Contrary to what the peaceful photo above suggests, I am not feeling super pumped about this writing thing right now. I used to blog, rather prolifically. That was about seven years ago. I've had blogging on my "list" of things to do for my business and practice for the last two years. TWO YEARS. And I still haven't. So here I am, sitting in the midst of my own resistance, wondering why I (and the collective "we") refuse to do things that we know are good for us.
"Eat your veggies." "Get a good night's sleep." Things our parents and loved ones told us to keep us healthy. But the veggies were bitter, and there were more exciting things to do at night. That is the simplest form of resistance: Doing one thing because we don't like the other, even though it would benefit us.
So, why? Why has it taken me two years to blog? Why does my dad still avoid veggies? Why does my friend still stay up until 2am when he has to go to work at 8am? Why do we hang on to the less effective behavior when a better thing - a better life - awaits us?
There is hope...
First off, if you notice resistance in your life, that means you've found something that matters.
Think about that "But I don't wanna!" feeling. Do you have it yet? Let me know when you do...
In therapy, when I'm working with a client and they begin to resist, I know that's when the "real" work has started. The question I ask, is:
1. What is your goal?
If the thing you are resisting gets in the way of your goal, quit resisting! Sounds simple, yes? For some people that's enough. If you need a bit more, keep reading...
2. Feel bad about it.
Well, maybe not bad. Just FEEL. I rarely ask clients to ruminate on the bad feelings, but sometimes an emotional response is what you need to shake yourself into action and change. How important is this goal to you? Better yet, ask yourself what your life would be like if you did NOT reach your goal?
What will your life look like if you never lose that weight? If you never get that promotion? If you stay in that unhealthy relationship? If you stay depressed? Whatever it is, feel that feeling of loss and let it influence you to action. What you have to look forward to is the sheer JOY of actually achieving your goal!
3. Look for what lies beneath.
If you've reached the point where you are ready to go get that goal - where not reaching it is worse than making the change - look for the root. Hesitance to change isn't always a bad thing. It's just a thing. In fact, it can keep us safe, it maintains social order, it keeps us skeptical and questioning. So when resistance goes from useful, to getting in the way, we need to look for it's source.
Think Fear, Shame, or Jealousy - Mostly Fear.
What are you afraid of? How rational is that fear? If it's justified, what can you do to keep yourself safe? Maybe it's fear of losing the comfortable/uncomfortable, yet familiar life you've grown used to (see step 2.)
In the case of myself and this blog, I'm afraid of failure, of vulnerability and of looking silly (WHAT?? Therapists feel that way too?!?) Yep. We are humans too.
So I've made my choice. I will write in this blog because it is more important to me to share myself and my work, than it is protect myself from negative feedback, a silent readership, or failure.
We, as a species, are nothing if not brave. Be brave with me?
What have you resisted, and what are you committed to changing today?
"I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?"
- Mary Oliver
Aleya Littleton: Therapist, Climbing Guide, Teacher.