When I try to change what I dislike in myself by fighting it,
I merely push it underground. If I accept it,
it will surface and evaporate.
What I resist will stubbornly persist.
I consider the example of Jesus,
who set himself the task of moving mountains and battling with exasperating foes.
Yet, even in his anger, he is loving
—he combines a keen desire for change with an acceptance of reality as it is.
I try to be like him.
I start with feelings I dislike.
To each of them, I talk
in a loving, accepting, kind way and listen to what each has to say
till I discover that, while it can do me harm, it also does me good,
that it is there for a benign purpose, which I now attempt to see.
I keep on with the dialogue
until I feel a real acceptance of these feelings
—acceptance, not approval or resignation—
so that I am no longer depressed about my depressions, angry over my anger,
or discouraged because of my discouragement, or frightened of my fears
or rejecting of my feelings of rejection.
I can live with them in peace
for I have seen that God can use them for my good.
I do the same
with some of the many other things about my life that I want to change:
My body’s disabilities . . .
My personal shortcomings . . .
The external circumstances of my life . . . The happenings of the past . . .
The people with whom I live . . . The whole world as it is . . .
Old age, sickness, death.
I speak to them with love
and the consciousness that they somehow fit into God’s plan.
In doing so, I undergo a transformation: while everything about me is the same
—the world, my family, my feelings, my body, my neuroses—
I am the same no longer. I am more loving now,
more accepting of what is undesirable. More peaceful, too,
for having come to see
that violence cannot lead to lasting change
—only love and understanding can.