I am so happy to introduce Heather McCurdy from the delightful Rock Stew (link to the blog and her most charming story!) She is here to chime in on our topic this week with a look at the other side of flexibility. You know, the one so easy to ignore yet gives us exactly what we need; a balanced approach to flexibility!
Sometimes, being too flexible causes problems
In my younger days, I was the most flexible person in the world! I loved making people smile so I bent to the will of others. Sometimes, it was to assure a peaceful balance and other times I felt joy knowing I was the reason for someone else’s happiness. I took extra projects at work and I was the one willing to change plans in a social situation. As I matured, I started to see how my flexibility was taken advantage of. Others were happy, but I was doing all the work. I was causing ill will among friends by saying yes to everything; running from event to event. My flexibility became a problem.
Overcorrecting your flaws is problematic too
For a long time, I couldn’t understand why, “being true to myself” caused so many problems. I went from being confused to being angry at how people treated me. I overcorrected. I said no to projects and I turned down friends. I said no even if I wanted to say yes. At first, it felt awkward, like it went against everything that was me. Then, it felt good. I liked being selfish. Within a short time, bosses and coworkers were confused by my new attitude. Saying no didn’t change the fact that I was working 70 hours a week. Friends were hurt that I didn’t want to spend time with them and they stopped inviting me to cool events.
Finding balance leads to other positive traits
Around this time, a friend introduced me to Bikram Hot Yoga. In a 102 degree room, you learn to move into new depths while keeping your breath and mind calm. I loved the heat, living in Seattle I never felt warm enough during the rainy winter. As a beginner, I thought flexibility was simply stretching a muscle, but what I learned is that in order for one muscle to be flexible, the opposite muscle must contract. In the Half Moon pose, one leans to the side and half the upper body is being stretched. At the same time you consciously contract the muscle on the other side.
I began to see a balance in my yoga practice flow into my everyday life. I played around with being flexible at work and managing my social events while still preserving my self-interests. It’s not that I had never heard of teamwork before, it’s that I was be able to give my time and energy without a knee jerk reaction that ended with an aftertaste of regret in giving too much or not enough. I learned that saying no isn’t a bad thing; it’s simply another way to say yes to myself. The funny thing is, by building a strong base of flexibility, I began to trust myself more. I found some much needed self-worth.
Maintenance is key to success
Lately, my journey is balancing my life with set boundaries while at the same time honoring facets of my personality that loves to help people. These days, I’m a SAHM and I have no problem setting boundaries for my husband and Annabelle, who is 14 months old now. It’s not always easy, there are days when I’m tired and let things go (I’d like to call that being ‘flexible’ wink wink). There are days when I don’t fight for my work out night off because the hubby is tired from a long day at the office and he needs a break. There are days when I know I am giving too much in a friendship, but I understand she’s going through a hard time in life and will be back to normal soon. There are days when I “hibernate” and disappear into my home life. The difference is, these days, I get to make that choice. These days, I have more flexibility because I’m aware of what I can and cannot do. I’ve learned that both flexibility and contracting are key to the balance that I have.
Heather McCurdy is a former business analyst turned Stay At Home Mom. She has a fondness for her family, chasing the baby around the living room, her Chihuahua rescue dog, being green, Bikram Hot Yoga, and cooking & crafting side when she’s not writing for her blog www.RockStew.com.