I have learned that resisting the ugly parts of me was one of the many breaking points of my life.
I had to allow myself to be, or I’d live in a pool of frustration and self-blame.
After some painful events during the holidays, I caught myself in a lot of self-blame. I have felt things I didn’t want to feel. I’ve felt emotions that my new “awake” self shouldn’t have felt. I had become a queen of resistance and self-shaming.
I resisted the flow of things. The emotions, the happenings, and even my reactions. I resisted being who I was, and that hurt me even more than the events themselves. I’d always ask myself, how can someone who does meditation, tries to be the best version of herself, does energy healing, clearings, you name it, still be such a mess?
Because it’s only human nature to try to change.
Another year begins, people like to write their New Year’s resolutions. “This year, I’ll lose 20 pounds.” “I’ll study more and try to get a better job.” “I’ll be a better spouse, a better parent.” “I’ll take better care of myself.” “I’ll meditate more. Maybe do some yoga.”
Well, you know what happens after a few weeks roll in most of the time? Absolutely nothing. Old habits roll back in, because it doesn’t matter. We won’t simply change because a new year started, because of our written resolutions. It takes greater willpower to reverse years of “bad” behavior, self-inflicted pain, or just common habits. We can do it, sure, we can, but we have to admit it: maybe we’re not so ready for change yet.
We simply need to admit that sometimes we are not ready to change, to shift. And that is okay. We need to learn how to embrace the ugly parts of ourselves as they are so we can consciously transmute certain habits we want to break.
I have judged myself pretty harshly for being so anxious when I actually teach meditation. Again, I felt like a hypocrite; how can I be so anxious and sit here helping people to find their inner peace? I find my “peace” many times, but sometimes I simply don’t.
The holidays destroy me from inside out. I feel agitated by being in certain places. I feel sadness by seeing some loving family members I miss so much. And I have tried to resist all “negative” emotions, and this brought me nothing but more pain.
Resisting who I am almost tore me apart. I was trying to “deal,” to get better. I pictured myself as being my best version—peaceful, lighthearted, happy, smiling. Except I can’t be that around certain people, places, and situations. And I need to allow myself to be like that.
That feeling of trying to change in order to “fit in” better, to “be better,” can apply to absolutely everything you’re trying to change in your life. The bottom line is: resolutions sometimes cause nothing but pain.
So what if you didn’t lose those 20 pounds? Or get a better job? Or if you’re still a cranky, tired mom who has no patience sometimes?
You are where you should be. You feel what you should feel. There is nothing wrong with being you—flawed, broken, messy, ugly, lost, confused. Embrace what you are and ditch the idea that you have to become a better person just because another year begins.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to change certain things. You can have goals. You can still take care of your health or be a better partner/parent, for example. You can definitely be mindful of your own choices and make conscious decisions to reverse certain behaviors.
I do believe we should keep pushing certain buttons. I, myself, will continue trying to be a more patient and less anxious person. But I won’t make that a priority, or even a resolution. I’ll be more conscious of my behavior so that I can’t hurt other people (or even myself). But I will allow myself to feel what I feel. I’ll be entitled to my own mess.
Mindfulness meditation does teach you a lot about this. Pema Chödrön calls these attachments, these pains, our “shenpas.” They could be anything that gets us hooked to bad feelings, emotions, behaviors. They won’t simply disappear if you tell them to, even though a lot of people may tell you it can be that easy.
The best way to deal with those hooks is to stay present. To observe them objectively. To watch yourself as if you were the pilot of your own emotions. Then you’ll notice your “mess” isn’t as bad as you normally perceive it.
Breathing in, today I allow myself to feel afraid/nervous/worried/upset/heartbroken.
Breathing out, it’s okay for me to feel like this.
Breathing in, I am observing my own feelings.
Breathing out, I let them be.
So my New Year’s resolution will be very simple this year. I won’t try to change a thing. I will embrace my issues with mindfulness and also give myself a pat on the back for trying so hard. I’ll still look for ways to grow, but I won’t inflict myself with guilt and shame if I don’t get where I want to be.
Trust me, I still have lots of goals. But I won’t call them my “resolutions.” My resolution will be being me, loving me, accepting me. This way, I believe these goals might come faster as I stop resisting basic aspects of myself.
This year, I’ll love myself more. I’ll laugh it off when I think I’m being too this or too that.
I’ll give myself a hug from time to time and tell my inner child she is fine. She will find her way out of the darkness.
I’ll simply allow myself to be and feel what I feel.
I’ll definitely say more “Sorry’s” and “I love you’s.”
I’ll simply resist less, try less, and be more.