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A few weeks ago, I received a message in my Tumblr inbox (of all places) that said, “Ever considered a diet?” My first thought: “People still send Tumblr messages? What is this, 2009?” My second thought: “Wow. I feel sorry for you.”
Had this warm and fuzzy little gem shown up three or four years ago, I would have immediately started crying and shut down. Someone anonymously judging me and calling me fat on the Internet would have rattled me to the core. Now, though, all I could do was smile and move on.
When I was a kid and I was having trouble with bullies or friends, my parents would always remind me that you can’t control what other people say about you, but you can control how you react to harmful words. The truth is that I could spend my whole life preaching about being kind to others, but there will still be small people that take out their insecurities on others. How we behave in the face of adversity is what defines our character.
In the equestrian world, we pay an awful lot of money for someone to sit in a little booth and judge us based on 8-10 jumps. We rarely hear the judge’s reasoning, and we either walk away with a ribbon or empty-handed. The horse show judge is, in many ways, similar to the anonymous Internet troll that tried to insult me (but we hope that judges are a little less biased). We either impress him or her, or we don’t.
You will encounter people in this world that just don’t like you, no matter what you say or do. It will be the same way in our sport. In horse showing and in life, you can only control YOUR attitude. You may fall off, you may have three rails, or you may miss a lead change, but the thing to remember is that we are all human and therefore perfectly imperfect. We have bad days, we come across people that are grumpy, and sometimes we just can’t see a distance to save our lives. Being the best version of you is all that matters, and from time to time, that may mean being the bigger person and ignoring negativity.
I wish I could promise all of you that people will never say hurtful things to you, but you and I both know that that isn’t an achievable reality. Keep striving towards that Blue Ribbon Attitude and you’ll be untouchable.
Be happy and ride happy.
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