Keep On Moving

We don’t have to like everything life throws our way. If we can learn to truly accept—not ignore or resist—the hard stuff, it won’t feel as hard.

Photograph by Good Vibrations Images/Stocksy

Much of life’s pain comes from the disappointment of having your unceasing desires unmet. Truth be told, over the arc of your life, you will have breathtakingly wonderful experiences, but you will also have losses and failures. Your general well-being will be determined less by the number of great moments, and more by the way you manage the difficult ones.

The key to dealing with those bad things when they happen is acceptance. If grasping and aversion are about always wanting this moment to be better or different, acceptance is about making the best of each moment, just as it is.

When unwanted things happen, it’s painful. When we resist our pain, we multiply our suffering. Consider it as a formula:

Pain x Resistance = Suffering

Pain is what you feel when something difficult, unpleasant, sad, or scary happens. It is inevitable that we will all feel pain. Resistance is all the things you do to escape pain. Think aversion on steroids. Complaining is also a form of resistance. The soundtrack of resistance might go like this: It’s not fair. Why does this always happen to me? It’s not my fault. You should not have said that!

Acceptance Decreases Suffering

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About the author

Holly Rogers

Holly Rogers, M.D. is one of the developers of Koru, an evidence-based program for teaching mindfulness and meditation to college-age adults. Holly is the co-founder of the Center for Koru Mindfulness, an agency dedicated to developing and delivering mindfulness programs for young adults. She works as a psychiatrist at the student counseling center at Duke University where she helps students integrate the practice of mindfulness into their lives in a meaningful way. She is the co-author with Margaret Maytan of Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives. Her latest book, The Mindful Twenty-Something, is a guide for young adults who wish to learn about using mindfulness and meditation to enhance their journey through emerging adulthood.

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