I accept reality and dare not question it.
Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.
Disclaimer: This story is going to seem incredibly unimportant and petty (plus I kinda seem like a dweeb). I promise there’s an important lesson in it. Keep reading 🙂
Last night, I was at a friend’s house watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I glanced at the clock as I left – 11:00pm. And that’s where the resistance started.
I knew I had an early wake up time. I knew that I had had a long day of teaching. I knew that on days when I’ve been working that long and then stay up too late, I’m in cranky Sam territory and any words that come out of my mouth shouldn’t be trusted as kind or real.
I got to sleep before midnight, slept soundly, and woke up at my 6:30am alarm. Hello, resistance!….”I’m so tired. I’m so stupid. I should have gotten more sleep. Why didn’t I get to sleep more? Today is going to be terrible. I’m going to be tired! And then I have to teach today. This is not good. This is going to be a bad day.”
WOAH there. That’s a lot of thoughts. But this is what they were.
All through my meditation.
All through my journaling.
All through my morning workout.
…it was a never-ending stream of negativity and anger.
But then I sat down to write my morning blog post. I was considering ideas like doing a quote recap of “Real Love” by Sharon Salzberg, which I just finished reading (and have been talking about ideas from here and here.) As I thought about what I learned from that book, I realized that a major theme that came up in the book (and in other books I’ve read lately) is welcoming and accepting reality.
Lightbulb moment my friends.
When we deny reality, we create suffering. We wish that hard facts were different than they actually are, and we end up fighting a losing battle. Our energy goes to rumination instead of either fixing the situation or moving on.
I went to sleep late.
I can’t change that now. And actually no amount of wishing that it was different, beating myself up, or worrying about the future is going to change that.
Yes, I might yawn more today or my energy might not be as great. TRUE. There aren’t consequences to my actions. But it’s the THINKING about these facts that magnify the suffering. And this magnification isn’t just 2 fold. It can be 3, 4, 10 fold.
When my thoughts switch from “this should be different” to “welcome to reality”, I get to put on my big girl pants and move on. My energy gets directed positively and productively.
I repeat… I know this example is dumb. I know it seems so silly that I’ve spent all of this energy on *god forbid!* a midnight bed time. But it was my truth today. This is what was causing me stress.
And in truth, we have to practice these tactics with the silly, simple, small things. We practice on the tiny annoying circumstances, so that when shit really hits the fan – be it an illness, a job loss, a break-up or any other truly hard things happen, we have a template. We know how to deal with the pain and suffering and welcome reality.
Fighting reality doesn’t work. And if you can say a big “hello” to the circumstances in front of you, you’re primed to actually move forward. (That sounds a lot like my post on acceptance and change, doesn’t it?) Well – here’s our real life example. Welcome reality. It might not make me immediately less tired, but it will make my brain more clear and open for positive energy, instead of getting stuck in the mud of anger and regret. That sounds like a good trade.
So that I don’t feel completely petty and alone….have you had any small instances where you were fighting reality recently? What happened when you welcomed it? Leave a comment about your experiences below.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.