Stop Resisting Your Life

If you consider the majority of times that you’re feeling down, you may find that the reason you’re upset doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your current situation. The thing that’s getting you down is either something that has happened or something that you’re anticipating will happen. We look at the past and blame our choices/circumstances/self proclaimed shortcomings for our misery. This limits us in the sense that we are basing our happiness on the past, which is something that we cannot change. If we let our happiness be defined by the past, we’re sort of screwing ourselves! Similarly, if there’s no certainty of joy in the future, we’re unhappy about this. We are literally miserable because there is a risk that we may be miserable in the future! This constant resistance to our lives is simply not conducive to a joyful way of living.

Frustration arises when we think about how something went contrary to how we would have liked it to go. We say things like “If I had been born a decade earlier” or “If I had bought that house or taken that job” as if the way things did not happen are the reason for our discontentment today. You are not doomed, and opportunities that you did not avail in the past do not have a bearing on what is currently available to you. There are always new opportunities presenting themselves, there are always seeds to be planted, watered and later harvested. Right now, you’re doing this without even knowing it!

In terms of the future, let’s imagine you have a presentation to do at work or at college, which might provoke some feelings of anxiety. You want the presentation to go well but since you don’t have any guarantee that it will, you’re unsettled. If you had a friend who could see into the future and tell you that the presentation was in fact going to go very well, and that you’d get a high grade or promotion because of it; you’d probably be very excited. Either way, your situation in the present hasn’t actually changed. Your anxiety comes from an unwillingness to accept the uncertainty of what may or may not happen. In most scenarios we are not able to know what the future holds, and so in the absence of a future-telling friend we can contemplate the idea of accepting the uncertainty in order to find peace in our daily life. By accepting the uncertain nature of the future, we no longer resist what may or may not happen. In cultivating this acceptance, the feelings and emotions associated with the struggle against uncertainty dissolve.

We have a tendency to get caught up in how our lives look (or often, how our lives do not look) and in truth there is no pressure to be any particular way. Move through life. Your burdens are often disguised as blessings. Naturally, where we are and what we are doing now is influenced by the past, and will no doubt shape our future in ways we cannot even imagine. Life is always happening. Just be. Do things, and things will happen. Love! Be kind, and if you can accept, you will ache a lot less.

David Boland