What is Resistance?
Resistance sucks the life out of us. Resistance prevents us from reaching our potential, from attaining goals and from enjoying a fulfilling life. Resistance promulgates guilt, fear and self-hatred. Resistance pulls us up short and stops us from ever getting started. Resistance is afraid of success, fearful of making new connections and can even stop us from becoming fit and healthy. Resistance is masterful at making up excuses. Resistance is the thief of time and the stealer of life.
“Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines”
~ Pink Floyd, ‘Time’
Resistance is when you set aside any opportunity to improve your life, reach a long-term goal, effect lasting change, stick to a commitment, or overcome fear. When you choose immediate gratification over determination to reach your higher good, you are giving in to resistance. You let it beat you.
Resistance takes various forms. It is hidden in procrastination, perfectionism, and multitasking. It is masked by constant busy-ness. It slyly reveals itself by incessant engagement with social media. It is finally exposed when we are faced with the realization that a year, a decade, a lifetime has passed and we never did reach those personal goals. Or expressed ourselves through creativity. Or written that book. Or lost the extra 30 pounds we’ve carried around since forever.
Resistance stands between you and your real self. Resistance is the voice of your small self, your ego. The trouble is, it’s so loud and screechy, we feel we must listen. Resistance thinks it knows better than your inner being. You might think resistance is protecting you, but it isn’t. It’s job is protect the ego. That’s all. Meanwhile you are not living the life you were born to live.
Procrastination is Resistance
Procrastination can be sub-divided into two types. One is positive and beneficial; the other is a thief of time.
When considering a decision or course of action and you get a definite intuitive feeling that you should postpone it, your internal guidance is informing you that doing nothing is the right way. Often you’ll find as a little time passes the dilemma resolves itself. From the outside it looks as if you are procrastinating, but from your own unique perspective, you are merely waiting and witnessing.
The second type of procrastination is when you replace a task by undertaking another, possibly unnecessary activity. You need to get started on that assignment but first you have to check your FaceBook feed. You really should get that essay written but you must clean the kitchen first. Those are probably temporary distractions and you will eventually get the more important task completed. Yet, you could fit it all in if you recognize when you are resisting.
However, where this kind of behavior really causes problems is when you have a dream or a long-term goal. Let’s say you have a novel burning inside you but you just can’t get started. You use every excuse under the sun to avoid sitting down and constructing an outline. This is resistance, pure and simple.
Perfectionism is Resistance
Perfectionism is related to procrastination. Perfectionism puts the brakes on your dreams, informing you that you are not good enough to complete the project. Perfectionism makes you do-over, and do-over again. Perfectionism causes you to give up. Perfectionism causes missed deadlines. Perfectionism prevents your self-expression. Perfectionism is death to art.
Of course, many activities require high standards. An eye for perfection is not the same thing as crippling perfectionism. A skilled crafts person needs patience and a highly developed awareness of detail. That’s a given. The problem of perfectionism arises when you want to learn to paint, but think you aren’t creative enough. Or learning any skill because you failed at your first attempt 20 years ago. Perfectionism is, indeed, fear of failure.
Multi-tasking is Resistance
We think multi-tasking is good. We’re so efficient and clever we can do three things at once and do them well. It’s not true. Multi-tasking causes stress. Stress is resistance. You can’t give your attention to one task properly if you are distracted by another. Stop. Refocus. Use the fifteen minute rule. Do one thing, and one thing only for fifteen minutes, or until it is completed. Let everything else slide while you do it. Then turn to the next job. Doesn’t that feel better?
How to Overcome Resistance
Don’t change your behavior, but keep track of your activities. Try this for two days. Keep a log of every little thing you do in fifteen minute segments. If the actions are less than fifteen minutes, you can group them together. The object of this exercise is to expose all those diversionary tactics you use to fill up your day. It’s eye-opening.
Once your two-day log is completed, give yourself deadlines and daily goals. Don’t fill the day up; start small. Such as eat a proper breakfast. Write 100 words of a blog post, or the introduction to that essay.
Manage your time efficiently in whatever way works best for you. Meal planning, grocery shopping, commuting, insomnia – there are many activities that suck time from your schedule and energy from your body. Address them to free up more time and give you fewer reasons to resist your good.
Limit internet and TV time. You can do it. Your activity log highlighted the hours spent surfing and binge-watching. Those are hours you’ll never get back. No-one is saying you can’t watch TV, simply that if you limit yourself, you’ll have more time and you’ll appreciate the time you do get to relax.
Self-talk is the best way to overcome resistance. Notice when you give reasons why you can’t do something. Are they excuses? Are you denying yourself the opportunity to follow a dream? Is it resistance? Just about to give in to the urge to eat a donut? You are resisting the opportunity to allow healthiness, slenderness and confidence. You might be surprised how easy it becomes to make a different choice when you recognize how resistance sucks away your personal power and sabotages your goals.
Living a Non-resistant Life
Non-resistance is not weakness. Allowing your highest good doesn’t have to be a battle with a donut. It’s not about willpower or inner strength. You don’t have to grit your teeth to fight resistance. It’s a question of recognizing it and making a different choice. Shrug your shoulders, know that you can eat a donut on another day and let it go.
Need to get that assignment done but can’t bring yourself to get in the chair and get started? Promise yourself you’ll write the first paragraph and then see how it goes. Right now, in this moment, you can write that first one hundred words.
Give yourself permission to fail. In fact, even if you are unhappy with what you produced, at least you got started. Pick up that paintbrush. Make that phone call. Don’t think about the future or that impossible long-term goal that seems so far away. Just think about now. What decision can you make right now that takes you forward?
Give up resistance and discover how powerful you are.
Images courtesy of Pixabay