Acceptance & Compassion without Resistance

By Belinda Haan

You have a shocking sleep. Your partner has come home late. Your childcare day evaporates due to a sick toddler. Your house is a disaster. ⠀ 

You can then experience any normal emotions such as anger, sadness, resentment, frustration.⠀ 

What happens next?⠀ ⠀ 

If you are anything like me, I can add meaning to the original ‘pain’. I can resist it, reject it. Seek to fix it, another or me. ⠀ 

What if we just allowed our experience to be just as it is?⠀ 

When we resist our experience or add some kind of meaning, THAT is where the real suffering lies. ⠀ 

For example, we are up five times at night with an unsettled baby. ⠀ 

Our pain: Exhaustion and frustration.⠀ 

Our resistance: ⠀ 

I’m never going to have a full night’s sleep ever again.⠀ 
The day is ruined.⠀ 
I must be doing something wrong.⠀ 
Why won’t my baby sleep?⠀ 
I need to buy a sleep training book. ⠀ 
I can’t handle this.⠀ 
Why won’t my partner help?⠀ 

When we resist our experience or add some kind of meaning, THAT is where the real suffering lies. ⠀ 

Can you see how much suffering can escalate?⠀ 

What if we just accessed the original pain and let go of all the resistance?⠀ 

Could we simply be with the emotions? Could we bring tenderness to our stage of life? Could we bring warmth to ourselves? ⠀ 

Pain + Resistance = Suffering⠀ 

What about this alternative:⠀ 

Pain (exhaustion and frustration due to no sleep)⠀ 
Breathing in – I breathe in my exhaustion and frustration. (advanced practice: and I also breathe in the exhaustion and frustration of all mothers who were up last night)⠀ 
Breathing out – I breathe out relief, vitality and energy. (for me and all mothers)⠀ 

I love this Tonglen practice – it has really helped me to allow those unpleasant emotions to be and has helped me be compassionate to both myself and others who might be suffering alongside me. 

Belinda Haan is a writer, advocate, and facilitator focused on re-writing the motherhood experience. She uniquely blends the best of psychology and heart to support women in their transition into motherhood. She is the founder of The Motherhood Gathering, which provides a loving container for women as they navigate the joy and full catastrophe of early motherhood. You can follow Belinda on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.  

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