What you resist, persists – Carl Jung
I have heard this quote many times from many different places but didn’t know who said it first, so I looked it up. Actually, the whole quote is “what you resist not only persists but grows in size.” (That can be a little alarming!)
The complimentary opposite of this quote is “to get what you want, want what you get.” (I’m not sure who said this but it comes close to the lyrics of a Rolling Stones song.)
So, let’s put these two together – what you resist not only persists but grows in size and in order to get what you want, you have to want what you get. So, am I saying if someone hurts you or makes you angry, you have to want that in order to get someone who doesn’t? Absolutely not!! I think the bottom line here is accepting what is in order to allow it to change. “When you are resisting what constitutes your reality…. you’re shying away from it, complaining about it, resenting it or protecting against it or doing battle with it… your energy, your focus is concentrated on not moving beyond what opposes you, not coming to terms with it.” (Psychology Today 6/15/16) Basically, you are giving your power to what you don’t want.
Perhaps I can best illustrate with a personal example. A few years ago, I came across a little exercise from the work of Doreen Banaszak, author and life coach. The idea is when you find yourself experiencing a negative emotion and are saying things like – I am so sad – depressed – angry – anxious – that you accept the feeling in order to release it. If you are familiar with the emotional scale, acceptance is much higher than any of the negative emotions. So, here is the phrase – I accept that I am experiencing…… and that’s ok. That allows you to dis-identify with the emotion. After all, you are not sadness, you are experiencing sadness. Now, for my example. A while back, I was extremely unhappy with my job and could barely make myself go in every day. In fact, I was to the point of hating it which is uncharacteristic for me. I was sitting in bed one night and said – I accept that I am experiencing hate and that’s ok. Like magic, the feeling lifted! This is the most profound experience I have had with this exercise. I won’t say everything was hunky dory after that, but that horrible feeling never came back. I still wasn’t exactly excited about going to work, so I switched to – I accept that I am experiencing dread and that’s ok which was always helpful and allowed me to refocus. Things have changed a lot with my job and I have cut back on my hours so I can focus on things that are more meaningful to me – like this blog.
Give the exercise a try and let me know what you think. By accepting the negative emotion, it frees up that energy. Acceptance is a lot more positive and gives you your power back.
I have found, with the exercise about negative emotions, that it helps to be as specific as possible about the emotion you are experiencing. There were times when I had to really search for the right emotion for the exercise to be effective. So, I created a list of negative emotions for reference and I have attached it here. Also, I have attached here the Emotional Guidance Scale from the book, Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks.