Riding the high horse

My life has consisted of moments when I chose to ride the proverbial high horse quite often–okay, periods of years, perhaps. I’ve always had the tendency to analyze and criticize to death–whether that be myself, other people, world philosophies, or literature. This tendency can, like almost all tendencies, be an asset or a defect. Many times, I allow my tendency to analyze and criticize to become a glaring defect, leading me to judge others and myself rather harshly.

I know I’m riding the high horse when:

a) I make sweeping judgmental statements–aloud, but more often, in my head–about individuals or groups of people. Example: “I don’t know why they act like that. I’m guessing it’s because of their little clique they belong to. They must not realize how pathetic it makes them seem.” Most of the time, these statements are heat-of-the-moment thoughts, and later I recognize that when I’m pointing the finger, three are pointing back at me. I also realize I’m riding my  high horse when I use words like “always” and “never” more often. “I cannot believe she did that. I would NEVER do that.” Ironically, many of the things I pledged to NEVER do are the exact things I have found myself doing. Talk about a humility check. The view from atop the high horse may be grand, but the distance from the top to the bottom is quite painful.

b) I can identify every single fault and hole in your philosophy, way of life, or action. I can point out three ways you could have done things differently to avoid the situation you’re in. I can identify a zillion reasons why you’re wrong. Yet I can’t find one thing erroneous about myself or my way of thinking. Sure, I may say, “I could be wrong,” but at the end of the day, I’m pretty sure I am right. When I’m willing to sacrifice living at peace with others and being a joyful person for the sake of being right and being recognized for being right, I’ve saddled up in the high horse again.

c) I find myself mulling over whatever I perceive as being wrong with you or the situation at hand. My thoughts turn so frequently to the matter at hand that I find myself obsessing over something I’m not even in control of–whether that be you, your actions, or some random circumstance. The only thing I have any control over is myself–and at times, that is shoddy at best. If I’m not constantly relinquishing the reins to God, then chances are, I’m riding my  high horse.

Today I’m grateful that, thanks to the guidance of other people and the quiet voice of God, I choose to step off my high horse more often than I choose to ride it. Today, I’m grateful to have the ability to choose to spend my time around people who recognize that they don’t belong on top of a high horse at all. Today, I’m grateful that rather than looking down my nose from atop my high horse, I’m more often looking around me and seeing that, despite all their flaws and quirks, I’m surrounded by beautiful people who capture the heart of God every day.


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