Resilience by harnessing the energy of resistance

Let’s talk about resistance and resilience. Ooh two R’s – one that we like a lot, and the other one that we’re gonna become friends with. We denote resilience as a good thing of having the capacity to withstand adversity to overcome challenges. Resistance is, well, sometimes we’re resisting something, like a temptation or a desire that may lead us to something that’s not great for us.

A lot of time we come across resistance as a hurdle within ourselves that we wish to overcome, because all of a sudden I was gonna do this thing that was really important to me. And now I notice I’m kind of stepping around it, sidestepping it, avoiding doing the thing. So, how can we become a little more acquainted with that, and how can we use resistance to maybe become more resilient?

How do we overcome resistance to become more resilient? The first piece in this is that the resistance within us is a little signal. A lot of the time it’s a type of an energy build up. Maybe it’s just activation energy, so if you feel into yourself and there’s resistance, you can’t apply yourself to the task yet. Maybe it’s a notion that I haven’t understood the task well enough yet in order to make the next step.

If it is a continuous task then I can work with leaving a cliffhanger. If it is a task that I do over several days and I know I need to get it completed, then instead of stopping after a big patch and then not being sure about the next step, just so I get that feeling of accomplishment on the first part, maybe it’s a little better to stop in the middle of a sentence. Ernest Hemingway used to do that such that he knew exactly how to continue. Maybe there is a way how we can leave that task in a place where we know exactly how we’re going to continue the next day. That is one way of how we can take that activation energy, the getting ready energy, and apply it directly to the task.

What if that’s not the case? Let’s say we ruled that one out. I’m still sneaking around the thing, that resistance. Let’s take a moment and feel into that. Take a deep breath with me exhale it with a sigh. What else could that resistance be?

Is it a sign that I shouldn’t be doing something? Many of us may have a lot of resistance against doing our taxes early on, for example, because we know it’s an arduous task. It’ll take some effort we don’t feel like we’re expert enough so there is this “I’m not ready, I’m not ready.”

But if we don’t start doing it, we’re not getting ready by waiting longer, so there’s this little procrastination factor in there. Let’s embrace it, let’s just acknowledge that it’s there. Sometimes, the procrastination actually takes more energy from us than it allows us to restore, because what procrastination is is a notion of overwhelm: “This is too much right now. I’m gonna sneak out to do something else instead.”

It’s a means of showing to ourselves “I need to recharge” like, for example, when you zone out on youtube video clips or when you scroll forever through a social media feed. That is a notion of trying to take a break here. Some of us zone out by snacking – that’s also an option. And none of that is going to help us get the thing done, so it’s good to identify it, and then say “okay, I’m going to take a dedicated break” of 10 minutes and then I’m going to apply myself to the task. I’m going to take that first step and if I can’t get it done in one session then I’ll apply the cliffhanger method for the next part of it.

What if that is still not the entire answer, and you know you’re not procrastinating, but you have some resistance within. Your resistance or any emotion is always a signal from our body, some little poke from our intuition, our soul, about our experience of reality.

Maybe there are too many things on our plate right now and, yeah, acknowledging that is not going to make that disappear yet. However, acknowledging it is an important step in it – bringing the awareness to it.

Maybe I can ask somebody for help to overcome that resistance. Maybe I have a friend who knows a little better than I do. Maybe I can look it up somewhere and find some guidance.

The best way to overcome the resistance is to really listen into it. Notice what it’s trying to tell us and teach us and then take a next step. We often feel like those next steps have to be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect. We’d never get anywhere in life. There’s also this false promise of “oh, one day” everything will be perfect in my life – perfect job, perfect relationship, perfect housing, perfect everything, perfect weather outside – it’s not gonna come together quite in that way, because life is always a progression.

We can bet once one area of life is completely smooth, something will pop up in a different area of life as a new level of challenge, so we can expand further. So we can grow further. We are here in these bodies to grow as souls, become the best version of ourselves, not in a competitive way, but because we would like to have this expansive feeling: “ah, new level of insight”, “ah, this is the better way of how to live”. We still appreciate the fullness of life and soak it up, and this brings us to the most difficult point. Difficult in the application even though it’s fairly easy to explain.

Can we embrace the resistance? Can we acknowledge that it’ll always be there? It’ll be a returning old friend, and if we can just see it coming around the corner, and be like “Oops, there you are again, resistance, I see ya! Let’s see how we handle this.”

Instead of resisting against our resistance and telling ourselves we shouldn’t feel resistance – which is a surefire recipe for getting stuck in the resistance for quite a bit longer. It’s the most difficult part because it happens all the time. Happened to me this morning – I could feel the resistance and I didn’t want to resist and so I was stuck in this place of resisting my resistance and then not getting anywhere. I just got in a loop spiral in my head. It doesn’t help. What did help was to say: “Resistance, okay, let me feel this resistance.” Let me feel into it right now – let me feel through it. Let me be curious about why it’s there and what it’s trying to teach me. And then let me take the very next step.

Going through this process is going to increase your resilience a ton because that means all those challenges – they’ll still be challenging, but they won’t throw you completely out of the saddle anymore. And if they do, then you dust yourself off and try again. We do that every single day. Every day, there’s a new start. Every day you can choose. Right now.

I’m sending you a lot of love. I know you can do this. Trust yourself that you can do this. If you would like to dive deeper into this topic, I have a free master class coming up on “Resilience by harnessing your resistance”.
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