I’ll be happy when……
How many of us use this phrase or one like it?
“I’ll be happy / start dating / get well / move house / loose the weight / leave my job
when I loose the weight / I get the job / I’m married / I have kids / the kids move out / I’m well / I can buy the house / I’m divorced”
The lists are endless!
By doing this we are always postponing our happiness and when we get these things there always seems to be something else. So do we ever end up actually being happy?
What if we could accept where we are now?
I always thought that accepting something meant surrendering to it, however these are actually very different things. Acceptance doesn’t mean staying stuck, we can accept where we are and still aspire to move forwards, it often makes being where we are less painful and gives us solid foundations to move forward from.
I have seen many clients shift how they feel about their situation simply by accepting where they are, we often think it would be the opposite but the tension created by resisting can be paralysing. I myself resisted how ill I was and all the loss I had to face because of it and I was stuck in that. To accept where I was I had to face and work through the anger I had at my situation. Once I did this with the help of my therapist at the time, I was able to see what I needed to do to move forwards with my recovery and healing my body rather than all my energy going into the anger and resentment at my situation.
When we are resisting where we are, we are often doing so with an internal battle that we are destined to loose, we can resist the weight we are or the job we have all we want but it’s reality. Resisting what is true is exhausting, pointless and extremely unmotivating, we then don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to actually make what we want happen.
In accepting where we are we release this internal battle, we create some space in ourselves to see routes forwards to actualising our dreams. We may also find some happiness here, and enjoy the journey to getting what we want rather than being stuck in misery until we get there.
Sometimes the awareness that we are resisting and the intention to accept can cause this shift but it isn’t always as easy as just accepting. There can be good reasons for us resisting where we are, it may be painful, scary, sad and many other things. So if you’ve identified with something you’re resisting while reading this, try saying to yourself… “I accept ______” and see what comes up, there may be a ‘yeah but’, this is what is stopping you accepting where you are. If it's emotionally painful to be where you are, try sitting with that, let the emotion out, speak to a friend about it or if it feels too big to do either of these things, speak to a therapist who can help you through it. If there is a belief there challenge it, is it really true? Again if you need help with this contact someone who can work with you and guide you through it.
The idea of resistance causing suffering isn’t a new idea in psychology but it can be a game changer, try stepping into acceptance and see how you feel.
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