64: Middle School Mentality

64: Middle School Mentality

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Middle School Mentality

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are.

~Author Unknown

“If you put your yoga mat too close to mine, we won’t have room for poses with outstretched arms,” I said with a smile to the redhead in Spandex who was crowding my space.

“We can stagger our positions,” she said with an icy stare as she plopped down with determination.

“This woman has no yoga manners,” I said to myself. “I don’t like her.”

Later in the week, I was first to enter class, and like my yoga friends, I hurried to claim my favorite place in the room. As I prepared to lower my mat, the redhead appeared, unfurled her mat, and bumped me from my spot. I moved away, feeling a tightening in my stomach that didn’t come from strengthening my core. After that, I was uptight around her. We avoided eye contact. My hostile attitude reminded me of my middle school mentality, many years ago, when I disliked a mean girl who bullied me.

“I can’t stand this tension. I have to do something,” I vowed.

One day, the scowling redhead arrived and unrolled her mat too close to mine. She sat and stared ahead, her mouth turned down.

“It’s time,” I told myself. “Do it now.”

“Hi, I’m Miriam,” I said.

She turned to me… and broke into a beautiful smile. Extending her hand she said, “I’m Rachel. Pleased to meet you.”

We chatted like old friends, and adjusted our mats so there was room for Sun Salutations. The knot in my stomach disappeared. I liked her.

I wish I had approached Rachel earlier. She no longer competes for my space when she arrives. Instead, she greets me with a smile, reaches for my hand, and asks how I am doing. I return her warm responses, and wonder if perhaps she felt I was the one who was unfriendly and competitive.

With the tension behind us, Rachel and I are friends.

I realize yoga class is not the place to start off on the wrong foot… with a middle school mentality. Namaste.

~Miriam Hill

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