What You Resist Persists
It’s no secret that life throws us all curveballs. Sometimes they’re small things – traffic that makes us run late, or the grocery store not having the crucial ingredient for the dinner you planned. Other times they’re whoppers – loss of a job, the end of a relationship, the death of someone close.
It’s easy to get caught into the thought pattern of “Why me?!” when we’re struck with events that force us to change the paths of our lives, whether those events are little bumps in the road or huge tidal waves that wash out the trail altogether. We might ask ourselves questions like:
What did I do to deserve this?
Aren’t I a good person?
Why is life so unfair to me?
The answer to all these questions is simple, yet seemingly unsatisfying at first: it’s not about you. No, really. It has nothing to do with you. Life happens – not just to you, but to everyone. It happens to your neighbor, it happens to the person that bags your groceries, it happens to the Dalai Lama. We have no control over what life tosses our way – we only have control over our response. This is where your power lies.
Resisting the existence of change does nothing but perpetuate the discomfort of the change. What you resist persists. You can choose to rail against the universe for altering your path, but this only extends your own suffering. The other option is to accept the change and determine how you move forward.
When you face change and discomfort head on, when you surrender to the fact that life happens and the things you actually have control over are very different from what you want to have control over, you will discover that the initial pain that comes with change dissipates much more quickly.
That doesn’t mean that change will no longer be painful – certainly, the death of a family member, the end of a friendship, huge changes that break apart life as you know it, will still hurt. But things like denial, anger, and rumination only prolong the pain and heap greater suffering onto yourself. Resisting change only results in the persistence of your pain. When change inevitably comes your way, acknowledge it. Experience your emotions. Process your discomfort. Surrender to the fact this is your life – whether that’s a three-minute long hold in Chair Pose, or the loss of your job. And then let it all go, and focus on what you do have control over – how you move forward.