Enthusiastically, I went to a new exercise class at my gym last week, but when I entered, there was only one other student and no teacher. I went to the front desk to find out if the class was meeting, or if I’d somehow mixed up the time. The man at the desk said: “As far as I know, it’s happening, the teacher is probably just running late.”
I wasn’t bothered by the tardiness of the teacher, that can happen for all kinds of legitimate reasons. My bigger concern was that, with only two students present, the survival of the class I was so looking forward to was in question.
When I got back to the room, I noticed my lone classmate was steaming with anger. She told me that she’d driven from another town to attend the class and was furious that nobody had informed her what was going on. I asked why she travels so far to attend this small, little gym. She said that she works close by and it’s actually very convenient for her.
Just then the man from the desk came into the room to report that some equipment required for the class hadn’t yet arrived and the class had been cancelled for the whole first week.
Upon hearing this, my classmate gave the desk person a piece of her mind, assigning him complete blame for the situation. When he looked at me helplessly, I smiled as if to say ‘Don’t take it personally, it’s not your fault.’
After he walked out the lady started ranting to me about her frustration. “They should have told us, this is really rude and wrong! I’m going to make sure they get some feedback on this.”
I was a little surprised at her intense reaction, so I shrugged my shoulders and said: “Maybe there’s something we don’t know.” What I really wanted to say was, “Stop being so mean to yourself,” but I realized that the way she treats herself isn’t my business, so I kept silent.
As I walked back home, I thought about what I’d do with this extra hour I now had. I decided to get an early start on the day’s work. When I opened my computer, I saw that I needed to clean out my cluttered email inbox. As I began deleting old messages, I came upon an email sent by the gym a few days earlier informing me that the start date of the class would be delayed by a week because some crucial equipment hadn’t yet arrived!
I was relieved. Ahh, I felt, that’s why only one other person showed up for the class! Evidently we were the only two who hadn’t read our emails carefully enough. I was happy at the thought that there would probably be more students when the class actually did start and thankful that I hadn’t unnecessarily stressed myself out by getting angry at someone else over information that I had failed to see.
Emotions like anger and frustration put stress on the body and can even contribute to making us sick. It’s vitally important to learn how to keep an open and curious mind especially when things don’t go the way we think they should. Since we can’t really know how and why things are happening, it pays not to get too bent out of shape.
The situation worked out well for me, after all. I got in an extra hour of writing time so I could…
Write what you’re reading now.