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The metaphor of the horse

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Imagine an animal that you are not interested in owning and taking care of (let's say, for example, a horse). One day, two random people give you a horse without your consent. You resent those people because taking care of a horse is expensive and physically exhausting. When you complain about having to take care of the horse, the people who gave you that animal tell you that you should stop being immature/selfish/ungrateful, that you need to learn to love your horse, that your horse is your responsibility, that you need to grow up... Most other people also say these hurtful things.

Then, you become friends with someone who doesn't say those things, but still loves your horse. That friend occasionally visits you and your horse in order to play with the horse. You do all the hard work of maintaining the horse, while your friend gets all the fun with none of the responsibilities. Even though you really love your friend, and even though watching your friend playing with your horse makes you feel genuinely happy, you are tired of working really hard every single day to provide for a horse that you don't want, just so that your friend can play with it once in a blue moon...

Now, imagine that all your friends are like this. You know it's not their fault (they can't help you take care of your horse, or even just play with your horse more often, because they have their own horses to take care of), but that doesn't change the fact that you are tired of maintaining the horse for so little reward.

... This is how I have been feeling for a very long time.

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  1. Pokemon Trainer Sarah's Avatar
    I think this is really clever Val! Thanks for sharing it!
  2. Neo Emolga's Avatar
    This reminds me of my neighbors, who ended up with a Yorkshire Terrier named Louie. Their daughter simply dropped this dog on them and now they’ve got to take care of him. And let me tell you, Louie is NOT a delightful dog. He yaps at everything (we hear it right next door so we can only imagine how bad it is living in the same house with it), always seems agitated, takes forever to calm the heck down, and the look on my neighbor’s faces says it all. This dog is bloody exhausting and they’re old and tired (not to mention they both have medical issues). Personally, I wouldn’t want a dog because of how expensive they are and how much work needs to go into taking care of them. If someone came by my door and said “hey, here’s a dog for you” I’d say no and close the door on them. Pets, I feel, make bad gifts. You’ve got to really want a pet in the first place and know exactly what you’re getting into when it comes to providing and taking care of them. A parent giving their kid a pet usually ends up with the parent taking care of it. And I’ll admit when I was a kid, I wasn’t so good with taking care of pets and some not so nice things resulted out of it. Thankfully, I’ve gotten a heck of a lot better about these things.

    I’m not quite sure what the “horse” is a metaphor of in this case, but I feel this pain myself sometimes. I HIGHLY oppose putting that kind of needless responsibility on someone. Practices of good hygiene, doing chores, studying to do well in school, those are all things I understand and help people adopt healthier and more responsible lifestyles that will help them later in life, but any kind of pet (if this is a metaphor for a pet) shouldn’t be obligatory. “Learning to love” isn’t always possible like some people think. You can’t put birds and worms together and expect the worms to learn how to love the birds.

    It would probably help to jot down all your options and the pros and cons of each of them. If having the “horse” makes you that genuinely unhappy, write down all the reasons why and consider what can be done to get the horse out of your life. Even if it can’t be all acted upon immediately and needs a step-by-step process to be done over time, try to get that started and going for your own sake. If you’ve already made your feelings clear, then you don’t need to explain yourself any further to those people holding you back. They can’t say you didn’t warn them that you were going to start making steps toward getting this “horse” out of your life.

    As the saying goes, don’t set yourself on fire just so others can keep warm. People need to understand you need to take care of yourself, too, and that when too much is too much to tolerate, things need to change and some things need to end and be done with.
  3. Cleobel's Avatar
    @Pokemon Trainer Sarah Thank you very much! I'm glad you like this metaphor.
    @Neo Emolga I don't think you understood what I meant, because the horse represents life itself.
  4. Neo Emolga's Avatar

    I guess I’ll admit I pulled a Drax the Destroyer moment and the metaphor kind of went over my head. Sorry about that! :P

    I hear you, though. Life can be butt-kicking hard, expensive, and there are times when it just feels easier to give up. But don’t give up. Look how far you’ve come and all the things you’ve accomplished to get where you are today. And the stuff you’re struggling with today doesn’t negate all the great things you’ve done before and it certainly doesn’t negate all the cool and amazing things you’ll do in the future. But yeah, don’t feel like you need to think about all that today. Sometimes it’s okay to admit things sometimes need baby steps and time to get worked out the right way. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    The other thing to remember is not every day has to be productive. In fact it’s darn good to just have one of those times where you let that “horse” have a day or two off and not feel like it has to be a constant responsibility to be fed and taken care of. And consider if it’s really the “horse” that’s at fault, or just the way it was handed to you? Sometimes the presentation and timing makes all the difference but it’s not always something we can control. Getting a nice tasty ice cream cone is great on a hot summer day when you’re out in the park or at a festival. However, it’s a WHOLE other thing if you have to handle that ice cream cone while you’re busy doing something important that needs your full attention, like driving! Suddenly a thing that’s supposed to give you satisfaction becomes a nuisance instead! But like all things, everything has better times and places to be.

    These things pass, too. Whatever muck of a struggle you’re going through right now, in perhaps a week, a month, and most certainly a year I’m sure, it won’t be there. And even if by same crazy rare chance it still is, it won’t be the same as when you first faced it. You’ll fight it, adapt to it, and you’ll understand it. And you still have the power to change it, even if it doesn’t seem so today.
  5. Cleobel's Avatar
    @Neo Emolga Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your supportive message.
  6. Agrassitem's Avatar
    One day Robin Hood has to retire and pay taxes like every other man. Cant take away an eye like his though.
    Ride the horse and know it, you will know yourself and adapt.

    Worst Case scenario means you learn the rules to know how to break them.