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Loving What Is: A Journey from Resentment to Joy

Natasha Brown

June 3, 2024

My life felt unmanageable. There was so much on my plate and, frankly, I felt alone and unappreciated. I felt like I was drowning in to-do’s and resentment. This was the gist of the phone call I was having with my mom when she asked me a couple of questions that changed everything. 

She had recently read Loving What Is by Byron Katie and was encouraging me to look at the dissonance between reality and my expectations, and then lean into full accountability for the story I was telling myself. She asked me: 

  1. Is what you’re thinking 100% true?
  2. How do you feel when you think this thought?
  3. Who would you be without this thought?

I stewed on these questions, trying to hold on to my justification for a few hours before I realized I was shaking my fist at reality, and it was keeping me from showing up for myself. I realized that I was doing all the “to-do’s” ultimately because *I* felt better when they were done. I was living and doing what I was because it was in line with my values of showing up for someone I cared about. I spent the next couple of days celebrating the choice I had in EVERY SINGLE TASK and doing it because I loved showing up for myself! Suddenly there was joy for every toy I picked up off the floor, excitement at the choice to fold the laundry and do the dishes etc. 

This was a poignant moment for me and where I learned to fall in love with what is rather than just endure it or tolerate life. I learned where my power truly lies and suddenly had new breath in my lungs and new energy in my step. 

The Power of Acceptance

Acceptance is the cornerstone of loving what is. When we accept our current reality, we stop wasting energy on fighting against it. This shift from resistance to acceptance frees up our mental and emotional resources, allowing us to engage with life more fully and effectively. Acceptance helps us shift from the negativity of feeling acted upon to a place of open curiosity that allows us to respond thoughtfully to life. 

Transforming Resentment into Joy

Resentment arises from the gap between our expectations and reality. We harbor negative feelings because things didn’t go our way, or because someone didn’t behave as we hoped. By loving what is, we close this gap. We let go of our rigid expectations and embrace the present moment for what it offers.

Potty training is an excellent real-life example of transforming resentment into joy. When I can see my child’s accidents as what they truly are, I’m able to meet them where they are with kindness, which ultimately leaves me feeling joy in how I’m showing up in motherhood. I can see the accidents as a learning curve that allows room for curiosity and exploration rather than feeling angry that they “should” be making it to the toilet. 

Practical Steps to Loving What Is

  1. Mindfulness Practice: Engage in regular mindfulness meditation to cultivate awareness of the present moment. This practice helps you observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment, fostering acceptance.
  2. Inquiry Process: Use Byron Katie’s “The Work” to question stressful thoughts. Ask yourself: Is this thought true? How do I react when I believe this thought? Who would I be without this thought?
  3. Gratitude Journaling: Keep a journal where you regularly write down things you are grateful for. This practice shifts your focus from what is lacking to what is present and positive in your life.
  4. Letting Go of Control: Recognize areas where you have control and where you don’t. Focus your efforts on what you can change and accept what you cannot.
  5. Embrace Change: View change as a natural part of life. Instead of resisting change, welcome it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

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