It's likely that you've heard the saying
"What you resist, persists" - Carl Jung
You're holding a balloon under the surface of the water to hide it from view. Eventually you become tired from forcing it against it's natural will to float, so you let go. When you do let go, the balloon pops to the surface in full force with no where to hide. It doesn't matter how hard you try to keep that balloon under the surface of the water it will always return to the surface.
Your feelings and emotions are like the balloon. You can push them under the surface hiding them for a while. But they are still there, bubbling beneath the surface, waiting for the pressure to release so they can re-surface and expose themselves. This concept reminds us that ignoring or denying our feelings and emotions won't work for long before they re-appear even stronger than before.
So what does this concept of resistance have to do with the common pattern of people finding fault with and putting themselves down?
When we deny how we feel by trying to justify it, ignore it or dismiss it, we are resisting it. Therefore it persists and grows bigger and bigger until all that is visible is faults and imperfections.
Logically, I've understood this concept for a long-time. However, true understanding comes directly through experience, and learning for yourself. I'd like to share with you through my recent experience how I came to a deeper and more honest place of self-acceptance despite many outer, physical things not being exactly as I would have liked.
My intention for my recent holiday was to dive deeply into self-compassion and self-love as I had recently recognised how hard, critical and down right mean I was often being to myself. My inner critic definitely had the upper hand letting me know how I was falling short and not doing enough.
The funny thing is, that once you commit to something like self-compassion the assignments and challenges to learn and embody this show up constantly and even bigger than before. And boy did the challenges show up!
I was confronted with so many opportunities where my inner critic wanted to have a good go at me.
I was criticised for sleeping in, for drinking too much wine, for eating cake with my sister nearly every night, for missing my meditation practice, for my skin breaking out, for putting on weight, for looking at my body in the mirror and hating what I saw.
But this time it was different. Because I had set the intention and willingness to be compassionate, I could recognise the criticism immediately. This awareness put me at an immediate crossroads. I had two choices.
To choose my old pattern and way of being, listening to the story of the inner critic and falling deeper into the story resulting in feeling bad about myself or to stay true to my intention of self acceptance, love and compassion.
It was hard.
There was so much resistance to being kind and nice to myself. It was easier to give in to the familiar pattern of what my inner critic has been saying for 30 odd years.
But, I am a high-achieving Scorpio and love any opportunity to learn more about myself. So this is what happened instead every time a less than kind or loving thought came into my awareness.
3 Steps To Radical Self-Acceptance Without Changing Anything Outside Of Yourself
I acknowledged the truth of how I was feeling. I didn't dismiss it. I allowed myself to see the guilt, the shame, and the disappointment. I allowed it all to be seen. I acknowledged the shame I felt when I looked at my body in the mirror.
I simply accepted that I was feeling that way. Rather than saying I shouldn't feel this or that, I asked can I accept that I don't like what I see or feel right now? The answer was yes. There is so much power in accepting rather than suppressing how you feel. (Note that acceptance is the opposite of resistance).
And finally I asked to be shown a new perspective. A perspective of love, compassion and kindness. And I just sat with it. This allowed me to open up to seeing things through a different light. As a result, this gracefully moved me into a more peaceful, loving state. My attention shifted away from criticism towards peace and acceptance to the point that after a while I couldn't see the old perspective any longer.
You can feel differently about yourself now. You don't have to wait until your outer circumstances change. The power is all in your willingness to see another perspective.
Remember it takes practice. You'll want to resist. Your inner critic will still try to jump in to tell you the familiar old stories. That's why it's important to acknowledge it and accept rather than resist.
Like anything new the more you practice the easier it gets. Don't expect to get it right every time or remember every time.
Give yourself a break from the harsh critic following you around and give it a go.