Are You Flexible?

Our Guest Blogger -  Deanna Heiliger is a teacher and an inspirational writer and speaker. She is happily married, raising four sweet daughters. For encouragement with and support in becoming a "Better You” visit her weekly blog: and visit her fan page on Facebook for a daily dose of positive goodness:
To be flexible means that our body is limber, pliable, and fluid…it also means that our mind is able to bend and to see another’s point of view…to be able to put ourselves in someone’s shoes…to feel empathetic, compassion, non-stringent and to be able to “Go with the flow”.
The other day I took an aerobics class at the gym to which I belong. I could tell there were many ladies who frequented this particular class, but this was my first time attending. To everyone’s astonishment, except mine, the regular instructor was not there.
(GASP) There was a substitute!
As we were guiding our bodies in an attempt to become more flexible, I could see and hear whispers of disappointment about the way the instructor was teaching the class. She obviously was not doing the same quality job that the regular gal does. None the less, I was witness to the bodies in the room warming up and becoming more flexible, while simultaneously, their minds were doing just the opposite.  
As I was getting my sweat on, I noticed that all the other women were also sweating and huffing and puffing. Naturally, I thought, “OK, everyone has settled down and now they can focus on getting a great workout.” Well, to my surprise, about halfway through the hour, a woman from the back row slithered up to the instructor mid routine and gave her a piece of her mind!
I watched this woman rip into the substitute instructor pretty good, telling her that this class of ladies all expects a good workout and that she needs to step it up! I watched the facial expressions that were exchanged, and I also felt a pang of compassion for the instructor. I could not imagine being in her shoes, having to teach for another half hour, after getting publically berated!
I substitute teach at my two youngest daughter’s elementary school. I imagined how I would feel if I were teaching a class and a parent came up to me, yelling that my teaching style is not the same as the regular teacher. My heart hurt for this aerobics instructor. I found myself smiling and nodding more at her for the remainder of the class. Nobody should have to endure that. She was filling in for someone else and doing the best she could.
I thought that the lady from the back row
could have handled this situation in so many more healthy ways:

She could have just stepped up her own moves to get a better workout.
She could have approached the instructor after class.
She could have talked with the staff after class.
She could have been flexible and embraced the different teaching style.
She could have opened her mind and learned some new moves.
She could have ignored it and given some grace.
She actually could have done many, many other things instead of what she did. She not only made the instructor feel crummy, she made herself look like less of a person. Have you ever seen someone act like this? How did it make you feel about that person? Have you ever been the one to step out of line and do or say something that could or should have been kept to yourself? I know I have been on both ends of that spectrum. Neither end feels very good.
When we find ourselves in a situation like this, we have many choices as to what actions we want to take. We can either be flexible or stringent. Which will you choose? 

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  1. I think people should be flexible when there is a substitute. Things happen that are beyond our control and other's may have to fill in the gaps. The substitute instructor had no idea how the other person taught the class or what level she was teaching. I would have enjoyed my workout or found something else to do at the gym.

  2. This is a very good article and makes you stop and think...which is a good thing!

  3. Good point! I'd like to say that I'm flexible both mentally and physically, but it would be a lie!! I'm not that sporty lately :P
    Anyway I always try to be mentally flexible and understand and praise people's efforts.

  4. SO important for quality of life as we age to get good exercise and increase flexibility!

  5. my mind is body not so much ;(

  6. Great points! Unfortunately substitutes do not get the respect they deserve. At times i am flexible, sometimes i just can't bend!

  7. I am flexible mentally but physically a little tight, good article i enjoyed reading.

  8. Unfortunately I see this behavior frequently. People are pretty self-oriented these days. Customer service is becoming more difficult all the time.

  9. I read that rich people never, ever complain. That tells me which category the woman from the back of the room belongs to and I don't think it's the rich one.

  10. Obviously, that lady has severe issues and emotional struggles. You did the right thing trying to encourage the instructor. People really are something! Don Purdum

  11. I try to be flexible (mentally) but as I'm getting older I'm becoming less and less flexible. That's happening to my dad, too.

  12. yes, I agree with you. We can't be so straight in our own mind without looking at the situation. Being flexible for some situations that need any tolerance is the good way

    Alikekid Sanrisk

  13. You make a great point, people need to have a little compassion.

  14. Being flexible is what make things work together.

    It's a life lesson.

  15. A lot of times people react in an inappropriate way rather than thinking first. I don't know anyone who hasn't said something and wished they could take it back. That's why it's important to take a breath and relax before saying something you might regret later.

  16. I think people should try to see the best in everything and maybe learn something new from the substitute that they would not learn in their regular class:)


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