persist and resist


while reading the other day i came across a paragraph that caused all the bells to ring:

““Two words,” Epictetus says, “should be committed to memory and obeyed by alternatively exhorting and restraining ourselves, words that will ensure we lead a mainly blameless and untroubled life.” Those two words [are] ‘persist and resist.’”

there’s a lot of power in those two words.

persist in our efforts to live well and resist those things that would drag us down. pretty much the perfect slogan for those of us slogging our way through recovery, be it from substances, behaviours, mental illnesses, or a combination thereof.

i’ve added those words to my daily affirmations and i’m trying to do as they direct.

persist in addressing the thoughts and actions that cause harm. persist in labelling them. persist in letting them go. persist with the idea that change is possible, that things can get better, and that there are bright days ahead.

persist in doing, even when i don’t want to, when every bit of me is saying “give up”.

resist inertia. resist the temptation to head back down the easy and familiar path. resist those dark thoughts that tell me i can’t do it, that i can’t succeed, that i’ll fail.

resist the idea that you are fundamentally flawed. resist the thought that trying is pointless because you’ll never be perfect, never be whole, never be okay. resist the thoughts and actions that try and drag you down, keep you hurting, keep you small.

this is not the resistance of Jungian psychology. it is not to be confused with the proposition that what you resist, persists. that refers to resisting the reality of your situation. to resisting examining your life and choices. to resisting change.

it is not about resisting knowing yourself.

the resistance Epictetus’ refers to is more along the lines of that evidenced by freedom fighters and rebels. it is pushing back against the darkness that wants to envelope us and addressing our problems head on, without shying away, consistently and persistently.

persist in believing you are in control of your thoughts and actions. persist in acting that way as well. persist in believing you are worth it. persist in believing you can do it. persist in believing that the tools you need to carry you through the battles are out there, available for use, and resist the idea that it is too much work. resist the idea that you can’t get it done.

you are stronger than you know and you’re battling for your life. engage.


(an interesting read on the idea of Jungian resistance: )

photo credit: bcstarks
(march 11, 2018)


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