Most transitions are uncomfortable to lesser or greater degrees. It’s no wonder we might feel resistant to change. Change that we may perceive as unwelcome or unwanted.
Here’s what we need to know about resistance to navigate the changes in our lives powerfully.
Resistance is Normal
Change can be unpleasant. So, it’s perfectly normal to feel some resistance.
The tendency, though, is to add fuel to the fire. Focus on the negative by piling on more negative.
We do this by complaining to our family, our spouses, and our friends. We do this by replaying the event in our minds over and over (e.g. the moment our boss told us they’d no longer be requiring our services).
Transitions can oftentimes be easier if we can simply say, “well, that sucked” and begin to focus on the future instead of on what has already happened and what can’t be changed.
By no means am I saying this is easy. But oftentimes there are better opportunities on the other side of transition, and many people say they feel a sense of relief when change occurs. They said they felt relieved of not having to go back to a job, a relationship, a team, or otherwise.
If relief is what you’re feeling, then follow that emotion. Because it’s probably telling you something.
Resistance Can Carry Important Messages
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve been at a job for 10 years. Things were great up until year nine. But for some reason, in year 10, you started to dread going to work.
You always saw yourself in the career you’re in, and you loved it. You planned out your entire future and career path to advancement.
But now, for some inexplicable reason, you can’t even motivate yourself to get up to go to work anymore.
Now, sometimes all this means is you need to step away for a while, maybe take a vacation. Do something else and recharge your batteries.
But it can also mean that the job is no longer your highest calling. There could be something better waiting for you. Something that challenges and expands you instead of leaving you feeling like you’re living Groundhog Day over and over.
Resistance can carry critical messages. These messages aren’t always accurate, and typically need to be put to the test (you can ask trusted friends, family, mentors, coaches, and so on).
But this also comes with the warning that you can’t outsource your life to others. You must make decisions that resonate with you and are aligned with your values.
Surrendering is a bit of an art form, and generally it’s easy to say and harder to implement.
What’s important to recognize is that resistance builds up within ourselves. It can’t be found in another person, event, or circumstance, though we might be quick to place blame.
Your resistance is your own to deal with.
When something isn’t going our way, prevailing wisdom says, “try harder”, or “keep going”, or “don’t give up.”
And the very act of trying harder, persisting, and doing things in a “more, better, different” way leads to no breakthrough whatsoever.
And by “more, better, different” I mean doing more of something, doing it better, or doing it differently. There’s little to no access to breakthrough in these actions (likely, you can reflect on your own life and see examples at work). Incremental progress, perhaps, but no breakthrough.
So, unless we want resistance to spiral out of control and make our situations even more uncomfortable, the best thing to do is let go. Allow. Things might even change for the positive all on their own when you surrender.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Move into a space of trusting and allowing. Move into a space of surrender. Notice how the things you look at begin to change.
It’s Not Bad or Wrong
Because resistance is uncomfortable, the temptation is to make it bad or wrong.
Resistance is just letting you know that change is inevitable. That change may be within yourself. Changing your attitude or the way you think about your current situation could be an elegant solution to a seemingly impossible situation.
Sometimes transitions are more expansive. They can look and feel like complete upheaval.
If there’s one thing we can count on in this world, it’s change. There are few things we can count on with greater certainty than change.
This can take some time to accept. Because we get used to things as they are and expect that they will never change – even though this is an unreasonable request and an impossible one for the universe to fulfill on.
As I look back on every major commitment I’ve made, the commitment was always met with a challenge. It showed up in relationships, in health, in business, and other unexpected places.
And many of those challenges were difficult. They even appeared insurmountable at times.
But on the other side of those challenges was always something beautiful. Something amazing. Something heartfelt, encouraging, miraculous, or some variation thereof.
So, resistance is not bad or wrong. Because something is trying to emerge, and we are better served allowing that thing to emerge instead of resisting it. Can you see how that ball of resistance can quickly snowball if we add to it?
Resistance, Final Thoughts
Life throws all manner of curve-balls our way and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer for every situation.
But if you understand what resistance is and can recognize it in your life, you can deal with it consciously, and therefore, powerfully.
How do you deal with resistance? What has been your greatest challenge connected to it?
I look forward to sharing more on Life Transitions and am always happy to answer questions or cover topics you’d like to learn more about.
Simply let me know in the comments!
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.