Shifting from Resistance to Acceptance

One of the challenges on the adventure of whole-heartedness is shifting from resistance to acceptance, especially in relation to emotions. Learning to realise that each morning when we wake up is a Guest House.


Poem: The Guest House by Jellaludin Rumi

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.”


Shifting from Resistance to Acceptance

When I first heard the Guest House poem at the MBSR Course I did – I loved it! However, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. I can see when I first started mindfulness, how much resistance I had to facing my challenges and discomfort within my experiences (especially my emotions). I love how Christopher Germer shares this as his five stage of acceptance.


The 5 Stages of Acceptance

In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions, Germer shares his 5 stages of acceptance. The stages are –

  1. Aversion – avoiding or resisting what is going on,
  2. Curiosity – starting to turn to the discomfort with interest and curiosity,
  3. Tolerance – safely enduring,
  4. Allowing – letting the discomfort (feelings) come and go,
  5. Friendship – seeing the value of all experiences and befriending your experiences of life (i.e. sitting down with the guest and listening to what the guest has to say).

It is important to note, that this is not a linear process – it is dynamic. The stages are about learning to have a new relationship with life and the feelings/emotions and thoughts associated with it – moving from resistance to acceptance. As resistance creates suffering and acceptance alleviates it.


Over to You…

Do you have any questions in relation to acceptance? Remember, acceptance is not about tolerating disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour, it is about accepting what is happening emotionally and mentally in this moment. You can read more here. If you have any questions/comments, feel free to share them below in the comments section.


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

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