to gain more love, and pride in you. Think about this – when you first won a blue ribbon, what happened? You were happy, you were excited. Mum and Dad gave you a big hug and told you how much they loved you. The next event, you fell off or your horse refused. You were frustrated, and dissapionted. You took the dissapointment out on on your horse, or your parents so your parents were frustrated at your behavior towards them. You may even have been repramanded for being rude.
BOOM!!! You have just linked up in your head, that you need to win in order to gain your parents love, to make them happy and to be happy. With that in mind, you have now placed more pressure on yourself to do well, and gauge your happiness solely on your results. This has a huge negative impact on your ability to learn and grow from your experiences, and will ultimately hold you back in the long run.
Your parents never said, you need to win to make them happy, you just created that in your head. Ask them, what is your outcome for my riding? Not every event is going to result in a blue ribbon. It’s how you choose to respond in these situations that count. When something goes bad it’s easy to blame someone or something.
It’s the horses fault, the judges, my coach, my parents fault…. it’s no ones fault – Not even yours! It just is!
It’s what you choose to do next that counts.
What did I learn from this event? What is funny about it? What was good about it and what action am I going to take to make sure I can have a better outcome next time?
So, when your driving home from a competition where things haven’t gone as planned, or made choices that wern’t the best, you have two ways of looking at it. You can come from a place of blame, and frustration. Make the ride home uncomfortable for everyone else in the car, especially for your parents who are starting to question what they are doing all this for, or you can come from a place of growth. Thinking of all the things that were good about it, what you learn’t and what actions you are going to take in order to improve. That way your parents will know that all the time, effort and money is worth it as they can see that these experiences are helping mould you into one very cool human!
Getting to the top levels of competition, isn’t a straight line. It’s like wanting to get from one edge of a forest to the other side, but there is no straight road. The forest has many paths through it, with an interconnecting web that can shift you from one trail to another at any given time. Each trail has varying degrees of bridges, jumps, bumps and hills, but they all lead to the same place in the end. The amount of learning that happens between A and B will vary depending on how many obstacles you have learn’t to overcome, on the journey.
It’s all about the journey – every competition is like one of the trails, an opportunity for growth, for learning. It’s where you fill your metaphorical toolbox full of trial and error, experiences, mistakes, and skill development. Often we are too quick to jump the higher levels, and miss out on all the smaller steps, the obstacles and challenges along the journey towards the bigger goal. It’s what you learn at the lower levels, where the mistakes are less costly, that is going to give you that edge as you move up the levels.
Angela Duckworth talks of the need for grit – defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining the ability to effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.
During this process you may be given feedback, from a judge, coach or other, and whether that feedback is positive or negative is entirely up to how YOU decide to percieve it. If you look at any feedback from a place of growth, there is never negative feedback, only opportunities for you to further develop your skills.
Allowing your parents to fight your battles for you, won’t give you any respect or integrity. It’s about owning your decisions, and ultimately your outcomes! if you made a bad choice... own it! Don’t blame anyone, even yourself, just accept that you made a decision that if you were to have your time again, you would do it differently, and have learnt from it. Accept any consequences and move on. Be grateful for the opportunity to grow from the experience.
There is only one person that can truly make you happy, and that is YOU! YOU have the choice to make ANY event mean what you want it to. YOU can choose to be proud, determined, positive and resiliant at any given time, you don’t need anyone else to create that for you. If you are happy with yourself, knowing that you are acting with good intention and integrity, your parents will be happy too. You don’t need a blue ribbon, you can achieve the same feeling a blue ribbon will give you at any given time. So go out there, fail! Fall over, make mistakes, get out of you comfort zone and accept all of these as failures forward towards a bigger goal. If you don’t have challenges, you aren’t thinking big enough!
That doesn’t mean go out and go out, and jump as big as you can as fast as you can. It means challenge yourself on the little things, strive for continual improvement. Make every ride, every lesson, every competition count. How can you develop and improve you skills at every opportunity!
Have the big goal, have massive goals but give yourself time to enjoy the journey. It’s all about the trip ups, mud, sweat and tears that is going to give you the strength and resiliance to keep going moving forward. Gain the experiences, think of any opportunity you can to learn something, and have fun doing it!
Everyone has something to teach you – yes, even your parents :)
So all in all, Thank your parents! Let them know you are proud of them, and love them too. They need to hear it, as much as you do.