Total self-acceptance

Total self-acceptance

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?

peace dog heart glassesThe 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.

Choosing acceptance

Radical forgiveness

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.

hugging selfRadical 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

The art of being real

Hidden resistance  

Being with what is 

So often we want to feel, do or be something different than we are.  This is especially true when we don’t like what we are feeling, doing or being.  This is subtle and goes undetected by most.  It gets masked by saying things like “I’m feeling stressed” or by rushing through your day to get your “to-do” list done, or wanting to get rid of things that you don’t like the sensation of in your body.

42260416 - resistance. dirty male clenched fistNow there is nothing wrong with change and wanting to feel better.  Change is healthy.  It is the resistance we subtly create to where we are at that is unhealthy and what INHIBITS our ability to create the change we desire.  This seems contradictory to most everyone’s way of thinking, which is the paradox.  Only through being with can you truly move through.

Say for example you wake up one morning and just feel shitty.  You may feel frustrated, irritated, annoyed, in physical pain, stiff, tired, anxious, etc. and clearly you don’t want to feel this way.  So you may try to flat out ignore how you’re feeling or distract yourself, look for something to numb or dampen how you feel, you may tell yourself that you actually feel different with an affirmation, you may normalize how you feel and say “its fine or its ok”, you may put yourself in the mindset of “I just have to get through this day”, or you may go into anger or rage about how you feel.  These are all ok responses but none of them create any presence or acknowledgment with where you are at.  They are all strategies to avoid, ignore, jump over or dismiss the truth.

Unshakeable presence

The art of being real

You will be able to create some change through shifting your focus on what you want without really addressing where you are first, but your shift will not be sustainable.  You may successfully feel amazing some of the time, but the rest of  the time you are “checked out” and avoiding without being able to reset yourself and feeling powerless (consciously or unconsciously) over your state, whether physical, emotional, or mental in nature.  This is because you have not learned the art of being real.

So how do you get more real with yourself?  Notice for a moment your resistance to feeling certain things.  Maybe its low energy, or pain, anxiety, sadness, negativism, loneliness or failure.  This can be very subtle and tricky to see as there are often “superficial” feelings and stories sitting on top of what you are really feeling.  If you have trouble discovering notice what you are uncomfortable seeing other people express or what feels unacceptable to you.  That which does not have space (acceptance) gets repressed, hidden and stored in your body to later be revealed as sensations you don’t want, and the cycle continues, until you realize that even the “lower” states are divinely orchestrated.

If you are like me you may like to intentionally set each morning how you want to feel and show up.  Maybe today you want to have high energy, be positive and feel joyful (and that is great), but instead you wake up feeling like the example above (shitty).  As you try and focus more and more on feeling amazing (instead of what you are actually feeling) notice the tension that arises in your body.  The gap between where you are and where you want to be gets bigger and bigger and that creates a lot of tension.  There will also be an underlying feeling of trying to maintain this state of being that you want to be in rather than just being this state of being, which feels effortful instead of easeful.  What is required in this moment is to stop and get real with yourself.  Feel what you are feeling instead of what you want to be feeling.  When you do this notice what happens to the tension in your body.  If you’re being honest the tension will decrease and you will become clearer.  If instead you continue to resist and try to feel something else other than what you truly feel the tension will escalate and mental clarity diminish.

Through learning the art of being real you learn how to create change through acceptance instead of resistance and force.  Ironically, and again paradoxically, one of the reasons that people avoid feeling what they’re feeling (often unconsciously) is that when they do then something must change.  The purpose of emotions is to create energy for change.  Instead of  just thinking about the change you want to create, you will have to create it.

SRI stage 2

SRI Stage 2

Somato-Respiratory Integration helps you become aware, acknowledge and accept where you are at in any given moment.  Through this you become unshakably present, meaning that no matter what you are feeling, doing or being, you have the capacity to be fully with your experience and embody the art of being real.  When you are authentically you, life and action flows effortlessly and you are in ultimate service with all.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado