Decision for 2023!
I’m hosting 12 workshops in 12 months! And I’ve already mapped out the 12 topics (while reserving the right to change them to something more aligning when the time comes).
In preparation for these workshops – which I’m so excited about – I created a map, kind of like a treasure map or a game board. Then, I decided it would be fun as a coloring sheet – even though I’m not someone who colors – I just like the idea of YOU and everyone else getting the map and using your own color and style as you decorate it – so at the end of this episode, I’ll tell you more about the workshops and the map.
But, all this to say, I also thought to myself “why wait until January to start!? Do some workshops NOW!”
So, in November we had the Benefits and Downsides of Journaling Workshop and in December we had the Resistance workshop.
I thought I wanted to use the outline for the Resistance workshop as a podcast episode also, but then I thought, “No, I already have a few episodes about resistance on this podcast so I don’t need to repeat myself.”
and then when I thought about that statement, that sentence,
“I want to, but I already have it. I don’t need to repeat myself.”
I realized how wrong I was.
All My Favorite Teachers Repeat Themselves
I follow a number of my favorite teachers who talk about one topic or a few topics over and over again – for years.
Obviously, they repeat themselves, and I love it. I love hearing the repetitions. I love hearing the examples told in different ways and hearing the familiar information – that I heard from them before – having it told to me again.
A little off topic but this is SO funny: this week, I’ve also been working on my End of Year Wrap up. I’m reviewing this past year.
This past year has been a new year for me (for all of us). 2022 was not a repeat of the previous two years.
So, of course there’s no repetition there at all. It’s a new year. It’s new information, I had new experiences.
So, of course that is all new, no repetition.
But, when I re-listened to my previous 2 years’ End of Year Wrap Ups, I realized: there was so much repetition!
There were so many patterns.
There was so much familiarity and my mind forgot about all of it.
That really showed me I could even record the same episode, word for word, that I did 3 years ago and I wouldn’t recognize it and remember it. You also might not recognize and remember it!
Next week I’m sharing my 2022 End of Year wrap up for you. If you want to hear my previous 2 years’ Wrap Ups, here are the links
Back to today’s topic: all of that internal discussion about repeating myself and not remembering was me overcoming my resistance to doing another full post just about resistance.
So here we go. Let’s call it a reboot! A Resistance Reboot!
Today, let’s go over the broad basics.
What is resistance?
How to notice it.
And then of course, the reason we’re all here and talking about it, how to release resistance.
I Want to, But…
In the most basic, recognizable form, resistance is when you say a sentence to yourself, “I want to, but…”
That’s basically the structure. It doesn’t have to have exactly those words in it.
You can substitute “I wish I could, but” or “everyone else says this is great, and…”
It doesn’t matter how you construct it, but one part of the phrase is “something that you want, that’s good. That’s for me. I would like that. I could have that.”
The other part of the phrase is the reason why it’s not good for you. You can’t have it. You can’t go for it. It won’t work.
Disclaimers and Exclusions
The first disclaimer is when it is not actually resistance because it is not something you actually want.
If you got a weird little blip on your radar of something that you consider for a moment and then realize “actually, no, that is not for me at all.”
If that wish or hint or desire never comes back again and you never feel any kind of tension, then that’s it, you’re done.
Your disinterest and you declining it is probably not resistance.
It was probably just a one-off suggestion, option, or offer and your brain considered it for one moment. And then you thought no, that’s not for me. So, that’s not resistance.
For example, if someone invites you to a party and you think it would be nice, then you remember you already have plans (better plans).
You say “I can’t go. I don’t want to go.” That’s not resistance.
There isn’t any tension around it.
You’re not bringing it up and replaying it.
It’s not causing you any stress or worry.
You’re not spending any energy on it.
You just thank them for the invitation. You’re happy for them. You like parties and you easily say “no, thank you” and done. Story complete. No resistance.
Healthy Self-protective Fear
The other thing that resistance is not (here’s the 2nd exclusion) is when it’s a healthy, self-protective, fear.
I’m using the word fear here but sometimes fear gets a bad rap, right? Sometimes, we use fear, when maybe we should be using resistance.
