Introduction to Personal Boundary Setting Using Horses
MindBodyGreen.com has a great article on meaningful Healthy Boundaries for us humans. Here's the article. I'm finding quite a bit of information on setting and maintaining personal boundaries (Wikipedia definition here). I need it.
It part, it reads: "Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits." Narcissistic people do not respect other people's boundaries for example.
|Using a rope to desensitize and teach a horse to stay out of my space.|
Those boundaries extend into our relationships with horses as well. So using our horse as a personal development barometer, we can spot or become aware of areas in our life that need changing. It will definitely benefit the horse as well. Learning to set better or more personal boundaries and maintain them can start with the horse and they can let us know how we are doing. They tend to be kinder then our human counterparts.
No boundaries = Door Mat. Setting and maintaining healthy personal boundaries is something I've had to learn as an adult. It's supposed to be taught in childhood. I didn't get that. I was taught to be a 'people-pleaser' or disease to please which means no boundaries. You can think of no boundaries as being a 'door mat'. I started to re-parent myself in my 20's and eventually over came that. I get plenty of practise maintaining boundaries with my family even to this day.
People Pleaser or Disease to Please (Wisegeek.com definition here). "This
addiction is characterized by an overwhelming desire in the individual to please others and make everyone happy. In contrast to an altruistic desire to help people, or a general concern for others, people pleasers often possess a compulsive need to please others at all times, regardless of the price to their own health and well-being. People pleasing can lead to a large number of other mental and physical health issues, such as extreme fatigue, mental and physical stress, high blood pressure and even heart attack. "
What's a Horse Pleaser? I looked up on the internet to see if anyone had defined a 'horse pleaser' before and what I got was Pleasure Horse as in Western Pleasure horse. Cool. The closest I got was crowd pleaser and eye pleaser. But that's not what I mean.
So my definition of a horse pleaser is: "A Horse Pleaser is a horse handler that has an overwhelming desire and habit to please and care for their horse at all times, sometimes to the point of coddling or overprotecting the horse, and regardless of the price to their own health and safety."
Safety is big issue for us horse handlers as you know. So how do you know if you are a horse pleaser and possibly a people pleaser? As Dr. Phil would say: "You can't change what you don't acknowledge."
So if you were to hang with your horse as usual, paying attention to the horse's behaviour with you, what signs can your horse tell you if you are in fact doing too much for your horse? Which may indicate a personal boundary adjustment is in order?
I will get more into these signs in the next article.
Thanks for reading!
Putting my spin on personal development and the end to door mats.