Dealing With Resistance

Winter walk in Winterswijk

Let’s talk about resistance. More relevant than ever, as we are all experiencing it these days with a lockdown that takes longer than we could ever imagine. Possibly you are also trying to combine your work with home-schooling your children. Not an easy job.

Feeling resistant in itself is not a problem. It is part of life: where there is change, resistance will show up. As long as you are willing to let the feeling flow through you, you are perfectly fine.

Harmful situations

There are two situations, however, in which resistance does become an issue:

1. If you are unaware of it.

2. If you don’t want to deal with it and choose to numb the feeling with working hard, eating peanut butter crackers (or anything else within reach) or binge watching Netflix.

Now the energy that comes with the resistance stays constricted within your body. Eventually, this will make you sick.

Checking in with yourself

You haven’t noticed any resistance within you since the beginning of the pandemic? Time to take pause and check in with yourself. Find yourself a quiet place and have pen and paper handy. Take a couple of belly breaths and decide to turn your attention inwards. The easiest way to do this is by following your breath. Notice how the air enters the nostrils, how it inflates your stomach and with your exhale leaves your body through your nose again. Then, ask yourself this question: Is there anything inside me that I am keeping at arm’s length and requires my attention now? Start to journal on this topic and write down what ever comes to your awareness. Do not censor yourself. You might actually surprise yourself!

Resistance doesn’t magically disappear

If you recognize yourself in the second situation and realize that you are suppressing your feelings of resistance, know that you are not the only one. Trying to ignore things that you don’t want in your life is the most common response. Unfortunately, it’s not the most useful one.

The first thing you need to know is that resistance won’t disappear by itself. No matter how much there are parts within you that really want the uncomfortable feeling to go, that will not happen. If you try to ignore the stress, the unrest or the irritation, or supress it by keeping yourself really busy, it might go underground for some times, only to show its head again at a moment that you are least expecting it. Think when your partner hasn’t done the dishes and you find yourself exploding in front of him. Oops, where did that come from?

It is what it is

Let me give you a more resourceful strategy. You start with acknowledging what you feel in this moment. For example: Ah, I feel stressed out. Yes, that is how I feel. I can tell by my shallow breath. No wonder that I had this outburst in the kitchen. Giving yourself some compassionate attention in this way, does wonders.

Now try this little sentence from focusing expert Ann Weiser Cornell: ‘It is what it is and this too shall pass.’ A friendly reminder for you that everything is temporary, including the stressful situation you are in. Feel how your body responds to it. Does it help to sooth your system?

Are your stress levels higher than usual and do you find yourself in survival mode? It’s normal. These Covid-months are quite demanding for all of us. If you longing to improve your resilience and if you are willing to take the action steps, honour the inner call that you feel right now and book your connection call with me. Let’s talk.