I don’t want to get into the whole semantics but what I am not talking about in this episode is when your primal instinct is actually protecting you from something dangerous.
If a stranger in a van has offered you candy. You want that candy. You like that candy, but you’ve heard that it’s not safe to get candy from strangers. Your hesitation and decision not to move forward is not resistance.
Okay. That is your primal instinct telling you “do not get in the van!”
We want to continue to listen to those instincts and follow those messages. It’s really specific and personal and it’s situation-based. So ,of course, I’m not going to be able to tell you all of the examples of how primal instinct shows up for you.
This is an invitation for you to really get to know your own intuition and your own instincts so that you can really feel, if you’re really tuned into your body, when something is not good for you.
Do not call that resistance and try to release the resistance and walk into your own demise. Don’t do that.
I just really want to call that out. I am not supporting the idea of throwing caution to the wind and putting yourself into life-threatening situations.
Internal and External Methods
Speaking of intuition, I do want to talk about how you can notice resistance. I think there are internal and external methods.
Now that we’re talking about it, maybe you will be more curious and more in tune and more aware when resistance comes up.
The internal method is just paying attention to and noticing your own thoughts and feelings.
The thoughts are the sentences that loosely follow that construction that I gave you:
“I want to, but…”
“I wish I could, but…”
“People are suggesting this and here’s why it won’t work for me.”
Whenever you have that kind of tonal change in whatever you’re talking (dah-dah-dah, dah-dah-dah) maybe that’s resistance.
Notice that pattern. Notice that sentence structure.
Listen to those thoughts – the sentences that you tell yourself.
Notice the feeling that’s associated with it.
For the example of being invited to a party and already having plans and noticing the feeling associated with that – there would be no resistance. There would be no tension. There would be no tug or pull there, right?
Because you can’t go, that’s fine. It’s very clean. There’s no grasping. There’s no pulling. It’s all good.
For the other example: “get into the van with the stranger to get the candy.” No, don’t do that. That’s dangerous. It’s very clear. That’s not resistance. That is your fear mechanism kicking in to protect you.
This IS Resistance
Resistance is When it’s Like
“I wish I could become an artist. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I’ve tried a couple different times in my life. I’ve looked into it but, you know, I’m too old now. And, I have this career and I mean, I’m sure people would make fun of me. I would love to be an artist but you know, what would people say?”
That’s resistance. When you feel that tug and that tension. If it’s been something that has popped up for you over time and you’ve pushed it down, and it pops up again and you push it down again.
You might give yourself all the reasons why not and they sound like very logical, helpful reasons. But really, if we just dig below the surface we can see those reasons are not protecting you from danger. Those are not a clear cut answer.
Noticing the sentences, the thoughts, the feelings that come up and noticing if you have any of that tension, any push and pull, or tugging and pulling, that’s how you find the resistance that is holding you back.
When you feel those tugs and pulls and tensions, those are clues that you might be feeling some resistance because of the sentences that you’re telling yourself.
External Ways to Find Resistance
For the external ways that you can find resistance, of course, I’m going to say journaling.
You can use all sorts of prompts to pull out resistance.
This is a really simple and basic and obvious one: you write a prompt in your journal that says: What am I resisting right now?
Let your brain go inside and answer that question and then write down the answer.
Or ask yourself:
What do I want, that I haven’t been going after?
Okay, there you go. You’re gonna find some resistance right there.
Why don’t I have X yet? What am I resisting?
Another way to ask a resistance awareness question would be
What have I always wanted to do and haven’t done yet? Why?
Oh, that will bring up some things.
Those are examples of so many possible journaling methods to uncover and expose some resistance that you might be entertaining.
Another external way to notice your resistance is in your conversations. Maybe in talking with a friend, now that I’ve shared that sentence structure with you, now maybe you can hear different versions of “I want to, but” as you’re talking with people when you explain things to them.
If you ever say: “I would have loved to be able to do that, but…”
How often does that come up for you? How many times have you said some version of that sentence?
Notice when you’re talking with other people. Maybe you can have an accountability partner.
