The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 75: The Highlight Reel

Have you heard of the highlight reel? It’s when you see someone and they tell you about the two awesome things going on in their life and now, you also see the highlight reel on social media. You see all the fun and awesome things in others’ lives but, it doesn’t necessarily mean all aspects of their lives are awesome. Just like when someone shares an awesome video of their horse, it doesn’t mean it’s been awesome getting there or that all of their other horses are awesome. In this episode, I talk about the highlight reel and how to handle our ego and the need to compare.

When I was young, I would never have imagined that this was what life would look like. I wouldn’t have guessed that we’d be catching up with people on a social media platform. One of the downfalls of social media is that you see people’s highlight reels. It allows us an opportunity to compare our lives to others’ lives and compare our horses to others’ horses. Ego has a hayday with this opportunity to compare. 

Studies like this one by Steers, Wickham and Acetelli (2014) suggested that “people feel depressed after spending a great deal of time on Facebook because they feel badly when comparing themselves to others”. If you’ve watched The Social Dilemma, you will see how Facebook rewards you with that hit of dopamine when you post your own highlights and others like it and comment on it. This opens up even more opportunities for comparison.

I recorded this on the eve of the new year and I’m a little anxious about all my horses turning a year older. I have these ideas about what my horses should be doing. I’ve been watching horses on Facebook who are further along than mine. That’s ego and comparison. 

The clock didn’t strike midnight and all of a sudden my horses hit an age and became more educated and mature. A lot of their progress isn’t about age; it’s about their education, their disposition and their ability to learn. We preach “age is just a number” in people, but somehow it doesn’t apply to horses. We end up comparing horses and put them on a schedule. 

When I do intuitive healing with horses, there can be a lot of trapped emotions in horses from early ages. I think it’s because we often decide they are ready before they really are ready. We don’t always pay attention to how they are responding and ensure they have a solid foundation before moving on.

We seeing the highlight reel of horses on social media. We don’t know what the bad rides look like. Trainers aren’t going to share their bad rides, the horses that aren’t going so well or the “ugly” behind the scenes moments. I am not sharing my bad rides and ugly pictures. I just share the good ones. 

It’s up to us, as the consumer, to recognize that social media is a highlight reel. 

It’s our responsibility to assume people are going through things that we don’t see on social media. We can assume that everyone is having bad rides that we don’t see. I don’t want to see your videos of your horse running up the wall or of you in a puddle crying. We share the good stuff. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and Mark Twain said “Comparison is the death of joy.”

You can help yourself by being aware of when you’re comparing. It’s important to remember that just because someone is excelling in one area of their life doesn’t mean they are in another area; there could be struggles for them too. Maybe the great ride that they are sharing is the only great thing in their life right now. 

Focus on yourself – stop comparing.

Don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone’s highlight reel. Run your own race. 

Is it the highlight reel that’s the problem or is it the fact we’re not recognizing it for what it is?

Spend more time cultivating your own happiness instead of resenting someone else’s success and happiness. Spend more time riding the horse you have for where it’s at. See what’s possible by seeing what others are doing. 

It’s not up to me to show you the bad pictures and the bad runs so you feel better about yourself. It’s up to you to know that what you see is also possible for you. It’s also up to you to catch your ego when you’re making comparisons.

It’s up to you to know that you’re watching a highlight reel.

It’s up to you to realize everyone has bad rides, just as everyone has areas of their life that they struggle in from time to time. It’s part of being human.

It’s up to you to ride your horse for where it’s at today and not get hung up on what everyone else is up to with their horses. That’s not you and it’s not your horse.

Use the highlight reel for motivation and inspiration, but don’t use it to feel bad about where you’re at. 

You’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you want to move on from that, get after it, but enjoy this moment and enjoy your horse here and now and just get a little better every day.

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