One of my all-time favorite quotes is that one that goes, “what you resist persists, what you embrace dissolves.” I’m not sure who exactly said it because there have been many different versions, but the general idea behind it is that whatever we resist, it will continue happening, perhaps even grow stronger, however if we begin to accept it, or embrace it, then it will finally begin to subside and we can move forward with our journey.This idea helped me a lot especially when I was going through my struggle with anxiety and more recently, all of the change that has been happening in my life. I remember during my “breakdown” my mom kept telling me that the sooner I can begin to accept what had happened and what was happening, the faster I would get through it and begin to move upward with my progression. I remember thinking, “how could I possibly just accept this?” I was at such a terrible, hopeless point in my life that all I wanted to do was resist what was happening and pretend that it wasn’t happening. That I would just wake up tomorrow and be normal again. Or I took the other route and tried everything possible to hurry up the process towards normalcy. Both were acts of resistance.
I remember finally getting to the point where I knew all my efforts were just being wasted and I was becoming so tired of trying to change, when in reality, change would only come if I was able to let go and accept what was happening. So I did. I began to accept my situation. I began to accept where my body and mind currently were at. I began to accept the wide range of emotions I was feeling. I began telling myself that everything was just temporary, and that if I could accept the things I was feeling, they would eventually pass.
Mantras really began to help with this process. I would practice self-love and compassion, telling myself that “I can let my body do it’s thing,” or that “I am ok with the way I am right now.” Slowly, I began to resist less, and accept more, and that’s when things finally began to change.
I began seeing how instead of being hard on myself for not making enough progress or doing something perfectly, I would instead show myself kindness by saying it was ok that I didn’t complete my goal, but at least I got a little closer to it than I did yesterday. When we practice acceptance instead of resistance, we will soon find that we become more motivated to make progress towards our goals, rather than if we constantly are hard on ourselves. Striving for perfection will only cause us to feel more like failures because we are creating an impossible expectation upon ourselves, than if we did something imperfectly and accepted it with compassion instead.
I began to do things imperfectly. Sure, they weren’t giant leaps of progress to anyone else’s standards, but to me they became success and it motivated me to become better each day. I began to see bigger change and also feel less stress because that weight and pressure of being perfect or doing something quickly began to release.
I’ve been using this practice in my daily life now. Yes, it helped me greatly during my time of recovery, but now it is helping me even greater in other aspects of my life. For example, all the changes I’ve gone through with my break up and finding a new home and creating a new life. At first, I began to feel that familiar stress of needing certainty and having everything figured out and on schedule. I wanted things to be ok again and have everything back in its place. I didn’t want to go through the difficulty of change, I just wanted it to happen without any of the tough stuff that was to come. But then I began to practice acceptance. I began to accept that this was my situation and that it would take time to start over, but it was ok because it was just temporary and things would get better soon.
I made more progress that way rather than when I refused to let go of what was happening. I began to accept that I was now single after being in a relationship for many years and that there were going to be emotions of loneliness, sadness, anger, or whatever else to come. I began to accept that it was going to be a new journey trying to figure out who I was on my own and learning how to be fully dependent on myself would become a new skill that I had to acquire. I began to accept that I would live somewhere new, meet new friends, deal with old friends, have to answer hard questions, and learn new traditions and routines. But I also learned to accept that this was going to be a difficult journey and that there would be set backs and hard days, but that also there would be giant leaps of progress and discovery and that was the most exciting part of the journey.
And here I am now. Still learning every single day. Trying to do better than I was the day before and that’s all we can really ask of ourselves anyway. But the more we accept our journeys and where we are currently, the more positive change we can bring into our lives. We don’t want to live in a place of resistance where we are harboring feelings of stuck emotions. Learn to release all within you. Release the fear, the anxiety, the sadness, the anger. Release it all out into the world and embrace the unknown adventures that are bound to come into your new life. I promise, in one way or another, it will be ok.
I close today’s post with another one of my favorite quotes that always remind me to keep going especially whenever I feel like I can’t possibly go any further and that is this: