People Like These

In my 35 years of working with people and horses, no one topic has been brought up more as a source of woe – and wonderfulness! – than relationships—the good, the bad, and the not-very-pretty.

That’s because humans innately crave connection, being close to other people, and building relationships. These are vital to our well-being, both mentally and emotionally.

Horses have the same experience, although, additionally, they depended on it for survival in the wild.

Research shows that positive relationships lower anxiety, improve self-esteem, increase empathy, and avert depression.

But the challenge is that there’s no manual for relationships given to us at birth. Most of us have found our way by the patterns in our family, people around us, etc. Some of these mindsets and communications work well – and others do not.

These patterns, for better or for worse, are not our fault. Learning about relationships—and what enriches them, what doesn’t, and how to navigate them—can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives and make navigating relationships easier and more productive.

I have a fun exercise for you today.

Think of someone you admire who seems to navigate their relationships with ease. Choose someone confident in themselves and gracious towards others.

Think of someone who you enjoy being with. It’s as if you want to soak up their ease, authenticity, and nonjudgmental kindness toward others.

Three people I know immediately come to my mind.

They’re well-known in their respective spheres of the horse world, which is one more thing that makes their characters so gorgeous. They influence many people in beautiful ways just by being who they are—not by trying to impress others or draw attention to themselves.

I’ve never heard an ill-spoken word about any of them.

It’s just the opposite. No matter who mentions their name, the response is: “Oh, I just love (or admire, or like, etc.) that person so much. They are a great person.”

Now, think of a similar person you know. Take a moment.

I listed a few of my observations of some common characteristics of these folks.

It’s not to put them in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ basket. What are some of their best qualities that we can learn from them?

  • They seem at home within themselves. They are who they are and do what they do without comparing themselves to others or needing recognition.
  • What they’ve set their sights on to be and do is admirable. It’s not about fame, being externally recognized, or doing something grandiose. It’s about wanting good things for themselves and others and living that way daily.
  • They’re kind and transparent in their communications. They can address something uncomfortable in a way that does not threaten others and make strides toward solving an issue.
  • They rarely speak ill of others. If they do, it’s not to diminish the other person; it’s to solve an interpersonal or a larger group problem. They understand the toxic nature of words that diminish others.
  • They get to the heart of a challenge (or let it go) and then move on readily – back to living well and being on their positive purpose.
  • They have a close circle of friends and, at the same time, are kind, welcoming, and helpful to whoever they encounter.

The members of our Sharing Journal project added a some of their own:

  • They do not try to fix things for others, and they most often use guidance, presence, silence, and/or empathy.
  • They take care of themselves (physically and mentally) so that they can be present and available for others.
  • They are encouraging.
  • They work towards self-improvement and growth and have much love, care, and empathy towards others.
  • They seem confident and happy with their lives. They don’t need to prove their worth, and they don’t put down or judge others.

Click here to check out the Relationship Savvy Workshop. I begins this Tuesday.

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