Yesterday, I was thumbing through an old psychology textbook from my college days. I happened to stop on a chapter about resistance. I couldn’t help but read most of what was written about resistance. I’d heard many of the conclusions and results of studies about resistance already, so the book only served as a reminder.
Basically, we can think of resistance as nonacceptance of what is. Nonacceptance is a state of mind that all of us possess to one degree or another.
We might feel nonacceptance on a mundane level, such as when we’re waiting in a cue at the supermarket checkout lane. Or nonacceptance happens in the macro sense when we feel resistance against certain groups of people.
Have you ever sat down and honestly contemplated nonacceptance?
Like everybody else, I’ve certainly experienced resistance and nonacceptance. This might be my own mental state of resistance, or also being the target of someone else’s state of resistance. When I’m in either situation, my primitive or reptilian mode of thought predominates. I understand that this primitive thinking happens because I feel somehow threatened. My animal instinct wants to be proactive against my perceived threat. Or, I am, indeed, encountering a possible threat. I’m refering to a mental threat, not a physical threat of someone approaching me with a weapon intending to cause harm.
If I could put the emotions on hold for a few moments, I’d clearly see that the state of nonacceptance is actually one of the manifestations of fear. In the case of nonacceptance of a certain group of people, I might be unfamiliar with them. When we’re in unfamiliar situations, we feel a twinge of fear. Or, perhaps I belong to a non-mainstream group of people. I might fear being ostrascized by society, so I feel some fear of my own inner nature and people like me.
Oftentimes this fear causes us to want to obey authority figures or to fall in line with social pressure. How does this fear show up in our own lives? We might join up with other people who share our particular views of nonacceptance. There can be a rallying point of a political or religious organization or leader that galvanizes our nonacceptance or fears. We see this happening in mass movements. The fear spreads through the media and the population like an epidemic. Society and leaders validate our own nonacceptance and then we adopt it as fact.
In my own case, nonacceptance has everything to do with my own idea, my own opinion, and the validation of those by my peers and by experts or authority figures. As long as the ideas and opinions persist in my mind, I’ll suffer through and perpetrate more and more nonacceptance. My nonacceptance and fear will cause fear and resistance to surface in the minds of individuals I encounter. My nonacceptance will be a barrier to constructive, compassionate interpersonal relationships with other people.
If I fall back on identification with the people who share my own prejudice and nonacceptance, I escape from what is. If I identify with a political, religious, or peer based stance that reinforces nonacceptance I can forget about myself for awhile. I then don’t feel any responsibility to probe my inner nature and to judge others in the lights of objectivity and compassion. I can fall into the questionable comfort of conforming to the social norm regarding non-mainstream people. I avoid dealing with them on an authentic level.
When I remember that resistance and nonacceptance is fear in disguise, I can once again move towards the happier states of mind of clarity, and authenticity.
The Blue Jay of Happiness sees that the understanding of nonacceptance can bring about the purity of acceptance.