Everybody wants something. Desire fuels us; it keeps us moving. Even if you've shunned the material world and spend your days in deep meditation, that's still a desire: I want to stare at my navel until I lose all desire.
However, we humans have a nasty habit. When we want something, we tend to fight against its opposite. You want to have a perfect body, so you despise your imperfect body. You want your partner to change, so you struggle against those annoying traits. You want to have plenty of money, so you fight against your debt.
All of this leads to struggle. How can it not? If you want something, and you're focused on the obstacles that lie between you and it, you're going to be full of resistance.
Though resisting what you don't want is an understandable approach, I believe that it's flawed. In the study of natural breathing, the biggest inhibitor of breathing fully and openly (like a baby does) is physical resistance. Perhaps the antidotes for optimal breathing and optimal living are one and the same: letting go of resistance.
Let Them Be
One way to let go of resistance is to allow yourself to have imperfections. This means that, while you're dreaming your dreams, you welcome the parts of your life that aren't there yet. This is less about action, and more about a state of mind.
So if you're 50 pounds heavier than you want to be, keep your sights set on that fit body. In the meantime, however, allow yourself to be where you are. Play with it, and let it be fun. Find something endearing about your extra pounds, and let them into the party. Delight in their humanity.
This isn't about compromising what you want. You still have big and wonderful desires, but allowing your imperfections lets you be lighter and easier about it. When you fight against what you don't want, you pursue your goals with too much intensity. You try too hard, do too much, and disconnect from your natural, easy confidence.
A World Without Imperfections
Imperfections play another key role: They prevent life from being like a bad Disney movie. If everything was always exactly as you wanted it to be, what kind of a world would that be? There would be no desire.
Desire comes from an awareness of either a) something you have that you don't like, or b) something you don't have that you think you'd like. Without imperfections, there would be no desire; without desire, there would be no movement. It would be static, boring, and nauseating. Life as we know it requires incompleteness.
So embrace your imperfections with open arms. Thank them for giving you something to want, and for making your life interesting. With this mentality, you'll be more relaxed, you'll stop obsessing about instant results, and you'll start enjoying the process.
This article was adapted from Will's new book, How to Breathe Like a Baby.
For more by Will Shanklin, click here.
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For more on success and motivation, click here.
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