Butler intently surveys the piles of hay laid out for breakfast. Then he makes his move. Walking forward he pins his ears at whoever happens to be eating off the pile he’s chosen. If that goes ignored he steps his game up a notch or two by baring his teeth, taking a quick nip at the other horse or running to chase them off. Sometimes that leads to squeals and a warning kick or two, and ultimately the other horse moves away and finds a quieter pile to eat. This same behavior occurs many times during the day over food, water buckets, shade, or simply when Butler walks through the herd.
Clients and volunteers at Fire Horse Ranch are sometimes concerned or upset that Butler appears to be pushy and aggressive. Many want to jump in and scold him. I’m sometimes asked why I don’t intervene. My answer is very simple. If I were to step in and stop Butler or punish him it would disrupt the order of the herd. This is usually followed by a puzzled look on the inquirers face…HUH?
Butler is the dominant horse and everyone in the herd naturally finds their position after him. Stop Butler from being dominant and confusion sets in. Everyone questions their position in the herd, uncertain who fills the dominant role, and what their particular role is.
We’re often taught that being dominant is an undesirable trait or action. If used to harm others I agree. However, many times we make this belief an absolute; banning, fearing, and resisting dominance in any form in all areas of our lives.
Consider this…dominance properly used creates order, harmony and clarity empowering your life – just like in the herd. Improperly used it can leave you feeling powerless, confused, stuck, and maybe even depressed.
Take a look at an area in your life where you may be asserting too much or too little dominance. Forcing and pushing your will upon another leaving them powerless; or, giving your power to the person or situation at hand, squelching your voice and your truth. Like removing the dominant member from the herd this can leave you confused, with lots of questions and no direction.
Looking at the situation you’ve chosen and consider the following:
- In this situation is the degree of dominance, or lack thereof, moving you towards something positive and supportive or towards harm?
- Speak your truth, even if you think others will disagree. After all this is your truth, not theirs. Because it’s your truth you have the freedom to keep it or change it.
- When faced with possibilities and options where you’d otherwise feel compelled to say yes even though you don’t want to, say no.
- Consider bravely saying yes to something you want to do but would normally say no to doing. Being afraid or uncertain about doing something new or unfamiliar is normal.
- Stand your ground with yourself or others. Not all harmful dominance comes from outside sources. Often it’s something we impose on ourselves.
Who is the leader within you? Embrace the positive side of dominance and experience how empowering your life can be!