Resilience is often seen as getting tougher. There is a whole field of mental toughness training and focus on effort and hard work to accomplish achievement. I have just spent the weekend immersed in the Three Principles and the implications of this understanding on resilience. Rather than feeling toughened up, I feel softer. My heart feels more open. I feel less reserved and freer to be myself. I have a deeper knowing that my true strength and power do not come from my personal effort, but rather from opening up to something greater than myself. I feel more deeply the power of love and my strength of heart.

This has felt too vulnerable for me at times. Strength looked like it came from having it all together and eliminating my weaknesses. I felt not good enough. Consequently, I would put a lot of energy into improving myself or at least preventing my weaknesses from being seen. I innocently thought I had to earn my worthiness and my strength would come from that.

All this did was have me hold back. It prevented me from being present to myself and from connecting with depth and warmth with others. The electrical undercurrent of fear would have me second-guess myself and hold back. Somehow I got looking good and being strong mixed up. I felt destabilized by my feelings of vulnerability. I didn’t want the softness of my underbelly to be seen. It represented to me the hallmark of my fragility and that was shameful. I had learned to toughen up over the years and to keep my unmentionable character flaws out of sight.

I didn’t see that this hiding was the fragility. It would keep my energy consumed with protecting myself by managing how I came across. I didn’t realize that robbing myself of spontaneity was exhausting and actually left me more vulnerable to slights against my ego because I could never get it quite right. I could never completely hide the parts of me I found not good enough. They would seep out through the seams. A harsh word would slip through, an unkind comment, a wobble in my voice, or a shake in my hand. My sensitive, emotional nature would refuse to stay fully camouflaged and would show up like unwanted tics that I could never quite control. In my effort to be strong, in my attempts to toughen up, I lost my resilience. I became brittle with fatigue and weakened by fear. Effort and pushing harder were not going to help me. All working harder would do give me more stirred up thinking and consequently an even greater lack of perspective.

Instead, it was my softening that made the difference. Seeing myself with kinder eyes. Allowing myself to settle. This is all that was needed. It opened me up to recognizing that I am not damaged or less than. I am human. When I see I am normal, I no longer need to put effort into managing how I come across and hide parts of myself. I no longer experience myself as broken and instead recognize I am whole. My damaged self is a trick of the eye. One moment I see it, the next it is gone.

In the softening and the opening of my heart there is a deeper experience of my resilience. There is no fear. I am no longer protecting myself from pain and suffering. Not because I won’t have them, but because they don’t matter to me. My invincibility does not come from never being hurt. My invincibility is grounded in that not mattering because I bounce back. This is freedom, the freedom to walk without the weight of worrying about how to protect myself from feelings like humiliation and unworthiness. The freedom of knowing I can look them square in the eye and even be swallowed by them whole, and I will still come out the other side unscathed. It is the freedom of feeling who I am beyond my thoughts and my feelings. There is a foundation that is unshakeable no matter how shaken I am. It is from this space inside of myself that I am replenished. I am given what I need real time.

It is in the softening and the opening that the energy of who I am is able to express itself most fully through me. In the spaciousness of freedom of mind, I experience my presence, my true strength, and my resilience. This is what the gift of the Three Principles has given me. It helped me to embrace my humanness and see that it is not a liability. In fact, it is a blessing that allows me to open more fully to the love in my heart by having compassion. It is from having compassion for myself that I am able to have it for others.

The principles point to truth, and we each hear what we need to hear. For me, they pointed me to my innate wellbeing and mental health by showing me that I did not need to do one thing to fix myself or change my psychology. They gave me respect for the innate intelligence inside of me that is designed to allow me to settle into a peaceful state without any effort or technique. They helped me to claim my birthright of worthiness and value that belongs to each one of us independent of our behavior and our circumstances. All of this and more happened from me seeing more clearly that there is nowhere I need to get to. No matter what my ego/personality concocts, based on its limited point of view, I am still pure consciousness. That is always available to me because it is who I am. It is who we all are. And the only thing that gets in the way of me experiencing the love that is this pure consciousness is my limited personal thinking — plain and simple. And, even better, it doesn’t matter that this happens because it can never take away the fact of my true nature.

The Three Principles points to beyond thought. Judith Sedgeman writes about this in Love is Not What You Think . She says, “Love is a spiritual force, the deep aliveness that is the essence of being before we think about it.” There is love before thought. In the mystery of the formless all potential and all solutions reside. A deep connection with this space is our ultimate resilience. The Three Principles understanding supports me with becoming less entangled in my thinking and less entranced by the variability of my moment-to-moment human experience. This helps me open more fully to my source where my true resilience lies.

Gritting down and pushing through, closes down our capacity to be open to our true nature. It is in the surrender and the opening to that which is greater than our personal self that we get filled up with love, presence, and inspiration. That is our superpower, and it is who we are. We cannot work on it or develop it. Just like we can’t work on being human. We simply wake up more fully to the fullness of who we are.

Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a psychotherapist, a transformative coach, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, Rohini and Angus have an upcoming Free Webinar: The Three Principles and Relationships Monday October 30th at 7:30 pm PST as well as an upcoming workshop, Relationship Essentials, November 11 -12, 2017 in Topanga, CA click here for more details.