Through Another’s Eyes

Photo courtesy of Rita Gallaway

This is my gorgeous little Majestic Kalypso. I fell in love with him from this photo, with the innocent blue eyes (no longer blue, sadly) and the trust he is putting in this strange human with the rope.

But like all little ones, they go through their stages and foals require a lot of understanding. Many times he seems to be ‘naughty’ but when I step back and look at it through his young, sensitive eyes, most of the time his behaviour is coming from uncertainty, lack of understanding or frustration rather than evil intent. He is almost never wilfully naughty, more like testing the boundaries, like any young creature.

Seeing things through another’s eyes was brought home to me graphically one day. There was a time in my life when I was having regular major anxiety attacks. One day I had one while waiting at the doctor’s office. She was running two hours late and I had an injured horse at home that I was worried about. My anxiety built to the unfortunate point that I took it out on the poor receptionist.

On my way home I thought about how in the past, when people had reacted towards me the same way that I had unloaded on the lady behind the desk, I would have called them numerous unpleasant names under my breath and deemed them to be horrible, rude people. There’s no excuse for rude behaviour but sometimes there is more to the story. Perhaps that person is having a life crisis of their own.

In working with horses I am finding it so much more gratifying to look beyond the behaviour to the possible causes behind it. Sometimes I can’t pinpoint the exact issue but a surprising majority of times, if I wait and watch long enough, it becomes apparent to me that the horse is uncertain or confused or perhaps sore. Even when I don’t figure it out, they respond with amazing gratitude at the fact that I have acknowledged their emotions and tried to address them.

Similarly I am finding far more grace in having compassion on ‘difficult’ people who cross my path. Maybe their loved one has cancer, maybe they are working two jobs. And maybe they really are rude, obnoxious individuals, but then what made them that way? I often fail and return to muttering curses under my breath but when I do stop and try to see the person behind the behaviour, even if it doesn’t help them, it certainly makes my day go a little more peacefully.

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