And of course, this will surface if you have a resistance coach.
This is my specialty! I can help you uncover your resistance that you might not even be aware of that is holding you back.
Those were some of the internal and external ways that you can recognize resistance that’s holding you back from getting what you want for yourself in your life.
Isolate and Label it
Now let’s talk about how to isolate and label it so that you can release it.
By noticing resistance, by calling it out, by differentiating it from primal fear or from something that’s just not for you, when you really do notice that resistance, label it as such.
Label it either internally, to yourself, “that’s me resisting this thing that I do want.”
Or, you can even say it to whoever you’re talking with “Okay, that’s my resistance. You helped me find it. I just realized right now I’m resisting this thing that I say that I want.”
Once you isolate that sentence, or that belief or that thought, and you label it as resistance, now you’ve put yourself in a position that you can release it.
The Most Direct Way to Release Resistance
There are a couple of different ways that you can release resistance.
The most direct way is to check to see if whatever you’re telling yourself (whatever that resistance statement is) is 100% true.
If it’s 100% true, I’ll give it to you.
But my guess is, it’s probably not 100% true.
For example, if someone says
“I’ve always wanted to become an artist but, you know, I’m too old.”
It’s just a fact, right? I am the current age that I am.
That is a fact. You can see my birth certificate. That is 100% true.
No- it’s not a fact! That is resistance.”I want to, but”
We’ve got the sentence structure. We see that it keeps coming up. They keep on bringing it up in different situations. It’s been a constant sentence throughout many years of their life.
There’s some resistance to becoming an artist. The sentence that they’re saying is “I’m too old”.
So, what do we do once we’ve isolated that sentence and labeled it as resistance?
We check to see if it’s 100% true.
Are you too old to become an artist?
Has anyone your age ever become an artist? We can imagine that “Yes, probably someone in your age range has become an artist. You could Google it. You could ask around or you could just let your imagination wander.
Has anyone that is my age ever become an artist? Probably yes.
If that is possible, you know that sentence isn’t 100% true. Good. Now we know.
Now this might be the spot that another piece of resistance comes up
“Yes, I know. I’m not too old. I’m just not good at learning things.”
Oh, okay. Now we have the second resistance sentence, right?
“I would want to become an artist but I’m just not good at learning things.” Okay, we’ve isolated that sentence: “I’m not good at learning things.”
We’ve labeled it as resistance and now we can check to see if that statement is 100% true.
Have you ever learned anything in your life?
Have you learned how to walk?
Have you learned how to use your phone?
Have you learned how to read?
Have you learned how to listen to a podcast?
If you’ve learned any of those things, you have learned things in your life. So the statement “I’m just not good at learning things” is not 100% true.
That’s how you isolate and label the resistance and then check to see if it’s 100% true.
Mention the Opposite
One of my favorite ways to release resistance is to mention the opposite. Just flip the sentence around and see if you could say the opposite out loud.
“Oh, I would love to become an artist and I’m finally old enough to do it.”
Oh, interesting. I flipped it from “I’m too old” to “I’m finally old enough.” What?
How does that statement help?
“I finally have experience. I finally have time. The other distractions in my life have taken care of themselves and so now I can devote my energy and attention to becoming an artist.”
I love taking whatever my resistance statement is, and using the opposite version of it to see what comes up for me, to see what I notice, to see what part of that opposite statement is also true.
Another way you can use the opposite is rephrase. Reorder the sentence.
Instead of “I would love to become an artist, but I’m too old.”
What if you re-ordered the sentence to say ”I am old and I would love to become an artist.”
Does that change anything for you? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t.
It’s fun to play around with those words, to notice what your brain does and what ideas come up for you as you use the opposite order or words or meaning of the sentence that you are telling yourself as the reason why you can’t do something.
Not Fully Releasing
Another thing to do is not fully release the resistance.
Did you know you can still do something even with resistance?
Sometimes the momentum of doing something is what helps to diminish the resistance.
You might tell yourself “I’ve always wanted to become an artist, but really I’m too old.” Resistance isolated and acknowledged.
