Embracing the Resistance

When we work with inner parts for a while, it becomes obvious that it is about resistance.  Our inner parts share their resistance to life. 

That resistance can show up in many ways.  It can be a resistance to work (or doing anything at all).  It can be a resistance to relationships with others.  It can be a resistance to taking risks or living out our purpose (usually one in the same).  The real forward-movement comes when we look at our resistant thoughts, not the positive thoughts.

But the mainstream self-help world wants us to believe that our healing and recovery happens when we focus on the positive.  It is definitely more convenient.  It feels a lot better.  If we spend our time inundating our minds with positive thoughts, it is a distraction from the pain we are in.  But it doesn’t work … not really.  The power lies in our ability to accept our shadow self, the inner parts within who don’t believe we could ever be good enough, do well enough or even belong on this planet.  If we don’t allow these parts to express, they will stay just below the surface inundating our everyday lives with resistance to what we want.  And there are no mantras for our conscious mind that will overpower the unconscious.  It will never happen.

We may set an intention to write that book we have always wanted to write, but our unconscious is telling us we aren’t good enough to be an author.

We may have a mantra to take more risks, but our unconscious is full of warnings about staying safe at all costs.

We may make a decision to be kinder to our child, but our unconscious is only interested in keeping everyone safe at all costs.

When we allow those unconscious messages to express in writing, it doesn’t make them more powerful.  After they are expressed, they start to release.  We become more aware of them and we realize they are not true.  We come to understand they are based in traumatic experiences.  Eventually, we are able to let go of the power they have over us and take actions based on the direction we want to take our lives.  So why aren’t more of us doing this resistance work if it’s so amazingly helpful?  That’s easy.  This work is not fun.  It is hard work and honestly, it doesn’t feel great.  Here are some reasons we avoid it.

  1. As I mentioned before, positive thinking is the message from the mainstream self-help folks. They love to tell us the key to our success lies in our thoughts.  It is about how they manifest.  And that is true to a point.  Our positive thoughts can manifest a beautiful life.  But they won’t do that while our unconscious resistant thoughts are fighting against them.  The power comes when all the conscious and unconscious thoughts are moving in the same direction.
  2. We believe we might get stuck in it (or send the wrong message to the universe). Many times, we believe that our resistant thoughts will manifest if we embrace them.  We will end up with exactly what we don’t want.  Part of this is encouraged by the mainstream self-help messages.  But it is also true to some extent.  When I am embracing my resistance, I don’t manifest horrible things, but I also don’t manifest a whole bunch of great things either.  When I am in the thick of it, life seems to be a bit stagnant.  It isn’t that much fun to be stagnant.  But let’s be fair, I wasn’t going anywhere when I was ignoring it either.  So I let it come and I deal with that “stuck” feeling for a while until it passes.
  3. Let’s face it. It’s a little depressing to admit we have these thoughts.  It can be hard to love these parts.  Our resistant thoughts rarely come out as rational, kind or compassionate statements.  They can be mean, attacking, insulting and downright nasty.  It takes a brave kind of person to admit to having these parts when society says not to show these emotions or traits.  But if we can allow ourselves to feel how we feel and say what we need to say, we can heal our resistance in incredible ways.  We will even shock ourselves with our progress.

How is your inner talk stopping you from moving forward?  Instead of blocking it, fighting it or ignoring it, can you allow yourself to embrace it?  Can you get past the discomfort that comes with this resistance and let it express?  Can you accept these resistant parts of you and allow what is there to be there?

In other words, can you change your life?

Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW

Embracing the Resistance was originally published @ Beating Trauma and has been syndicated with permission.

Photo by fidber


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