It is amazing how much a little bit of kindness can improve your mental state. One of my dear friends just lifted me up by a thousand percent with a random bit of niceness. Before I explain though a bit of back story is necessary.
I grew up riding horses. My folks weren’t rich so I didn’t ever have a trainer. I got lessons when we could afford them. When we couldn’t I just hung around the barn until someone stuck me on a horse. As the years passed I managed to get first one then another awesome horse for cheap. I started showing, using borrowed gear, second hand show clothes, rolling up in an older truck and a rusted trailer. But I did good. My horses had manners and were good at the loud chaotic shows. They learned to be kind to kids and dogs and annoying non-horse people. I gained a group of horse friends and we enjoyed showing through high school and college together.
However I was never one of the go-to riders/trainers in the group. I wasn’t the one who got asked for advice. No one ever asked me to work on a problem horse for them. I’d learned to be a great hand and a great rider. But I never managed to get that level of respect that my friends seemed to gain. It made me sad but I accepted it.
As life went on, my health became worse (I have Rheumatoid Arthritis) and I faded out of the show circuit and slide out to the fringes of the local horse community. Now, one of my horses is waiting for me in Heaven and the other is in my pasture getting fat and bratty.
And now we’re back to that kindness. One of my friends wanted to start riding again. She’d lost her own horse and had two kids and wanted to get back in the saddle. I offered my fat mare. And she took me up on it. Today was their first ride. And she adored her. For the first time someone said “You should be proud of her.” I trained this horse myself from a foal. I worked my butt off to make her nice. She’s wildly out of shape and still my friend complemented me on how nice she is.
RA has pretty much taken me out of the saddle and the guilt of not working a horse who loves to work was killing me. With one ride, my dear friend has lifted that guilt. Her kind words have soothed the hurt I thought I’d moved past and her love of riding my horse has lifted me higher than I have been in ages. Her kindness has given me a feeling of freedom from guilt that is wonderful.
Kindness. It has such amazing healing powers.