Imagine a bowl full of water. Inside the bowl, on top of the water is a cork. When you press on the cork, it is pushed under the water. When you let it go, it bobs up and down on the surface for a bit and then is motionless again on top of the water.
If you decide you don’t want the cork to float – it just bugs you being on the surface like that and you want it to sink, to go away, then you have to continuously push it down. As soon as you let go, it will bob to the surface again. It persists in being at the top of the water and your resistance to it surfacing forces you to keep pushing it down.
It is a never ending battle between you and the cork. Sound exhausting? It is.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the cork is your emotions, which you are continuously trying to push down. When you stop pushing, they bob up to the surface. It is exhausting to keep continuously pushing those emotions down.
Yet, just like the cork, if you let them surface, they will bob for a bit and eventually the cork will be still again. Push them down and it starts to get very tiring and becomes very distracting and eventually will get in the way of you living your life. Imagine trying to live your life while constantly carrying around a bowl full of water and a cork you need to push down every second of the day!
As well, that cork starts to soak up the water and gets heavier. It takes more energy to push it down, more effort. Imagine additional corks in the water. How can you keep pushing all of them down at once? You only have so many fingers, so much strength, so much perseverance, so much energy and attention. Putting all that energy into pushing that cork and the other corks in the water down will also leave you feeling tired, exhausted, and worn out both physically and mentally.
What you resist persists.
Emotions don’t like to be pushed down. They are a part of you, a natural part of you. If you keep pushing them down, they get pretty upset and they will start to demand your attention.
Ever wonder why you are so tired all the time? It might be because you are expending a lot of energy pushing down your feelings! Ever wonder why you have panic attacks? Perhaps it is your emotions demanding your attention. After all panic sure makes them harder to ignore. Ever wondered why you are depressed? Depression is the result of depressing your emotions until you feel numb.
What you resist persists works with all things that you resist.
Trying really hard not to eat “bad” foods will lead you to binge. Trying really hard to be perfect all the time will keep your focus on all the imperfections you have. Trying really hard not to think about something just keeps that thought right there.
This week notice all the places you are resisting something. You will notice it by hearing yourself say words such as: I should, I shouldn’t, I am trying not to, I don’t want to, I can’t stop, I am trying to stop, etc.
When you hear yourself say these resistant words, remind yourself: “What I resist persists.” Now be very curious about yourself. What might you be resisting? You don’t have to completely let go of the cork so don’t worry about that yet. Just wonder, like an outsider looking into you… “What might I be resisting?” You don’t even need to be right about it, just curious.
So what are you resisting? Hint: it is probably an emotion. Are you resisting feeling fear? Anger? Sadness? Hurt? Joy? Success? Failure? Love? If so, just acknowledge it. For example, say to yourself (out loud is a great idea, if you want), “I am feeling ______ (fill in feeling word)” Now take a breath and let that be okay. Let it be okay that that feeling is there. So what? It is just a feeling. You have them all the time.
Great. When you do this, you have let the cork come up. Just a little bit at a time is perfect! You got a rest from constantly pushing it down. You might even feel some relief, some energy return. Imagine if you really let the cork come up for a minute, or 5 minutes. You would feel even more relief and energy.
Of course, pushing down that cork for so long makes it seem really scary to let it up. That’s okay. Try to let that be okay too. You let go of the cork each time you just let who you are and how you feel be okay. After all, it is okay. You are okay; even if you don’t believe it quite yet, it is true