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From “attachment & avoidance” to “allow & accept”

Allow and accept the presence of unwanted stuff. Then use it to do good.


Start living NOW. Whatever you’re putting off until you get “lean enough” or “fit enough” or “good enough”, don’t.

Live in the present, with the body you have. It’s your body, and it’s come a long way, so be proud of it.


From “attachment & avoidance” to “allow & accept”

All anguish comes from attachment.

—Buddhist saying

The only way out is through.

—Carl Jung


However, even though you’ve had a great journey, you might feel bummed at the end. Maybe, for instance, you have a case of The Shoulds.

Pain in life comes largely from two things:

  • attachment (to things and ideas) and
  • avoidance (of stuff we don’t like or want).


For instance, if you’re attached too strongly to ideas like “I must be perfect”, “If I’m not lean then I’m unworthy”, or “I should have/be ____”, you’ll feel crappy even though you’re fitter and healthier.


Then if you try to avoid the discomfort of having these thoughts or feelings, you compound the problem. You tell yourself you’re a bad person for thinking like this, or you distract yourself from bad feelings with dysfunctional behaviors.


There is another way — the opposite of attachment and avoidance. It’s allow and accept.


Allow thoughts and sensations to be present.


Observe whatever comes up. View these thoughts, feelings, and experiences as simply the ebb and flow of existence.

Allow them to move through you, without avoiding them — then they’ll simply flow right on through you.

Accept that all kinds of thoughts, feelings, and experiences will come and go.

You don’t have to love them. Just don’t avoid having them.

Sit with those thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Don’t try to make stuff go away. Just hang out with it.

Imagine hanging out with your roommate’s awkward friend, watching TV on the couch while your roommate gets ready.

The awkward friend is the unwanted thought, feeling or experience. For now, you’re stuck with them. So you might as well hang out with them, even if it’s uncomfortable.

At least the two of you can enjoy the humor of a comedy show together.

Thoughts and feelings are just frameworks that your brain uses to interpret the world.

Understand that you have the power to change those perceptions.

YOU are NOT your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs.


Emotions: Your dashboard indicator light


Now, one crucial point. Feelings often seem “irrational” and we may be embarrassed or puzzled by them. We might try to make them go away.

However, the human brain produces emotions and physical sensations for a reason: to tell us something important.

Emotions and physical sensations are essential signals that tell us about our environment and what’s going on inside us — they’re like our dashboard indicator lights.

Again, if we are willing to simply experience our emotions and physical sensations (especially uncomfortable ones), then we’ll find that it’s much easier to tolerate feeling badly.

And if we ask those emotions and physical sensations, “What are you trying to tell me?” then we might gain some critical insights.


You can’t control your feelings. You CAN control your behavior, and practice grooving new thought habits.


Don’t dwell, DO something


Once you’ve observed and analyzed your thoughts and feelings a little bit, that’s enough. Now get out of your brain. (Remember, your brain isn’t “you”.)

Unless your thinking is devoted to problem solving, too much thinking doesn’t help.

One easy way to get out of your head and into your life is to DO something, especially something for someone else. Is someone else feeling the way you are? Is someone else going through the same experiences? If so, how can you give back and help out?

  • Could you mentor someone?
  • Could you help guide them by sharing your own experience?
  • Could you just be a sympathetic ear?


Could you help someone else take a positive action to improve their lives? (May we recommend helping them sign up for a training program)


Reframe what you’re going through as something that can help someone else.

What “superpowers” do your own challenges give you? And how can you use those “superpowers” for good?

Think about it. And then reach out.