Why resistance wins instead
We all know the importance of accepting ourselves just as we are. All of the self-help, personal growth and improvement books, workshops and programs keep telling us just how essential self-acceptance is for our evolution. So why is it that it is so hard? Why do we continue to resist ourselves even when we know it will not bring us to the place we want to be inside of ourselves?
The answer may surprise you; it is because we prefer feeling right more than self-acceptance. Our preference for being right, justified and “legit” is so strong that we would rather suffer, resist, judge and hate, than accept. And even though this puts us in a miserable underlying state of being (which we often mask with “an everything is fine” disguise that fools even us), it is better than being wrong.
So why do we hate feeling wrong so much? Why do we create all of this resistance to it that we even allow it to destroy relationships with ourselves and others? We live largely in a culture of achievement and perceived perfection. Even if we are rebellious and go against the cultural norms they still influence us whether we choose to admit it or not. People are generally not out there flaunting or bragging about their imperfections. Why? Because they fear that they won’t be accepted by others if they do. If others see them for who they are, imperfections and all, then they won’t be loved. Here is the crux of wounding in our culture. So you seee there is big value and social need on being right, because to be wrong threatens us to be a true outcast when one of our most innate drives is to be included and part of community.
The most important and really only step in choosing acceptance is developing radical forgiveness. Now what I am about to talk about I don’t recommend doing unless it feels right for you. There are times to be angry, judgmental and in suffering. There are lessons our souls learn through those states and experiences as well. However if you have a perpetual pattern of being hard on yourself unnecessarily, judgmental of yourself or others, find it hard to be around people with opinions other than your own, retreat from any kind of conflict because it makes you uncomfortable, or feel not seen or heard AND you’re ready to show up differently with all of it, then you may want to consider what I am about to say.
Radical forgiveness essentially means that you accept everything. Even the things that people have “done to you” that have felt abusive, hurtful and down right unforgivable or unacceptable. This also includes everything you have ever done or not done. What this means is that, say you said something that you felt was really hurtful to another person, you must accept that you did it and not judge yourself for it. Or say you were really harsh to your body either through physical exercise, strict dieting, compulsive behaviors or mean thoughts about yourself that you aren’t good enough, that must be accepted too. Or maybe someone did something to you that felt violating or abusive, even that to must be accepted. This does not mean that you don’t have discernment for what is right/wrong for you or that you are left powerless, instead it means you accept what is as it is and from here you find your true power.
Now this is not easy. We must go through layers of resistance in the form of feelings, stories, and beliefs that we had previously held as wrong and not acceptable; accepting things, including ourselves, that feel wrong and not ok. This however is the path towards self-acceptance. When you develop self-acceptance you are seen, heard, and loved regardless if anyone sees, hears or loves you. It is total liberation that than allows you to deeply love others and to consciously and deliberately choose your feelings, thoughts, beliefs and how you want to show up in any given moment.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado