Why you need to stop fighting your life and just go with it

fighting

I’m normally a pretty even-tempered, go-with-the-flow kind of person. I don’t lose my cool easily, and I’m not super Type A. I’ve been complimented many times in my life for being adaptable and easy-going.

But there are certain times when my normally dormant inner control freak roars to life and temporarily throws all of that right out of the window.

The magic formula for this is when I feel trapped in a situation that’s particularly miserable, with no idea of when it will be over or how to speed up the process.

The last several months at my corporate job — when ALL I wanted was to run my business full-time, but in the meantime I still had to keep showing up at a job I hated day after day — triggered this in a major way.

Most recently (over the past 6 months to be precise), I turned into a total control freak about my physical health. Some of you know that I’ve been on a rollercoaster health journey over the past several months dealing with an eczema flare-up like I’ve never experienced in my life. And it has been tough.

I WENT INTO FULL-ON FIGHT MODE

During the first couple of months (which were by far the worst), I drove myself to distraction trying to fight for some level of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

I struggled to fix, cure, overcome, and demolish my health crisis. I saw every kind of health expert — from medical doctors to holistic practitioners — and read countless books and articles on diet, mindset, and lifestyle changes, trying to heal myself as quickly as humanly possible.

There were days when I was so sick of my skin still not clearing up, I wanted to scream and throw things around the room. I just wanted it GONE.

I hated my body being in that state, and I felt like I was in limbo indefinitely until I had clear skin again. All I wanted to do was rush through this miserable experience to get to 100% health on the other side ASAP.

It’s like I was waiting around for my “real life” to restart once this mess was behind me.

I did heal a bit with that approach. The worst of my eczema calmed down, and few areas of my skin cleared completely. But after a while of still not being totally healed and feeling miserable and exhausted day after day, I realized that I was finally ready to give up the fight. Not give up trying — just give up fighting.

And that’s when things really started to change.

FIGHTING = RESISTANCE

The whole time I was fighting my situation, hating my eczema, micro-managing my diet, and having weekly meltdowns because I couldn’t seem to find the perfect solution … I was stressed and creating a ton of resistance.

Then a few months ago, I learned that the human body is always working to heal itself, tirelessly striving toward perfect health. The biggest factor that blocks that natural healing process is … you guessed it: stress.

This is true about any situation. Your mind and spirit are always seeking out ways to bring you greater happiness, fulfillment, and success. Just like your physical body, life is conspiring to work in your favor.

But when you throw resistance into the mix, you slow up the works.

So how do you know if you’re creating resistance and slowing up your own progress? Here are a few telltale signs:

  • You find yourself complaining about the same things day after day.
  • You feel like your life is on pause until the thing you want shows up (new job, relationship, perfect health, etc.).
  • You fear that life will always be like this and things will never improve.
  • You’re exerting a ton of energy trying to control or micro-manage some area of your life.
  • You constantly feel jealous of other people who have what you want, and it makes you wonder what’s wrong with you for not having it yet yourself.

Keeping up this level of resistance is exhausting, and it doesn’t actually get you any closer to the outcome you want.

WHY IT’S BEST TO GIVE UP THE FIGHT

I finally decided to give up the fight and trust my body to do what it does best: heal itself. And ever since then, I’ve been amazed to see how quickly and thoroughly my skin has healed. WAY faster than when I was trying to micro-manage the process. In fact, most of my skin now looks healthier than it did before my health crisis.

I want to make a huge distinction here, though. Giving up the fight does NOT mean giving up entirely.

You can give up fighting AND still want things to change AND keep taking steps toward the improvement you want.

For example…

I didn’t give up caring about my diet. I’m still fueling my body with quality, organic food … but I’m no longer stressing about every morsel I put into my mouth.

I didn’t give up on finding a solution. I’m still open to hearing suggestions, learning new health practices, and hearing others’ stories … but I’m no longer frantically Googling for answers, scaring myself with the search results and stressing over all of the contradicting advice.

I didn’t give up on asking for help. I’m still seeing a couple of health practitioners who I love and respect … but I’m now asking my body and my intuition for guidance more often than I seek external advice.

The more I give up the fight and release resistance, the quicker my body heals.

HOW TO STOP FIGHTING YOUR SITUATION

If you’re in a situation that feels miserable and you want out ASAP, some of the very best things you can do are also the most counterintuitive:

  • Find acceptance. Accept that, for now, your life is how it is. This doesn’t mean you want it to keep being like this, by any means. But for now, you’re letting go of resistance and allowing change to happen in the perfect time.
  • Stop putting your life on hold. Stop waiting for your situation to change before your “real life” can start. Your life is as real today as it will be once you get the job, the relationship, the perfect body, the successful business, the house, or whatever else. So start acting like it.
  • Practice gratitude. Find something, anything, to be grateful for. Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in the world for creating positive change.
  • Start trusting. Trust life to work out for you. Trust yourself to recognize solutions when they show up and act on them when they feel right. Trust that you’re doing the best you can with the knowledge you currently have, and you will never stop learning and growing.

twitter-bird You can keep fighting your life, or you can start trusting life. It’s no surprise which works better.

