The Paradox of Acceptance and Change

Last week I found some old notes I had composed on a lined sheet of paper and folded to use for a bookmark. The notes illustrated some paradoxical aspects of acceptance and change. I vaguely recall developing examples of paradox when preparing for a workshop. I don’t know if the list was inspired by the book I was reading, or if the paper was simply a handy bookmark within my reach.

Here’s an edited version:

  1. Trying to get to sleep will keep you awake.
  2. Trying not to think is thinking about not thinking.
  3. Trying to be calm is being anxious about not being calm.
  4. Failing to accept a poor working memory contributes to relying on it.
  5. Wishing your mate would be a better partner makes you not such a good partner.
  6. Trying to be confident is doubting yourself.
  7. Wishing not to feel pain makes needles hurt.
  8. Trying to meditate (effort) is not meditating (relinquishing effort).
  9. Avoiding uncomfortable situations gives birth to anxiety, which is uncomfortable. 
  10. Trying to feel better is rejecting a feeling…instead of relating to it.
  11. Trying to be positive can be negative; acceptance requires no labeling.
  12. Avoiding the feeling of embarrassment obstructs learning from mistakes.
  13. Attacking someone for confronting you supplants their concern with your own.
  14. Denying that ADHD affects your relationships is harmful to your relationships.
  15. Being is not trying to be. 

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