Resistance to change
How to do the things you want to do (but don’t)
Why is it that we can have a burning desire to do something but then prevent our self from doing it?
We are of course talking about resistance.
I want to say before delving into this one that I am not putting myself forward as being free of resistance, even to the very things I see as the most important. I want to share with you today my thoughts on why this happens and what we can do about it.
Before that though, here is a short list of some of the ways I have known resistance to manifest
As you read them see if you can spot the common theme(s)
Preoccupation with negative aspects of the environment
Taking greater interest and attention on irrelevant menial tasks
Preoccupation with the past or future
Discounting advice or “streamlining” advice into what fits our own bias’
Outbursts of anger
False promises or forgetting to do what is agreed upon
Did you spot the themes? Personally it seems to me that control and using up time is the underlying theme, what do you think?
Here are some of the more common reasons, as I see it for creating resistance and how to get around them;
Who are we to the world around us? What piece of their puzzle do we represent?
One of the reasons for our resistance to change appears to be our character. We feel we are a certain way just because that is who we “are”. Where does the concept of our character come from though? If we check, our perception of who we are comes mostly from either how others think of us or from comparison to others. If we are overweight our comparison to others and the way they respond to us confirms that we are overweight.
Character therefore is almost dictated by the opinions of those who surround us and can’t be thought of as a permanent thing because others opinions change.
If we become fit and healthy our comparison to others may then change and we realise that we are not overweight anymore, we are now in great shape!
Others might then relate to us differently and reinforce this. The way strangers relate to us will often change before those who are close to us. Bare in mind that your success in changing yourself represents a change in the world of those close to you either at home, socially or at work. For some people seeing others succeed at something they have tried and failed in is painful and something they may create barriers against.
2) It’s not all rainbows and unicorns
Sometimes we make excuses to avoid doing stuff we simply don’t want to do. Other times we put things in the way because we really, really want something!
This doesn’t make logical sense. Dig a little deeper, though, and things start to become clear.
“If I do this thing that I really want I might prove once and for all that I’ll never be any good at it.”
“It might prove that all the time I have spent imagining my future was a waste of time.”
“If I try, I might fail.”
Or, “If I step into this new identity for myself, I’ll have to let go of my old comfortable identity. With all the comfortable habbits of control and time wasting that stop me from *having to do things.”
(*Choosing to actually do the things that are important to me)
This process can be tough, but tough is ok. Embrace the tough elements of change and they will have less power to cause you pain.
Fear can arise for a variety of reasons when change is happening; fear of looking stupid, fear of failure, fear of creating an “unknown” future for our self.
If we look at this last one we can see with our own logic that our future is not known in any context. It’s just that we have had longer to predict and come to terms with what our future may look like if we continue along the path we are on.
If we can notice fear within us, the tempting thing to do is to quickly distract our self and brush it under the proverbial carpet as if it didn’t exist.
Try to sit with it, acknowledge it and not judge yourself negatively for having it (we all do have it)
When resistance rises in us we can feel that we have a number of very logical reasons to avoid doing what we want to do.
A good technique I have found that stops us from considering these reasons logical is to either try to verbalise them or to write them down.
Doing this tends to expose a lack of logic behind the reasons.
N.B. taking time out to do this is a difficult thing to do because the mind of resistance is always in a hurry.
How to break this cycle?
Look at your resistances as parts of a “character” (here meaning a transient idea built on other peoples opinions)that is trying to cling on. Accept it’s resistances, acknowledge them and do your best to understand their origins and motivation.
This strange paradox of ideals and fears, is, however much it doesn’t feel like it, who you are now.
Accepting that very fact gives you the power to finally change into what you want to become.