Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Three "Fitness-es"

Physical, mental, emotional.  The three types of personal fitness one may or may not have.  No matter how fit you are there will always be room for development and continued growth in all three of the fitness-es.

Here are the definitions I use for myself when gauging how fit I currently am and where I'm headed.

Physically Fit: I am height/weight proportionate, athletic enough to pursue the things I love in life (horses!), and am balanced in my body's nutritional needs.

Mentally Fit: I am in a positive, open, learning frame of mind, I have a strong basis of specific and dependable knowledge for my line of work, my hobbies, and a broad general knowledge on a variety of topics to be well rounded.

Emotionally Fit: I am able to handle situations of stress, adrenaline, excitement, discomfort, etc in a rational and appropriate manner.  

My emotional fitness has always been the hardest for me to master.  I wouldn't say that I am an emotional person by nature, at least on the outside.  I'm in introverted personality type.  I chew on ideas, experiences, and problems for days at a time before acting on them.  I feel things intensely and, for an introvert, have a deep, driving, strong energy.

If I feel un-confident or afraid my mental side takes over and begins organizing the feelings for me - telling me that I am either over-reacting or responding appropriately.  My mind is great at saying, 'Samantha, it's not personal' or 'You should be afraid no matter what anyone else says, that horse is dangerous!' or 'Don't get frustrated.  Anger is often the result of ignorance.  You simply don't have the tools yet...'  I may know that I should get off, and physically get off the horse, but emotionally I beat myself up for it... If only I had the tools, the knowledge, the resources, the confidence, etc I could have handled that situation better.  For me knowing and feeling something are two completely different experiences.

Linda Parelli often uses the cliff analogy when talking about humans pushing horses off a cliff to do things they're not ready for.  For example, if we were to ask our horse to cross a river we know there is no danger but our horse may feel insurmountable pressure, impending doom and know a torturous death awaits them... often at times when we think we're not even pressuring them at all!   I am the the horse in the analogy that's afraid to approach the edge of the river of my fear when asked to, frantic on the inside, trying to be brave and look over... AND I'm the person saying "JUST DO IT ALREADY!  You'll be fine!  Go! Go! Go! Pansy!"  Can you see the imbalance between my mental and emotional fitness?

So, why talk about this now?  I have been thinking a lot about the other day with Aspen and I am coming around to the idea that her off day and impulsive nature was most likely a direct result of me!!  I had a rough morning and while I thought I had pushed all my irritation aside when I got to the barn, in reality it was simmering somewhere inside, and that agitated energy was up too high for her. I was happy to see her but I knew that I wasn't in the best 'state of feeling'.  (See the know vs. feel concept here again?)  I should have done less with her until I was totally neutral.  As I said earlier, I have an intense energy and I know now that with a horse as perceptive and sensitive, and bless her heart as trying, as Aspen is that my emotions and energy have to be in total check before I play with her.

I must find the balance between my mental fitness and my emotional fitness by exercising them - respecting my feelings, recognizing them, and not sweeping them under the rug.  By doing this I will be more able to understand the energy I have and am projecting subconsciously.  It will translate not only in playing with horses but in dealing with people as well.

What fitness is your weakest?  Your strongest?  How would you be a better horse person if you honed your weakest fitness and made it stronger?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You really hit home with this post. I have always thought about this but you put it into words perfectly and encourages me.