Mind Your Manners

Do you ever agree to just agree even though you don’t want to? 

On a flight back from summer vacation  last year, I was so annoyed by this guy who wouldn’t agree to switch seats with us so my whole family could be seated together. “How rude and inconsiderate! This guy must not have kids and doesn’t know what its like to be separated…. Either that or he is just very selfish and wanted that aisle seat to himself.” I thought and I judged. 

Funny thing happened this morning as I board my flight to the Midwest. Full plane. The flight attendant walks over with an older man trailing behind her on his cane. He was suppose to sit next to me in the middle seat. “Crap!” I thought, “he’s gonna want me to move to the middle.” He goes to the restroom before sitting down. Comes back. taps me on the shoulder and points me to the middle. It’s apparent his English wasn’t well. I look at him like, “I don’t really wanna.” He lifts his cane as if to shoo me towards the middle and mumbles something in Indian. I look at him and sigh. The thought of that rude guy last summer jogs my memory and as I don’t want to appear rude, I reach for my bag and begin to scoot over. The flight attendant walks over and asks if I would switch with his wife instead. Apparently they were separated. “Gladly!” I say. It is an aisle seat. It worked out for all of us.

Better get reading and look busy before I get suckered into moving again. I’m reading a book for advanced training titled “I Need Your Love, Is That True?” by Byron Katie. The page I left off on started like this:

“Minding Your Manners… Do you find yourself saying yes when you really mean no? Are you really sure it’s ok? ‘oh yes, no problem, I’ll sit in the backseat with your three wet golden retrievers.’ When you start noticing it, you’ll find that polite behavior is full of approval seeking disguised as consideration.” (pg. 40)

Busted!  I really didn’t want to move to the middle but I really didn’t want people to judge me. This left me feeling little and disappointed. I couldn’t even stand up for myself. Gave my power away.  Cared more about what the people around me were going to think of me  than to be true to myself. Then I thought about the rude guy last summer again and felt inspired by him instead of annoyed by his inconsiderate ways. 

I wonder how many students feel like saying “no! I don’t wanna move my mat” when I ask them to make room for more students. Some students are annoyed for sure but they don’t say anything because it’s considered rude. If you’re one of these people, how does it make you feel? How does it effect your practice?

How many times do we give our power away because it’s considered polite? How many times do we agree because we want to please others hoping that they will approve of us? How many times do we do things we don’t want to impress others?

This week, I’ll be in training and will aim to blog about my experience because I’m so excited to bring to light these little behaviors I do…things that take me out of being authentic, thoughts that prevent me from connecting with people, behaviors that consume so much energy but doesn’t contribute to joy… All of which makes me a less effective teacher. 

8 thoughts on “Mind Your Manners

  1. The moving mats thing annoys me when people comes to class late, and it seems we can’t get our concentration started because we constantly have to move to accomodate the new people. Then again, I am guilty of being late to yoga class a few times myself… some food for thought.

  2. i understand. my path has been such that early on, i was often so agreeable i wound up having nothing left for myself. with time, practice, and reflection, i’ve gotten much better at walking that fine line between honest, natural generosity and taking care of the self. 😉

  3. powerful post nikki – “polite behavior is full of approval seeking disguised as consideration”

    not always true, but certainly rang an alarm bell for myself as well

    bring us back a bounty of blog from your training 😉

  4. I didn’t take it that way (in response to the first comment). I think being kind to your fellow human beings is a positive thing, but I think sometimes we acquiesce to things and don’t feel good about it. We say yes when we don’t want to, usually for approval. I think there has to be a way to say yes when we should without feeling bad about it and no when we can in a kind and authentic way. Just a thought….

    I connected with your post!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know 🙂 It doesn’t seem like being kind to your fellow human beings is giving away your power. Is that what you’re saying?

    • Kat says:

      I would agree. What about non-attachment? Am I so attached to my spot that I won’t relinquish it to make someone else’s life easier or their day better? If so, what do I gain?

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