Everyone is the star of their own reality show, where our world revolves around our own dreams, successes, and failures. Social media has inherently made us increasingly self-aware of this sentiment. One of my friends lamented to me about how every time he has a less than great horse show, he feels the need to immediately explain his results and what happened. However, when he does well, he usually posts nothing unless it was an extraordinary result. When he first told me this, I was deeply saddened for him on how much social media impacts his life and how he feels about competing. For a moment I was grateful that I do not live my life that way, but then I stopped to think more about it. Oh…I do that too. While I might not feel compelled to analyze every competition on social media, after every horse show I share my results and a couple pictures on social media. When it’s a bad result, I feel compelled to explain why we didn’t do well when sharing my standard update. On the flip side, I typically explain why I am proud of a good result.
How odd it is what we live in a world where we expect ourselves to explain the results our passion and hobby to strangers or acquaintances on the internet? After all, our friends likely already know the result from talking to us. Social media has made us into the star of our own reality show, visible to the world from behind a computer or mobile device. From sharing what we had to lunch, how good the clothes we just purchased look on us, a new saddle pad, or how our horses performed today. We are the next Kim Kardashian, and people either love to follow along with us, love to hate us, or both.
The problem is, you are not the next Kim Kardashian. Social media is not real life. You are the star of your own life, but most people don’t actually care why you had a bad round. If they care, it is likely because they care about your happiness and want the best for you, or they are a negative influence in your life and are overly concerned with how you perform due to their own insecurities and negatives within their life.
You owe no one an explanation for why you had a good or bad weekend. Well, you might owe one to your trainer, but I digress…
How often do you search the results of your fellow competitors, friends, or even rivals? How often do you feel the need for another rider to give you an explanation and reasoning behind their performance? I would be willing to bet that the answer to both of those questions is not that often.
It is far too easy to get sucked into the social media, FOMO, and feeling the need to validate your life to the rest of the world. It is easier to be petty and judge another rider than it is to compliment them on their success or tell them even the best have bad days. It can be easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you’re in a race for “success” and have to explain why things didn’t go as planned.
It is not easy to have faith in the process. It is not easy to find your validation through yourself, your riders, your trainer, and knowing that no matter the result, you’re lucky to be able to ride a horse. Get down with your bad self and embrace every good day, bad day, and the rest that in that awkward middle ground.