Are You Experiencing Resistance?
Does a part of you want to move forward, to get out of your own negativity, and overcome your inner limitations – but you are not taking the steps?
Are you frustrated because you find yourself moving one step forwards and another one backwards, and you feel stuck in the same place that you’re used to?
If this is your experience, you can be sure, what is happening is RESISTANCE. There are always parts within us that do not want to change, that go for safety first – and it may often seems safer to stick with what we know. Resistance is the experience of those inner parts in the face of a big goal, or the vision, or simply the idea that things can be different for you – and that you want them to be.
If you want to accomplish a big change in your life, you need to know about resistance, and you need to know how to recognize it, and how to take away its power.
How to Recognize Resistance
Resistance has a lot to do with old emotions and thoughts that are stuck in our system telling us that we don’t deserve – for things to be easy, to get what we want, to be happy, loved and successful. Resistance can originate in shame about ourselves and our past, guilt about not being good enough, or being rejected, or not belonging. It can come out in fear, in anger, total apathy or tiredness, or in a sensation of it being impossible for us to reach our goals. It can come out in constant worries – it can even hide within a continuous fight for “making it” – always crowned with the frustration of never quite getting there.
And many times, resistance manifests in our lives as avoidance: We are very good at building a wall and protecting ourselves from having to be aware of those negative parts in ourselves. We have lots of strategies: Sometimes we simply dissociate, we ignore a certain option or a certain part of our experience – and we shift our perception to what we know and what feels safe. The irony is that in the stage of resistance we feel safer with what we know – even if that is something very limited and negative.
Resistance Is an Attempt to Protect Ourselves
In its essence, resistance is an attempt to protect ourselves from suffering, or from what we assume will make us suffer: feeling negative emotions.
If you think about all these ways in which resistance shows up in our lives, you can recognize that resistance is a strategy of self-defense – but it ends up harming you because it operates on the basis of old and mostly overdue information. Maybe it was useful for your survival at some point to blend in and keep yourself small, and to meet other people’s expectations. But what if those expectations are not your own now? What if by blending in, you just make yourself feel bad, because you know on a very profound level that you are so much more?
What to Do About Your Resistance
Most of us have the idea when we see our resistance, that what we have to do is “overcome it” with a lot of effort. We see it like a hindrance, a burden, an obstacle that keeps us from being ourselves. We expect the process to be like running into a brick wall, and pushing through… and that is why we don’t even start! Why we give up, let us be discouraged. Why we freeze, and repeat the same actions and patterns. It just seems too much.
What if I tell you that it’s not about “overcoming” your resistance, but about making it a part of you? What if by recognizing the negative emotions and impulses you are fighting down as part of yourself, they just blend in, dissolve, and bring you closer to your innate power?
Being with our resistance and transcending it has nothing to do with a brick wall, and everything with empowerment and growth. In fact, you will find most of your power behind the most negative “obstacles”.
It can be easy to make your resistance work in your favor, and to get out of the back and forth of the repetitive cycle. All you have to do as a first step is take a decision: decide that you want to get your power back, and transform your resistance. No matter, what your mind tells you or what your feelings tell you – you set your intention to grow beyond the self-imposed limitations.
And then you open up – and you let yourself be helped. It is always MUCH easier to perceive resistance from the outside, when it’s not yours. It lies in its nature – of protecting us from feeling something: Many times, we are not even aware of it, or of what it’s about. We have a blind spot. But other people may easily be able to see it and connect with it, and give it space and the attention it needs.
There are ways of transforming the inner negativity that will keep it from ever coming up again. And there are ways of being with yourself and in the process that will make you feel much more empowered, and make you happy because you will see your progress.
Being stuck in this same experience, alternating between believing in yourself and wanting to “go for it”, and pulling back, thwarting yourself, self-sabotaging, or simply not taking action – this inner struggle may well be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Because only when you are REALLY sick of it, when you are REALLY done hitting your head against the brick wall, that’s when you will be ready and willing to decide – I am going beyond my resistance. I am learning new ways, and trying new tools and getting help and inspiration and support. I am trying something new, and I have nothing to loose. Because at that point – anything will be better than repeating the same thing over and over again.
I promise: That step is the only big hurdle you will ever have to overcome when it comes to resistance.