Remember, giving up the fight is NOT about giving up altogether, tolerating a terrible situation, or sitting around waiting for things to change without taking action. It’s simply about letting go of resistance and stress so that you have the energy and inspiration to make faster progress with more ease.

So tell me, in what way have you been fighting against your current situation recently? How willing are you to give up resistance to allow change to happen faster? Share your thoughts with me, in the comments below!

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28 Comments // ADD COMMENT

28 comments

  • Michelle

    I recently got a promotion after my supervisor left. She came back after about 6 months and now I’m being asked to concede the position back to her while still keeping my salary. I had every intention on marching into my boss’s office and telling her how unfair this was, I even made an appointment with her secretary to make sure I had her full attention. However, once I spoke to my old supervisor, I realized it was already in motion. So I’m quietly putting down my torch and pitchfork and letting it go.

    • Kristen Walker

      Michelle — That’s so frustrating! No wonder you were upset and angry about that. Getting a promotion, only to have it taken away 6 months later, definitely feels unfair. I absolutely understand your desire to meet with your boss and share your frustration.

      While it may be best all around to put down your pitchfork (love that visual!) in this situation, that may not necessarily mean staying perfectly quiet, either. I think it could be valuable to keep the meeting you made with your boss, but instead of using it to vent, use that time to ask how you can possibly keep some of the aspects of your supervisory job (or take on other responsibilities that excite you within the company) so you can feel like you’re still building momentum in your career. Instead of fighting the current situation, become an advocate for yourself to open up new possibilities!

  • Ron

    Hi,
    How can I know when to go with life, and when to fight to change it?
    Thanks.

    • Kristen Walker

      Ron — This is such a good question! I’ve asked myself this same thing many times. In my experience, it works best when you don’t view this as an either/or choice, but as a combination of the two simultaneously. I know it sounds like these are total opposites, but it IS possible to accept that your current situation is how it is (for now) and try to flow with it the best you can AND be actively working toward making a change. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, it works better all around this way because you’re not throwing so much resistance into the mix by fighting against your current reality.

      It’s a fine line to walk, and you might not always get it perfect (I know I don’t!), but I believe it’s an approach worth striving for! Hope that helps a bit.

  • Leah

    This is so applicable to many different situations. I find myself putting the present on hold until I get to some destination in the future: Marriage, kids, getting in shape, hitting a business milestone, etc. Then my life will really begin. But you never really get there until you embrace the present and put in the time and energy required to grow and learn the lessons to get you to the next level. Even if you don’t always enjoy the process, you’re totally right about surrendering to it and being present enough to stop fighting it. That’s when doors start opening up

    • Kristen Walker

      You hit the nail on the head with the word “surrender.” I have such a love/hate relationship with that word! It’s so hard to do sometimes (especially when you REALLY want a certain phase of your life to be over), but it really does open all kinds of doors, just like you said. Glad I’m not the only one dealing with this! Thanks for sharing how this comes up for you. 🙂

  • Rachel

    “Trust life to work out for you.” #truth

    I would “love” this post if I could 🙂

  • Ashley

    I utterly love this blog post! Well said! I struggle with this need to control and force aspects of my life into place on my timetable, and I question my choices needlessly. I love the idea of trusting that life, my mind, and my body want me to be well and are constantly moving to that end. Beautiful!

    • Kristen Walker

      So happy you loved this post, Ashley! Doesn’t this new perspective make you feel so loved and supported by your body, your mind, and life in general? It helps put my inner control freak in place!

  • Karee

    I absolutely ticked off every one of the telltale signs you listed and have definitely felt the exhaustion it causes on a long-term basis. It feels like hope is absolutely drained out of you, and you get so bogged down by it that taking steps forward out of it seems impossible. What this posting does is give the approval for a little seed of hope to come back, and increase the possibility that it will continue to grow. Thank you!

    • Kristen Walker

      I’ve also had personal experience with all of those telltale signs, so you’re definitely not alone! You’re right — it’s easy to get bogged down in the heaviness of it all. But I’m SO happy that this post has planted a seed of hope for you! All you need is that initial spark of hope, and then it can grow and grow. 🙂

  • Eva Jannotta

    Love this and love the image!

  • Nate

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been on a leave of absence from work for lower back pain, and I did the same thing: fighting for a few months, trying to find out what was wrong, visiting lots of health professionals, and then starting to let go because I realized it wasn’t helping. It’s still not better, but I appreciate the encouragement to try to listen to what my body needs, and not be so pushy, resistance-y with my mind. It is hard to go work in a job that doesn’t quite seem to fit right, and I do wonder if this is my body’s way of saying, “Don’t make me keep doing this!” but it certainly seems to be difficult to change all the systems in this world that I work in (commuting and work, policies, government, all of it), and my mindset around them, so it’s that balance between knowing change can come, but it may not happen in the next 10 hours, or even 10 days, weeks, etc, and holding out hope that it will come eventually if I don’t give up.

