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Balance in Flexibility

Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection


There is a fine line in life between being too flexible and being too rigid.

When we are too rigid, we make life hard for ourselves and create relationship issues, conflict and struggle. Conversely, if we are too flexible, we get pushed around and don’t have strong boundaries. This too causes challenge and conflict and possibly resentment.

So, how do we find the fine balance and retain our autonomy, without being unbending?

Here are 6 suggestions that may help…

1. Be willing to be wrong. Whatever you think and are certain about will be wrong in certain circumstances. You can test this and see if you agree. Find something you are dogmatic about and ask yourself in which circumstances this would not be true. It is always valuable to keep an open mind to the possibility that what you think may not be right, however certain you feel about it.

2. Listen to other perspectives. Open your curiosity and truly hear other people’s ideas and perspectives. Much of what we are certain about is based on what we were taught as a child and if we had been taught something different, we would have other ideas. Just think about it, in Germany hairy under arms in women is the norm. For most of us South Africans, hairy underarms on a woman is unattractive. It is based on what our brains have been taught to expect to see.

3. When we are rigid in our thoughts we will have a more rigid stance in our bodies. We will also have a strong physical response, not a relaxed one. Think of the hairy underarms if they offend you and notice the response in your face and body as you think of them. You may notice a subtle withdrawal in your body.

4. When we are too flexible in our thoughts and behaviours, our bodies will also feel uncomfortable. There will be an uncentredness and an uncomfortable feeling that will alert you to your lack of assertiveness.

5. Listening to your own thoughts and ideas as if you were an outsider is very useful. Sometimes writing the idea down helps, then you can observe it, or speak it aloud and hear how it sounds. You can truly be an objective listener to yourself this way. You may be surprised to find you are able to find the balance between flexibility and rigidity much more easily this way.

6. Just by being aware that balance is worth seeking, you will have the potential to find it even if only at times.

I went for a walk in Pretoria a while ago and was watching some of the extremely high trees and marvelling at the incredible balance they demonstrate as they blow in the wind and yet retain their balanced uprightness year in and year out. I tried to embody this perfect balance that I observed in these beautiful trees in myself and that is what inspired this blog. The resilience and effortless longevity and grace they demonstrated is exquisite.

What would it be like in your body and your life if you had this same balance?


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