We are entering the season of self-reflection culminating in the vow and resolution-making of the New Year’s. Our resolutions are well intentioned and full of energy, but often fail or even backfire. Let’s look at this paradox in more detail.
You identify something not working in your life, and associate certain habits with this negative pattern. You make a conscious goal to rid your life of these patterns. Yet the very act of identifying something to change, is laced with antagonism, however slight, to the present moment. What may look as a promising self-help change, can sometimes actually take us further away from ourselves, perpetuating deeper, unhealed wounds and harmful relationship with ourselves.
The traditional self-help, can-do attitude, usually seen as healthy, can sometimes be a trap, where happiness is always delayed until some future date when the self is up-to-par. Even more holistic and compassionate goals can hold secret daggers under their seemingly brave and helpful surface.
“I’ll be happy when I’m skinny.”
“I’ll be happy when others stop being so cruel.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m successful, when I stop being anxious, when I finally figure out my purpose, when I make enough money, when I’m giving, when I’m the perfect mother, etc.
By always looking outside the present moment for happiness, we sabotage the work that needs to be done here, now. We often sabotage our ability to even, ever be in our own skin. We take on the persona of a stickler parent, cold and critical, always pushing for achievement. And by “achievement” we mean love. 🙁
The Trap of Chronic Resistance
In doing so, one must take caution to not reside in chronic resistance. In this way, we might think we can “manifest” the self we want by pretending. Pretending to be together, happy, content, without compulsive desires that sabotage our true happiness and equanimity. The pretending is a show to convince ourselves, and it can take us a certain distance through sheer will.
But this show requires constant effort. It is exhausting, and puts off happiness until a later date.
In a deeper way, it is also built on a faulty core belief: that if you take charge, that if you exhibit control, make wholesome choices happiness will find you. As most adults know full well, life throws curve balls of all kinds and sizes. While we can make positive change, in the most ultimate way we have NO control, and we are at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of creation. Doesn’t it feel good to admit that? Loosen that clenched fist of control. Breathe. Ah! Doesn’t that feel good to let go a little?
Well, What DO we do Instead?
How then, do we make changes in our lives while also accepting ourselves? It seems a paradox. By making positive changes, we don’t want to be at odds with the present reality of our lives. This situation (of antagonism to the present) can make us feel weak and brittle, always looking out into the future, instead of embracing what makes us feel strong, happy, free now.
Any antagonism (even subtle) or resistance is unnecessary and actually makes our job harder. It is why so many diets fail, so many attempts to make positive change fail. Simply changing the behavior, doesn’t address the WHY. This method simply treats the inner self as a robot that needs reprograming. The underlying emotional, spiritual, or even intellectual core-self must be seen, heard, experienced, and accepted first. Most methods skip the healing process of accepting the self, and reality, as is.
There is a deep core in most of us that seeks to be embraced as is. Ironically, the soft, yielding, acceptance of self makes CHANGE easier, not harder. People who love themselves radically, unconditionally, joyfully, find change easy (or easier).
I find in my practice that most people feel deep release around the word: Allow.
Now, the paradox is, of course, that we CAN control aspects of our lives. However, our good actions and intentions are more likely to yield results that are helpful for ourselves and others, and we are more likely to find sustainable happiness when it comes from stepping into what really here, now.
One of the most important steps to self-love is to begin making time each day for spiritual practice. In meditation or reflection, we can begin noticing and honoring our feelings. We can cultivate happiness in simply sitting, in our one precious life, a gift, experienced for many, in the breath.
At SpiritQuest we have many sessions centering on Loving yourself, Mindfulness, learning to embody the Present, connecting Self to Spirit. Check out our custom, private retreats. You can request self-love healing sessions be added or incorporated into any retreat.
Call 928-282-2509 to talk with a SpiritQuest representative today!