The Power of Resistance & Acceptance 

By Kristen King, MPS, WRAP Project Manager and Certified WRAP Facilitator, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc.

One of the things I love most about WRAP is that, even though I’ve been using it for almost 10 years, I’m still constantly learning about myself through this process. Last week, I shared with you one of my biggest life changes: Moving cross-country. The same day that article posted, I had a major revelation about change in my life.

That day, I made the choice to accept a change I had been resisting for a long time: the end of a friendship that had been important to me for many years. Even though letting go was the natural next step for both of us, it was still painful, which is why I had been avoiding it for months. But as soon as I took action by acknowledging and consciously accepting the end of this relationship, something shifted inside me. There was a noticeable change. I felt physically different.

I also felt incredibly, incredibly uncomfortable, like I wanted to run away—so I did. Running is one of my biggest wellness tools, and I took off into the woods to run out that discomfort. Running is the only time I feel completely myself, the only time I can shut off that internal voice that questions everything. It’s the time I return to who I really am, without the distraction and frustration of anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings. My runs are how I process big emotions, when the solutions to my biggest problems appear, and when I experience deep insight. This run was particularly powerful. It uncovered a huge early warning sign that had been invisible to me.

Kristen at the beginning of the trail. This run seemed like a good idea at the time!

During my run last week, I had a sudden moment of clarity: When I’m resisting something in my life, I’m completely blocked from my two biggest wellness tools—running and writing. Even though they’re my most powerful outlets and things I consider the core of my identity, they both feel literally impossible to me when I am resisting change. That’s the early warning sign I’d been missing. As I ran, I thought back to other times in my life when I’d resisted something—a breakup, or a health issue, or a problem I didn’t want to deal with—and every time I could see how resisting change had created a block. During those times, I completely stopped running and I completely stopped writing—every time. I realized very clearly that when I resist, I close myself off, and I suffer for it. When I accept, I open up.

One of the views that helped keep me going, even when I wanted to quit. 

I’m now in the process of grieving the end of this friendship, and I’m working on leaning into my grief instead of resisting it. I’m trying to write something every day and to run at least a few times a week. This past weekend, I headed out to the trails to process the deep sadness I’m feeling. This run was another powerful experience but in a different way. This second time it was a comedy of errors. My ears were killing me (I live at a high altitude where that’s not uncommon, but this was the first time it had ever happened to me!), I had to go to the bathroom constantly, I got stuck in waist-deep snow when I ventured off the trail, I spent 3 miles convinced I was about to throw up at any moment, water bottles and sunblock spontaneously flew out of my hands and tumbled down hills—literally every random thing that could go wrong on a run went wrong. It was like driving from Florida to Colorado all over again. I’d never wanted to quit a run so badly in my life.

I’d also never been so committed to not giving up. After realizing that resistance in one area makes me close down in others, I knew I had to lean into this run just as I needed to lean into my grief. It became a physical way to work through the emotional pain I was experiencing. I imagined each physical obstacle as a wave of emotion to ride. I completed 7.85 awful miles of my planned 9-mile route before I had to call for a ride to get home in time for my husband to go to work.

I survived the run only a little worse for the wear, and came out of it feeling a whole lot more powerful than when I began.

Even though I stopped earlier than I’d planned, that run was a victory. In writing about it, I’ve gained further clarity on what I learned. In powering through that run, I came to know myself as someone who didn’t quit even when no one was watching, as someone who can be sad and still go on, and as someone who can embrace discomfort instead of running away from it. I came to know myself as powerful.

It will take time to settle into a “new normal” without this friendship as part of my life. I’m choosing to accept that I’m sad about this, that it feels like a loss, and that there’s nothing wrong with those emotions. I’m not weak. I’m not acting like a baby. I’m just sad. Nothing will replace that special relationship, and my grief honors how important it was to me.

I know I can and do have other amazing relationships in my life, so I’m also choosing to use this experience as an opportunity to expand my support network and deepen relationships with other people who are important to me. Instead of resisting this change, I’m using my wellness tools—like writing this article—to help me accept it and stay open to what is coming next. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s messy. Even when it hurts. Even when I want to run away.

Is there something in your life you’ve been resisting? Do you see it affecting you in other areas? How can you use your WRAP to work through it? How powerful could you become if you accepted it and leaned into it? If you have ideas or experiences to share about using WRAP to work through big changes, grief, or other challenges, we’d love to hear them. Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment.

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