Resistance is often seen as a problem, or even a character flaw. Instead, it can be seen as a gift of information from our deeper selves.
Changing the focus
At the beginning of a session, a client courageously announced, “I didn’t want to come today.” When I invited him to explore his feeling further, he said, “I don’t want to pay more attention to my pain. It claims too much of my life already.” Honoring this core truth, the focus of our session was on relaxation massage and noticing what’s working in his life. He left the session feeling renewed and supported. His “resistance” carried an important message about what he needed in that moment.
Resistance comes in many forms:
- Procrastination on a task which “should” be easy.
- The urgent desire to be elsewhere.
- Forgetting to do something.
- Losing things, dropping things, generally being inefficient.
- Temper tantrums (for the younger set).
- Self-judgment – “I shouldn’t feel this way”
- Self-sabotage – doing something even though “I know better.”
- Fill in your own favorite resistance here: _________________________.
In our earnest attempts to heal and become better people, many of us judge ourselves cruelly for our resistance in an increasing spiral of self-hatred and despair. “There’s something wrong with me.” “I must not want to heal.” “I’m projecting my past onto this situation.”
In my own healing process, I’ve found that whenever I’m feeling the most stuck, my resistance contains the key to resolution and forward motion. When I finally stop trying to fix myself and surrender into the “unacceptable” feeling I’ve been fighting so hard, something shifts deep inside and I can move forward again.
Stuckness is part of the journey
Even as I’m writing this article, wryly wondering why it takes so long to remember to surrender each time, I’m realizing that the stuckness itself is part of the journey, and not a reason for self-judgment. All my feelings are messages from my deeper self, even, or maybe especially, the ones I label “unreasonable”.
Next time you notice that you’re in resistance, try sitting with your feelings for a while, and attend to the messages they carry about your own deep truth. See what happens when you give yourself permission to feel exactly how you feel right now.
There are many books about self-acceptance and embracing resistance.