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Acceptance vs Resistance

Today I’m sharing a conversation I had with Laurelee Roark on her podcast, “It’s Not About Food,” where I discuss the concept of Acceptance verses Resistance.

For further clarification on the topic I include here excerpts from, “8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder.”

There are only two ways to deal with something: acceptance or resistance. Think about that for a minute. There really is no other way. This is the concept of not being attached to the results. When you realize the truth in this fundamental principle and keep it in mind, it can change how you experience your life. Here is an example: Let’s say you have been planning all week to be outside on Saturday and enjoy a nice sunny day. When you get up Saturday morning you realize clouds have come in and it has started to rain. You have two ways of handling this turn of events. You can resist the situation by feeling deprived, angry, and upset. You might say you can’t believe this has happened and curse the rain.

Some people in this situation would be so unhappy about the rain they would allow it to ruin their day. Or you can choose to “not be attached” to having a sunny day, and accept the rain.

Acceptance is realizing when things are as they are and not resisting. When you accept that it’s not the rain that is awful, but your reaction to the rain that is awful, you begin to see how you create your own happiness and unhappiness. Once you accept that the rain just is, you can decide what to do about it. You can create a whole new plan for your Saturday that incorporates the fact that it is raining. You may not be able to accept the situation immediately (for example, you might need to express your sadness and disappointment about having to change your plans), but when you do reach acceptance you will be released from your negativity and unnecessary unhappiness. Of course, it is easier to accept rain on a day planned for sun, than accepting a betrayal by a friend or getting into a car accident, but the underlying concept is the same. The important things to do in any situation are to feel your feelings, accept what you can and can’t do about it, and proceed accordingly.

For example, in the case of a car accident, acceptance (non-attachment) would be: 1) letting yourself feel your feelings, like anger or sadness, knowing they will pass; 2) accepting that it happened and you can’t undo it; and 3) doing what you can do, such as making sure you are OK, calling the police, and calling a friend. Attachment and resistance would look like: 1) berating yourself repeatedly for not taking an alternate route (“Why didn’t I go the other way?”); 2) blaming the other person and name calling, (“You are an idiot, why didn’t you look, you are so stupid); and 3) not accepting and doing what you can do, but instead continuing to argue and blame, keeping yourself stuck.

The principle of non-attachment can be applied to every area of your life.

One of the most profound uses of this principle and one of the hardest areas to apply it to is in relationship to your body. If you are having a difficult time with your body or body image, consider how acceptance vs resistance could help. Just like the rain in our earlier example, your body is not awful. It just is. It is your resistance to your body and the emotional reaction created by that resistance that is awful. Believe it or not, you are in control of your happiness and unhappiness in this area. True happiness is rarely (if ever) achieved by changing something external, or outside of you. Our inner states of consciousness are far more in influential than our outer circumstances. The way we experience life is created by the state of mind with which we meet it. Try to imagine what your life would be like if you were truly able to practice acceptance verses resistance such that you were truly able to accept your body’s natural size and shape. Imagine what it would be like to let go of any attachment you have of forcing your body into a weight or shape that you have to be sick and unhappy in order to achieve. Think about what your life will be like when you live with acceptance rather than resistance to your body every day. This can be done and you can get there.

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