Jill in the water with a horse, face to face

“Never compare your insides with someone else’s outsides.” 

I don’t know where I first heard this quote, but it was long before social media began and long after I had become the steward of my soul’s journey.

The first time I read it, it literally stopped me in my tracks.  Since then, I return to it often, especially when I find myself caught in a place of personal judgment or comparison thinking.

Isn’t it interesting how easy it can be to be influenced by external appearances and to not realize there is more going on than meets the eye?

I am powerfully reminded of this every time a public figure commits suicide, such as Robin Williams, Naomi Judd, and Stephen Twitch Boss, just to name a few. It’s so shocking when we realize that amidst their fame and success, they had struggles, too.

We can never assume that someone’s outside reality reflects what is truly going on inside of them. However, as humans we rely heavily on our visual senses. In the busyness of life, we forget to look closer and go deeper. Thus, we get caught up in, and sometimes lost in, images and facades.

As well, in order to fit in, most humans become highly adept at pretending, conforming, and hiding flaws. Unfortunately, by hiding our full selves, it minimizes our gifts and talents and keeps us distracted from living our most authentic path.

Life is a paradigm of duality:

  • Inside and outside
  • Yin and yang
  • Light and darkness

We can’t have one without the other; each exists by the very nature of the other. And interestingly, one’s level of joy is typically equal and opposite to the level of one’s suffering.  This goes hand in hand with the fact that we can’t experience ‘wins’ without having any ‘losses’ along the way.

Ask a top athlete, Nobel prize winner, or millionaire if they had any challenges, setbacks, or self doubt along the way. They will say they had plenty!

What if instead of deflecting and projecting onto others, we spent more time reflecting on and introspecting our own internal lives?

My years of working closely with horses has taught me that they are masters at ignoring what humans are showing on the outside and simply responding to what’s going on inside. To find a true connection with a horse, your outward actions and image need to match your inside reality. Congruency is equal to authenticity, and they can sense it.

This horse wisdom has encouraged me to keep developing the freedom, confidence, and transparency to reflect on the outside the truth of who I am inwardly at any given moment.

The better I become at doing that, the healthier I feel, the easier my life gets, and the deeper my connections with other humans and horses grow.

If I have learned anything over my half century plus years on Earth, it is that we all need connection: a safe, reliable, and congruent place where we can sit with our own thoughts and listen to the stories and wisdom of those who have walked a similar path and come out the other side.

Sometimes it takes a while for people to ‘warm up’ and to expose what’s really going on for them. Once we feel safe, and find the courage to share our own struggles, we’ll be amazed by the impact our story can have on someone else. Even a brief, off-the-cuff remark can make a profound difference.

Whether that circle of trust is with our family of origin or a chosen family that we have sought out, among a herd of horses, or in a room full of strangers coming together for a common interest, we all need to find belonging.  This was a motivating factor behind my hosting a Women’s Wellness Circle on my horse farm in the London, Ontario, area.

I was motivated to write about this topic thanks to a young woman who started attending our Circle this past summer.  She always showed up with a smile on her face, eager to participate, and so grateful for each event.  Then I came to learn that she struggles with paralyzing anxiety and lacks any support or resources.  This makes her life very challenging.  I had no clue.  She hid it well.

Finally, she came to a point where she could reach out to me and speak her truth.  I am so grateful. I was able to connect her with resources to ease her burden a bit and hopefully impact a positive shift in her life’s trajectory.

It’s okay if you are struggling.  It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to hold it all inside until you find your safe place to share.  Just keep showing up, trying, reaching out, even if you never say a word.  No matter what’s going on in your life, I see you.  And when you’re ready, bring your inside, out.


Circles of Authenticity,

Tricia Rudy


Women’s Wellness Circle Host, London ON area

Certified FEEL Facilitator


1 reply
  1. Linda Smibert
    Linda Smibert says:

    Thankful for people who hold safe space for anyone who shows up…for anyone who otherwise would not take that risk.
    When we discover that genuine spark within us we also have the power to unleash it into the lives of each person we meet….and that…is where the magic begins. As you go about your day and tasks let your inner spark ignite all that you do….and everyone you meet….dont doubt the power of your essence.


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