You might not even try to release the resistance, instead you might just take an art class. Even though you’re too old. You decide “Let me just take a class. And by taking a class or watching a YouTube video about becoming an artist or buying an art book, those actions towards what you want, even with the resistance could actually reduce the resistance!
Your brain might think: “well, I bought the book. I mean, I have the art supplies here. I watched the video. I went to the art store, I mean, yeah, maybe I can do this. Maybe I’m not too old. Right?”
You can do things even with resistance. Consider that as an option for yourself. Resistance doesn’t have to stop you dead in your tracks
I have a few examples to see if these have come up in your life.
You can substitute any of the words that I give if they don’t apply to you. You can just switch out the examples that I give with something that is relevant in your life.
It Didn’t Work
The sentence is “I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work.”
If something keeps on coming up for you, “I wish I could do this thing. I wish I could create this, try this make this”
Whatever it is, and you did actually try it once and it didn’t work – just notice that statement.
Even though it’s not the exact “I want to, but” formula we have been talking about, this example is still resistance.
If we fully elongate the implication of what that sentence is implying to us. If we further the narration of the sentence, what it’s saying is,
“I want this thing, I tried this thing, it didn’t work and therefore it will never work in the future.”
You Do Want It
If it keeps on coming up for you: you still want it and you’re giving yourself the reason why you can’t have it.
You’re not really believing that you can’t have it.
Because you keep bringing up that you do want it, so there is that push and pull there. What can you do with that sentence?
Once you realize you’re telling yourself “because it didn’t work one time it will not work in the future.”
Now you have isolated and labeled that as resistance.
“My resistance is me telling myself because it didn’t work one time. I know it will not work in the future.”
Now check: is that 100% true. Does the past 100% fully predict the exact future? No, we all know that.
Can We Say the Opposite?
“Because I tried it before it will work in the future.”
Oh, that is interesting. Right? How is that statement true?
“Because I tried it before,I know what not to do next time.”
“Because I’ve tried it before, I already have one practice round under my belt and I can do it with more confidence or do it differently next time.” “Because I tried to before, I have more experience going into my next attempt.”
Reverse Format of Resistance
Let’s do the reverse format of the sentence.
“I tried it before and it didn’t work and I want this thing.”
Oh, what does that do for us now? Maybe I need to try a different way. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to work the first time because I still want it so maybe it’s a “3x a charm” situation.
I’ll have two failures and then one success or maybe, I don’t know how many failures I will have before I have the success!
But I know that I want it so I’m going to keep going.
So, that’s just one example of how you can overcome that resistance.
I have some other sentences too. I’ll just throw these out. You can use these as your homework if you want to take it on to walk yourself through the whole process.
Remember, I am here to support you and help you if you need help.
Maybe you’ve said to yourself,
“I want to change, but other people wouldn’t like it, or other people would have something to say about it.”
“I wish I could. I really do wish I could do this. But the truth is, I don’t know how.”
(That is maybe the easiest one to overcome. I’ll be curious if you agree with me)
Maybe your example is like “I see everyone else doing it. But I know I can’t. I can’t do that. That’s not that’s not in me. I see other people doing it but I can’t.”
What Do You Think You Can’t Have?
What’s your sentence about that you can’t have?
Is it that you want to meet a partner, you want to date (even at your age)?
Is it that you want to leave a relationship? You want to finally be done with that friendship or partnership or a job?
Is it that you want to travel but there’s so many reasons -of course- why you can’t travel.
Is it that you want to learn something, start something? You tell me.
Your Resistance Coach
I am here to support you as your resistance coach.
You can see more at the my Work With Me page.
You can leave a comment on the shownotes for this episode at bexb.org/reboot
More for You
Before we go today I have more for you!
At the start of the post I told you about the Map (or game board) of workshops for next year.
You can always see everything I have coming up at bexb.org/letsmeet
If you want to download and print off a copy of the 2023 Workshop map for yourself, here’s the link
What Does Resistance Sound Like
And the 2nd thing is I recorded an audio metaphor for you describing what resistance is like.
I loved thinking of it and visualizing it – so I decided to make a video version of it to.