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Perhaps we would all do well to ‘just say yes’ more often. There’s an aspect of human nature that we consistently resist reality. We want life to be other than it is. We want our lives to be other than they are. We want events to turn out differently than they do. And so, we excuse ourselves to feel victimized, cross our arms, stomp our feet and say, “No.” There is a misconception that such resistance is powerful. It is not. Any behavior based on the belief that ‘I am a victim’ or ‘this should not be’ is untruthful and lacks power.

Why is that so and what is the difference between effective and ineffective behavior?

Be Honest About Your Helplessness – And Your Responsibility

When we adopt a posture of helplessness we are acting as toddlers. Small children are ineffective in their resistance. They are without power and when mistreated are unable to defend or protect themselves against larger stronger perpetrators. These are real victims. Even when their demands are unreasonable and their treatment is appropriate, temper tantrums come from the space of no-power and so toddlers can go full-out kicking and screaming.

As adults, we do not have this option to simply say “I’mfeeling helpless. We are responsible to care for ourselves, to deal thoughtfully and reasonably with the obstacles we face and rely on others for assistance when we cannot.

When we expect others to meet our needs fully and completely, giving nothing in return, we are acting immaturely. If our childish demands are entertained we will not be satisfied. Coddling an adult is an insult that leads to resentment that leads to behavior that is petty, vicious, and eventually violent. Childish behavior perpetrated by those who should be adults never leads to resolution, only greater anger.

Yes, there are situations that warrant resistance. These are fewer than we generally admit. Most of the time, with our heels dug in, it is for all the wrong and often hidden motivations. The most common motivation is simply, “It’s not what I want. Things should be a different way and I’m right about it.” Yet, what if we are wrong? As Byron Katie and generations of Buddhist teachers assert: Reality is – and human suffering is self-generated from the belief that reality should be another way.

overcoming helplessness

An old story makes the point. A man jumps from an airplane about to crash. How terrible. No, it works out really well. He falls into a haystack. That’s wonderful! Not really. There are shards of glass that pierce his leg and it must be amputated. Oh, that’s horrible! No, because the nurse who cares for him falls in love and they marry. What a sweet ending! No, she has an affair and they divorce. And on it goes. We cannot know if any event is truly a misfortune or contains the seeds for something positive to occur. No matter how long you live, it will not be finally decided one way or the other by the day you die. Believing that this or that event is the ultimate catastrophe closes our minds to the possible good.

Identify and Remove the Underlying Obstacles

coping skills

In fact, what we are really upset about is often what is hardest to face: our self-criticism that we contributed to the current situation. This may or may not be accurate but only when we face what we are really upset about, can we see the right path. When underlying obstacles remain unresolved we fight to no purpose. We vest ourselves in resistance and cannot see when the fight is unproductive, even producing results the opposite of what we want. Without judgment, with spiritual acceptance, what seems intolerable becomes something we can work with.

In my own life, I have a friend who is an alcoholic. For years, it was painful to accept. I wanted his life to be another way – to be happier according to my standards. I blamed myself for my failure to help him overcome his ‘problem.’ Finally, with no alternative, I said, “Yes.” I don’t know what burdens or demons he shoulders. I don’t know his path. I don’t condone and it isn’t my place to judge. I trust that “if it should be another way, then it would be another way.” The change in my perspective has given me greater peace and allows me to be a friend.

social stress and anxiety

Mature and effective resistance is not resistance at all. It begins with respect for everyone, ourselves included, and especially those with whom we disagree. British writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall encapsulated Voltaire’s belief in freedom of speech when she wrote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Without freedom of speech we become incapable of listening to another perspective and no longer understand compromise. As Carl Jung asserted, “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

Just as we must listen to our self-judgments and -doubts to heal the wounds they hide, we must also listen to one another to resolve our differences and remain united in our commitment to liberty and justice for all.

 

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If you’re looking for spiritual support in Scottsdale AZ reach out and contact Dr. Sandra Egli at Center of Intention to start your holistic journey. Call 480-582-3374 today!

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Mindfulness

Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.


To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.

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