    • Kristen Walker

      Nate, I SO relate to the struggle you described! I can tell from the way you shared your story that you’ve come to a level of acceptance that, for now, this is how things are and you’ll make the best of it … but you haven’t given up on your physical healing or a potential career change, and you still have hope for both. That’s a perfect combination! You’ve definitely got the right mindset.

    • Ashley

      Nate- Not being afraid of the pain and trusting your body and mind want to be healed are excellent places to start. If you’re curious, check out the books of Dr. Howard Schubiner and Dr. John Sarno. They discuss the correlation of pain and health issues to stress and psychological issues.

  • Mya

    Love this! Med school takes up so much time that I find myself putting off having a life once I’m done with med school. I say that once I’m done with med school then I’ll have more time for my family and friends, or get fit or get married etc. But the reality is, I’m going to be just as busy if not more so instead of putting off life I need to create a balance. No wonder I wonder out!

    • Kristen Walker

      That’s SUCH a normal mentality — the “once ‘blank’ is over, then I’ll do ‘blank'” mindset. I’m guilty of that myself! But it’s a dangerous place to get stuck because you never fully feel like you’re living life. I’m glad you’re ready and willing to find a balance now so you don’t feel like your life is on hold! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Sharon

    Today is my birthday. I moved to the US 5 months ago from Canada. I was overjoyed to have found work so quickly but the job is proving to be less than ideal. There is zero camaraderie, little innovation and strict adherence to outdated rules and my supervisor is completely inept. My immediate colleague hates his job and is unable (or unwilling) to train me. I sit at my desk for 8 hours a day trying to teach myself as much as I can. I feel stuck, bored, alone and anxious. Reading your blog is a helpful reminder that I have more to live for than this job. Letting go in California.

    • Kristen Walker

      Happy (belated) birthday, Sharon! 🙂

      How frustrating to be SO excited for a job, only to realize that it’s not at ALL what you thought. It’s no wonder you’re feeling stuck, anxious, and alone. This isn’t what you bargained for when you moved to Cali!

      It means the world to hear that our blog is helping you remember that there’s more to life than this job (because there absolutely is!) and this is a temporary situation. Before long, this will simply be a vaguely unpleasant memory. And in the meantime, you’re learning a TON about what you do/don’t want moving forward in your career, and that will help clarify what you choose next.

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  • Skyler DeLuca

    Hi world, I am Skyler and I do have to say that my current situation is grieving the loss of my brother. My brother who I so dear loved very much. Sadly, he suffered from depression and committed suicide during the year 6/19/2014. It has been two years now and I do have to say. Though Rock Climbing, Yoga, making music, going to school, and work. I have to stop fighting my tears and just let them go. let them go and move forward with the life that I desire for myself. Let go of the pain of my heart breaking each time I try to hold back those waves of tears within me. I am 22 years old with a learning disability. I am gift from God, I am so many grate things. But, I have to stop fighting my tears and be the Skyler I know. So, I thank you for letting me read this wonderful article. Thank you!!

    • Kristen Walker

      Skyler, I can’t even imagine the heartbreak you’ve experienced over the past two years. Your inner strength has been tested in the most unimaginably difficult way, and my heart goes out to you. Grief like that is an earth-shattering experience, and you’ve bravely found ways to cope and start the long process of healing.

      Your tears are a gift displaying just how much love and sensitivity you have within you, so there’s no need to fight them. Cry when you need to cry, and in the moments when the dark cloud of grief lifts momentarily, enjoy life without guilt. You are so strong! If you want more support, I think you would find a lot of comfort in Marianne Williamson’s recent book Tears to Triumph. Thank you for sharing!

  • Liz

    This is such an excellent post. The topic resonated so strongly with me, especially the section about “Are you creating resistance?” As I read over the ways people create resistance, I thought, Yes, yes, and yes! For the past year, I felt like my life was on hold while I figured out what my next step would be… and after reading this post, I realize that I probably slowed down that process with my resistance.

    This post is one that I’m going to keep handy, and re-read on days when I need to let gooo.

  • Catarina

    You just described the meaning of Isvara Pranidhana, a Nyiama (ethical observance) in yoga. I have it tattooed on my leg. It’s interesting how everything is connected. No matter which name, religion, belief, it all goes down to the same. That observance means to surrender to God, world or whatever you want to call it. Do the best you can, put your best self, your focus and love on something, but then let go and enjoy the ride – what needs to happen will happen, and the best always happens.

    • Kristen Walker

      Beautifully said, Catarina! Yes, this is exactly the message I was trying to capture in my post. I love that there’s a yogic term to describe this. Isvara Pranidhana — beautiful phrase. Thanks so much for sharing!

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