A Coaching Power Tool created by Anne Hamming
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
I suspect it is human nature to try to avoid certain facts. When I eat ice cream every day on a vacation, I avoid thinking about the day my shorts will be too tight. And when my birthday comes around each year, I don’t want to face the fact another year has passed. I boldly proclaim that 40 is the new 20, right? I dance in the illusion that my skin will be smooth forever, my eyes will never need bifocals, and I will always be considered youthful — despite many indications to the contrary. I am expressing resistance.
Resistance to inevitable realities can be humorous, like my dismissive response to aging. But resistance can be weighty and downright dark. These times can strike when we act according to what we know is right, but we still fight against it. We feel bogged down. We wish it did not have to be this way. An example of this resistance shows up in the grown child who knows that taking in an elderly parent is the best option, but she feels drained and perhaps even numb or resentful.
In my life, I made major life changes to take care of my special needs child and my daughter. I knew it was the right thing, and I knew I ought to be grateful I could be home with them during crucial years. But it didn’t stop the nagging resistance that dogged me. It came through in the wish that my life was different, even though I knew it was best possible option for my circumstances. I wanted an escape route from my own life. The most difficult part was accepting that my dream of having a challenging career and a family wasn’t going to work out. And I feared my life did not have meaning because many of the tasks involved in raising small children — particularly laundry and cooking — seemed utterly meaningless. At the core, I feared that all of my dreams would be washed away by tedious tasks, never to be realized. And I feared my situation might never end.
This was resistance.
- Resistance is wishing our lives don’t have to be the way they are even when we know we have the best possible option for our circumstances.
- Acceptance is embracing our lives just as they are without judgment or regret. Acceptance is seeing the purpose in our lives no matter the situation.
Acceptance does not mean that we are satisfied with everything. I still don’t enjoy laundry or cooking, but I am honest about it. And I still get frustrated that a cure for my son’s chronic illness might never come. Resistance would have me mired down in that frustration. It would have me fighting a battle for years. Acceptance shows me that I can provide my son with the best care available at this moment, and he will be OK. Acceptance shows me that the tedious parts of his care are terribly important to giving him the best possible care. Because the tedious tasks are directly linked to my highest aim, I can do them more lightly. I can accept it. Acceptance shows me that his illness is only one part of our lives. Acceptance guides me to see the big picture of our lives, so I can see the richness and blessings.
Acceptance isn’t always peaceful. Full acceptance of a situation and one’s feelings about the situation might open one’s eyes to true inequities and the need to speak out or ask for help. In addition, acceptance can be a great motivator. It is really the only route to acting with clarity during difficult times. Owning a reality that at one point in our lives seemed very undesirable can open up routes to gracefully manage things that cannot be changed. Resistance to reality just keeps us stuck.