Saying you don’t like someone and admitting it, can be quite a negative feeling. I can’t say I like every single person out there. I also don’t think we are conditioned to be successful in liking people that oppose our opinions, likes, beliefs, etc. Yet to contradict this, we are expected to like everyone so if you ask me; it feels like a setup to fail!
I don’t try to upkeep a dislike of someone, usually the opposite. I think liking someone makes for an easier life. No horrible feelings inside and you don’t get that feeling of conflict either with the person or yourself. I think it is just a reaction that some people pull from you. I’m sure there is a scientific reason, but that is beyond what I am qualified to write about.
There are parts of equestrianism, practices, disciplines, habits- the list could go on, that I personally might not agree with. It could be that it goes against my beliefs, or it could go against what I currently believe is right, based on the information that I have knowledge of- note I say it that way because it is arguable that what I know, might not be correct.
*There are of course exceptions to what I am going to say, but I’m referring to things that aren’t abuse, illegal or immoral etc*
Silencing people we don’t agree with, is quite possibly limiting our own potential. If you don’t agree with something, stopping it being said isn’t addressing the root of the issue. If ultimately someone won’t budge, you can’t force them, and actually trying to force something, probably makes a person dig their heels in more. I know if someone is blasting information at me, I’ve never suddenly felt encouraged to jump ship. We never know where the next progression or breakthrough will come from. Sometimes discovery or progression comes from a mistake or from an unexpected source. It would be amazing to feel like there were less barriers between us.
I’m trying to work on being objective and being more self aware. It is really easy to be pulled into not liking someone for just one small part of who they are, or what they believe, and also then letting that one thing grow into the worst of the worst in your head. Differentiating the person from what they are doing, you can like the person and not their discipline. It feels almost a habit to reduce someone to just one thing; “They are a showjumper”, “They are a happy hacker”, “They are a pro rider”, “They don’t ride”. Did you have thoughts pop into your head reading those labels?
Being open and objective takes practice. I'm not consistently successful yet but it is like a lot of things, difficult things take practice and it doesn’t mean that the end result isn’t worth it. Also, saying you want to do better, shouldn’t come with the pressure of having to instantly be brilliant at at!
I don’t think it’s practical or realistic to always manage to like someone, but I am definitely seeing the positives in the practice of actually being more open-minded, as opposed to just telling myself I am open-minded. To share a small tangent on the subject, one of my closest friends; I hated her when I first saw her, don't worry she knows this! But when I first saw her in college, she was so chirpy; she jingled when she moved and she was so animated with her hands. When I write that out, none of it is a reason to hate someone, but she just irked me. I am so glad I got to know her, she is undoubtedly one of the best humans I know. If I had followed my initial reaction, and held onto the preconceived notion of who she was to me, what I saw her as, I’d have missed out on the honour of knowing such an amazing person, someone who became very important to my life.
I’m not saying to love everyone, or even like them blindly. I don’t think you can ever force yourself to feel a certain way. What I want is to better myself in being more open and what I’d love to see more in the equestrian industry, is to leave the door open to things you don’t understand. Disciplines that aren’t your first love or people that may do things differently to you, may surprise you!
I feel really lucky to have “met” the people I have through Instagram. People that I have mutual respect for, whether we compete in contrasting disciplines, train with different methods or have different ideas of what perfection looks like.There will be people that I never reach that understanding with, and in the instances where you can’t see things from someone else's point of view, I’d highly encourage being kind, by leaving them to their way.
We don’t have to like something for it to be valid, or for it to have a right to exist, but I think we have a responsibility to practice kindness. It’s not others with opposing ways of doing things that need to be silenced, it’s our reaction to something we don’t like that could be held to a higher standard, whether that be with openness or silently scrolling on.