Once upon a time, there was a girl who searched for happiness, but her insides felt sharp like barbed wire. The discomfort was so great she couldn’t sit still for even a few moments without the pain bubbling up. But she was so numb she thought it was impatience.
She’d squirm, as if the pain inside was a parasite with a life of its own and she was merely the unlucky host.
In motion, she felt at peace, although still without happiness. She’d take road trips, watch the country roll by outside the glare of the car window. Drive around town, the hum of the car’s engine giving her momentary glimpses of satisfaction. She’d dream of the trips she would take and the good times that awaited her. Tomorrow. Some day. Maybe. Hopefully.
And in truth although she felt at peace while in motion, this sense of quiet was false. Because as soon as stillness came, as soon as there was no place to go, the grossness inside would roar again and she’d search for something to dull the pain. Television. Alcohol. Even dreaming became an escape for a life she didn’t want to live.
It was almost indefinable, this pain. It was there, but not there. Painful and numb all at once. Maybe tomorrow it would go away? Maybe once she found a great place, people who made her feel at home?
But this pain — it made her feel so flawed. Impossibly. Desperately. Was the world punishing her while slipping everyone else an invitation to a secret party? Their smiles were so taunting. Their laughter. Their ease. “I know something you don’t know,” they seemed to tease.
If you haven’t guessed by now…
She was me and I was her. This brings me tears to write about. So many decades on the outside looking in. Feeling flawed. Unloveable. Incapable of living a life I loved.
This girl who I was, she thought her biggest problem was that she was flawed. But it wasn’t that at all.
Her biggest obstacle to happiness was resistance.
She was so busy fighting life that it blinded her to all that was possible, and most of all, to her own brilliance.
But back then I didn’t know about resistance and I thought this internal pain was impatience as I eagerly awaited life to sweep me off my feet and deliver the dazzling fate I dreamed of.
My heart harbored hopes of becoming a writer like Jack Kerouac, traveling the world, doing interesting things and writing about them, but every time I sat down to write the resistance would grow claws, and I’d search for distraction. Was I lazy? Procrastinating? Untalented?
I was none of these things. The problem was the very thing I thought would save me: my internal battle. Resistance.
Why do we fight when we know it never brings peace?
You know that saying, “fighting for peace is like F-ing for virginity?” Yeah. Resistance is like that.
Peace doesn’t come from war, either among nations or in our own hearts. And still we fight because we don’t know a better way. Because we’re scared of what will happen if we stop.
And we resist our lives thinking that changing them will create happiness. In the meantime, our own resistance makes us miserable.
I’m not sure why the world’s nations can’t get along, but I do know that on an internal level, the answer to this fighting is very simple. It’s to drop the resistance. To surrender. To stop wishing for a different present moment and accept what is.
You may be thinking: I want this pain and everything that’s causing my pain to go away. But that’s resistance. That’s the problem.
If I surrender, how will anything ever change?
The answer involves basic science. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you’re stuck in resistance internally, life resists back. So if nothing in your outside life will give, then something inside you has to give. And that something is often surrendering, allowing. And once your insides shift, your outsides change.
Maybe that feels like removing your bullet proof vest in front of a firing squad, opening yourself up for attack, and that’s a completely valid concern. You’ll learn more about that next week.
The thing is, every iota of trapped-ness we feel in our external lives results from trapped-ness internally. We only identify with things in our outside world if we carry those things in our heart.
As we continue to resist internally, we harden to life and ourselves. We think we’re doing a noble thing by fighting, but fighting is the very thing that keeps us trapped.
The crazy thing is that a lot of times we think we’re changing and making a noble effort, but the energy behind this effort is still one of resistance. And intention is everything.
How do you surrender and embrace happiness? This was working out to be a long blog post, so it’s going to be in a few parts. Next week you’ll discover two simple ways to surrender immediately.
Sometimes to loosen the grip, you’ve got to fully realize the insanity of the present moment. Now you know. Click here to read the next article in the series.
In the meantime, what is your relationship with resistance? Share your story in the comments below.
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