My intrigue with horses started several months ago. I had heard about how horses can teach us a lot about ourselves since they are sentient beings. This means they can feel our energy and often respond in accordance to how we react.
Basically, just like your pooch can tell when you’re sad, a horse tell if you are anxious, angry, sad, or happy.
Horses are flight animals. They will choose to run over fighting any day. They are gentle beings, but will run in any sign of danger. If they feel that everything is safe they will go back to grazing. A grazing horse is a happy horse.
Well I had the opportunity to observe horses the other weekend on a short trip to Arizona. I was on a ranch where horses are cared for and where the horses are accustomed to working with people in gentle ways.
Our first assignment was simply to brush the horse.
Later we interacted with the horse by being in the center of a round pen and allowing the horse to interact with us.
I watched others stand in the center of the pen as the horse would approach them, acknowledge them, feel if the situation was safe, and each and every time the horse would go back to grazing.
Now let’s just say I didn’t quite trust the horse. I mean horses are energetic and flighty animals. How should I know that the horse wouldn’t get spooked and run off, hitting me unintentionally in the process?
So I decided I would walk on the outside perimeter. The horse came over to greet me, made eye contact, and then went back to grazing.
I decided I’d take a micro-step and asked the facilitator to go in with me. So the facilitator came in with me, and instantly the horse approached me. The facilitator informed me how anytime I want the horse to back away and put a little distance between us it is OK to put up my hand.
But my habitual pattern kicked in.
I felt bad to put up my hand.
In other words, I felt bad to say no.
The horse came right up to my hip to greet me and again I was reminded that it was OK to put up my hand. Gosh darn it was difficult, but I did it.
And you know what, the horse respected me and my need for space and went on about its business. It went back to grazing.
By then I had reached my personal limit of horse interaction and left the gate back to the outside perimeter.
I was flooded with emotion and welled up in tears.
I was instantly hit with an “aha.” Although I had read about and thought about the power of “No” over the previous months, I had not yet integrated it into my being at a deeper level.
With this horse encounter and experience, I finally received an amplified lesson—a deeper understanding that it is OK to create healthy boundaries for yourself.
It’s not just OK—it’s healthy and necessary to say no, to create boundaries.
The other being will survive. They will go on and do their thing.
But that’s easier said than done.
In the past I’ve said no and felt like a bitch.
Saying no is one thing, integrating the deep-felt knowing that it is OK is another.
Imagine you can say no and feel good about it. Imagine you can say no and go on about your business?
Well that was what the horse taught me. I said no, and she didn’t attack or get flustered or kick up her heels. Rather she went off and minded her business.
There are 2 steps to this process of crafting boundaries in your life:
- Be able to say no when your intuition and heart don’t want to say yes!
- Actually feel good about it. Don’t let No throw YOU off center.
This is a practice—through approaching “No” from the door of self-care and honesty it will feel like a positive experience.
Finally, knowing that the other person will find their way, and recognizing that saying no doesn’t make you a bitch is one of the best ways to boost your personal power through listening and respecting your boundaries.
In your ability to say no, it frees you up. It gives you space and energy to honor yourself, and to say yes to what you need to do for your life and business.
(Note from Denise: You can find my thoughts on saying no here: How to Stop Saying YES, When You Really Mean NO)
And really—don’t we all deserve to honor that place?
Tova Payne is a published author and personal coach. She helps soulful, creative entrepreneurs start and finish their dream projects and has a new signature offering: Make Money While You Sleep—a personalized program helping entrepreneurs create their own online courses so they have the freedom to make money while they sleep! For a FREE guide with the 5 Keys to starting & finishing your dream project, come visit Tova’s virtual home at www.tovapayne.com to grab you free copy now.