Let’s talk about RESISTANCE.
It's an ugly word, and an even uglier feeling. Everyone experiences it. Some people let it discourage them, while others understand it can be a sign you're on the right path. It’s something you’re going to feel a lot while on this journey, so might as well understand it.
I was recently at a Tony Robbins seminar and the way he explained resistance to change was spot on. I thought it really hit the nail on the head when it comes to recovering.
The resistance you feel to recovery is a mismatch between the identity you've been living in and the person you have the potential to become.
Let's say the identity you've been living in is a level 70, and the person you want to be has to rise to a level 95. You are going to feel a lot of resistance trying to get there. Your identity doesn't like discomfort. It doesn't like challenges. It activates the survival brain that says “this is threatening and I’m shutting the whole thing down”. You’re body excretes all the stress hormones. You rationalize why it's "not a good time". You mentally exhaust yourself. Maybe tomorrow, you say.
When you feel this, it can be tricky to know when to push through or rest. A good rule of thumb that I apply to my life is this:
1) If resistance is coupled with "WHAT IF'S" (ex: what if they don't like what I have to say, what if I look fat in that, what if he says no...), anxiety, and overthinking - then it is often mental/emotional resistance due to fear of being rejected, vulnerable, or truly seen. This is when we have to put our big girl panties on and push through.
2) If resistance is felt because you truly don't enjoy something, or you're physically tired, or you just can't stand the thought of doing said thing one more day - it's most likely time to rest or put an expiration date on that activity altogether.
When you feel resistance to change, ask yourself the following:
- Is my emotional safety being threatened?
- Is there a chance for rejection or vulnerability?
- Is this requiring a change in my character?
If the answer is yes to any of those, you are likely feeling emotional resistance due to fear.
Most often there is something amazing on the other side of emotional (or fear based) resistance. That’s when the greatest breakthroughs happen.
Listening to your gut is also key when it comes to resistance.
Here’s an example: Sometimes I feel resistance to go to the gym. Am I feeling anxiety about going to the actual gym because it puts me in a vulnerable situation? Or is my body saying I should do something more restorative? Or perhaps, I didn’t sleep well the night before and my body is trying to tell me to rest.
This is when it gets tricky, but with some practice and listening to your body you will start to get better at deciphering whether your brain is trying to protect you from a fear or is trying to tell you to rest.
To wrap this up, the only way to get through resistance is to take baby steps forward.
Especially on the really hard days, it might be the littlest baby step ever, but it can make the biggest impact. Mel Robbins talks about the “five second rule”, and how it has been scientifically proven to change the way your brain works to help you achieve your goals. From the very second you think of something you need to do - count down in your head 5-4-3-2-1 and TAKE ACTION. Right away. Otherwise you will start rationalizing, the "what-ifs" will start, and you won't feel like it. I encourage you to look more into this.
You have no idea the impact it has on your brain when you prove you can do something that you really didn’t want to. No step forward is too small. Keep listening to your body and trust you’re making the decisions that are right for you at the time.