04 Jun Don’t Shoot the Messenger
I was crying tears of joy when I pulled my brand new yoga mat out of its packaging. I had just turned 23 and Brad gifted me a Venice Vita Cadillac Yoga Mat. I had learned about this majestic mat from my yoga teacher a year prior at my Yoga Teacher Training. “The bottom layer is a skid-proof EVA material that stabilizes the mat and prevents slipping/sliding on studio floors. The innovative middle layer is 1/2″ memory foam, and the top layer is a textured, water-resistant neoprene that stabilizes hands and feet under the sweatiest of circumstances.”* The mat had earned its name, it was the Mack Daddy of mats. It was doubly perfect for a yogini such as myself who had surgery on both her knees. I was so proud of my mat, I took it everywhere showing it off like a peacock strutting its stuff.
On my way to try out a new studio I strapped my prized possession on my back and was ready to go. I arrived at the studio, and as I signed in I noticed the yoga teacher starring at my yoga mat. I figured she was green with envy, until she strutted over and told me I needed to use a “real” yoga mat for her class. I insecurely explained that it WAS a real mat, even pointing at the tag that read “Vernice Vita yoga mat”. She insisted that there was no way for me to properly ground down or feel the floor with my (what she had deemed) “Pilates” mat. I told her that I needed to protect my knees. She kept insisting I put my mat down and use one of hers. I refused and uncomfortably took my place in class.
For most people that would have been end of story. Done.
However, I am cut from a very sensitive cloth. Everything sticks with me and affects me to my core.
I no longer showed my mat off when I went to different studios; I kept to myself about it, sometimes even opting to not bring it to class out of embarrassment.
For the past two years, I have been sneaking around with my “once prized” yoga mat as if it was contraband. Questioning my knowledge and ability as a yoga teacher, I shrunk back.
Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about?
Maybe she’s right.
After spending a lot of time feeling fearful, wrong, not good enough, and being angry with that yoga teacher I finally accepted to look at the situation deeper. I reminded myself that she was just a messenger, don’t shoot the messenger. I chose to learn from the lesson instead of continuing to allow it to hold me back. It did not serve me to chastise or make a villain out of the woman who disapproved of my yoga mat. Stepping back and bringing awareness to the real source of my anger was necessary. When I made this choice the resentful fog was lifted from my eyes.
In reality, I was frustrated with my lack of confidence. If I valued myself enough her strong opinion would not have rattled me the way it did. I directly linked her objection to my choice in yoga mat to my worth as a yoga teacher. The truth is it doesn’t matter if a single person on this earth agreed with my choice in yoga mat because I love it. I need to value MY choice over anyone else’s. I need to love myself enough to stand confidently in my beliefs. If you truly appreciate and respect yourself no one can make you feel small.
I want to thank that yoga teacher for her rejection because it pushed me to love myself deeper. She served as a messenger pulling back the curtain to show me a place where I needed to grow. I have had many people in my life who have made me feel “small”, but in reality, most of them were shining a light on the fact that I did not think much of myself. Experiences and situations like these will continuously be thrust into our lives as a part of our self-growth and our spiritual journey. All you can do is continue to look for the lessons, work on how you respond to each situation instead of reacting, and remember to not shoot the messenger.