Today we’re talking about how to release the resistance that comes up after you’ve gotten awareness around what you’re thinking and once you have checked your thoughts against the results that you want.
I have a warning for you though. This tool to help you get unstuck is the hardest one. Getting awareness and checking your thoughts is so lovely and easy and enjoyable compared to using this tool when you are really feeling stuck.
My warning is for you to prepare yourself a little to be ready for a fight with your own brain. Part of you may be very invested in keeping things exactly as they currently are, or in other words, your brain might try to convince you that it’s just better to stay stuck.
Maybe you’ve already been experiencing that if you are feeling stuck right now.
I have a post all about resistance from last year. In preparation for this post, I decided to re visit that one. I wondered “do I even need to create a new post for this week to finish off September’s series of how to get unstuck, or should I just point everyone to last year’s resistance post and call it a day?”
Even though I really liked that one so much, there were some things that I definitely wanted to include for you this week, based on the specific topic that we have been talking about this month about how to get unstuck.
Some of the really important and helpful parts from that post last year were the discussion of three different ways that resistance might show up for you. It could be urgent resistance. You might not even feel the resistance very much so that would be kind of a passive resistance.You might not even realize that you are resisting or your body might subconsciously resist for you.That would be avoidant resistance.
Also, I introduced the Transformation Deep Dive exercise, which is coming out soon as a workbook you can use when you notice resistance coming up for you. So check the notebook and journal shop to look for that workbook.
But for today, to finish out this Getting Unstuck series that we’ve been going through together all month, let’s talk about three more specific ways that you can release resistance when you are feeling stuck.
In a Rut?
Here’s what you can do if you feel like you’re in a rut. You’re confined. You’re trapped. Maybe you even feel paralyzed. You want something else that you don’t have. And you can see possibly a way to get it or maybe other people tell you things that you could or should do. But you just don’t feel like you can and you just feel stuck. That stuckness can feel very heavy. And it’s almost like it’s self replicating – the more stuck you feel, the more stuck you stay, the less you believe you can get unstuck.
Prior to having heard these episodes, you might have just thought that being stuck is just a state. And when you’re in that state, there’s nothing to be done until the state is lifted. So when you catch yourself being stuck, you might have previously thought, “Well, here I am, I’m stuck. There’s nothing to be done unless something lucky happens, or unless something external saves me”.
That assumption about what will make you unstuck not actually true, because when you notice that you are stuck, you can get unstuck. The first tool that you could use to become unstuck, would be to just get awareness that you are thinking that you are stuck. Notice what you are thinking that is making you feel stuck.
The second tool that I discussed last week was checking your thoughts against results. The reason why this is so helpful when you’re feeling stuck is because you do have results right now. These might not be exactly the results that you really want. So the benefit of checking your current thoughts against your results is that you can see the connection of how your thoughts are becoming what you create for yourself.
Release the Resistance That Comes Up
Today’s tool is releasing the resistance that comes up once you have that new awareness and once you realize the connection between your thoughts and your results.
I mentioned some of that resistance at the end of the last post.
You might be thinking of reasons why things would work for a generic person but wouldn’t work for you or why a disinterested 3rd party might think something about your situation, but it doesn’t really apply or why of course you can think one way in one area of your life, but you can’t just substitute that thought into a different area of your life. (Those were based on the suggestions I gave last week in case you’re wondering).
To continue my warning from earlier, releasing resistance is not easy and it is certainly not intuitive.
This is a practice.It will take trial and error. It will take time to learn. My theory is that you will probably need to warm yourself up or get your brain on board, whatever expression you want to use, to indicate that just hearing this one podcast episode is not going to change everything for you. It might. It could. I’m not saying it absolutely won’t, but I definitely want to help you release resistance around releasing resistance by sharing that this is an ongoing, multi-attempt practice.
Hopefully you are now aware that you can label those resistant thoughts as resistance instead of just mindlessly believing the resistance is true and necessary.
My Certain Brain
Now the hard part really starts because resistance is not a piece of cake. Resistance is not a walk in the park. Resistance feels very, very strong and real and very important.
The way that it sounds in my brain is, “I know for sure, this will not work.” “There is no way this is going to happen.” “I could never do that.”
My brain expresses those sentences with so much confidence and certainty. My brain “KNOWS for sure” what it is telling me. All of that knowing for sure is a lie.
We have to be willing to expend the effort to push through or push past or let go of those resistant thoughts while our brains are assuring us, absolutely not. There’s no way.
Internal Lie Detection.
This brings us to the first suggestion to release resistance: Internal Lie Detection.
This is an important concept to have at the ready and be very familiar with. Pre talk yourself into being willing to use this tool. If you are prepared to consider the thoughts that you think might not be 100% true, and you are prepared to run an internal lie detection program on your own brain you can release the “grip of truth” those statements have on you.
When you catch yourself thinking “there’s no way. Absolutely not” hopefully, you could run that internal lie detection program on those sentences and think, “Okay, maybe there’s a way, maybe it’s not. Absolutely not. Maybe it’s just. Possibly not. Or maybe it’s possibly.”
Basically, the shorthand version of this is that I think your resistance is a lie. The reason why I think your resistance is a lie is because if it was something that you didn’t really want, there would be no tension around this for you.
No Resistance to Sports
So, as an example, I really don’t care about organized sports. I’m not a sports fan or a sports player, I understand that people love it. And I can see why people love it. I can see that it’s a fun and entertaining pastime for other people. It’s a great physical activity. It’s a great stress release. I see all the benefits. And at the same time, it’s not interesting to me in any way. So I have no resistance whatsoever about sports. If someone offers me the opportunity to participate, either as a fan or as a player in organized sports, I have no resistance. If someone said, “give indoor soccer a try, it’s a great workout, it’s a great team experience, you would have so much fun.” I would say “No thanks, not for me.” And I would have no internal tension with that decision. Because there’s zero resistance there. It’s just not something that I want for myself, and there’s no drama about it. That’s all very accurate and aligning. For me, that’s all very truthful and authentic.
When Resistance Does Show Up
Now, on the other hand, something that I do care about is this podcast. Sometimes, I find myself thinking very resistant thoughts about it. Sometimes I think I might want to change it and do something different with it, then my brain says “that would never work. People would hate it if you changed it. That will ruin everything.”
Then I do feel that tension (that I don’t feel when I think about indoor soccer) because I want to, but I’m getting conflicting thoughts. I think something might be good, but then my brain tells me it’s bad. So, instead of further exploring or even trying the thing I’m thinking of changing, I just stay doing what I’m doing, I just stay stuck. Because I’m believing those sentences my brain is suggesting that “it won’t work or people won’t like it.”
See how in this case there is no alignment? See how I want one thing and I’m thinking something else and I’m in conflict. Some of my thoughts are inauthentic to the results I want.
Detecting Internal Lies
Instead, I could run an internal lie detection on my own thoughts and notice that it’s possible that it could work. I’m not sure how other people will respond.
Have you ever heard of the TV show Lie To Me (based on a true life professor of psychology). The idea of the show and the work of the professor is that we can train ourselves to recognize deceptive facial expressions in other people. So, applying that concept of lie detection to yourself when you think about resistance. Does your body have any tells? Do you notice yourself getting clenched or tight with resistance? I notice myself exhaling, like blowing out breath, almost as if I’m holding my breath as I think of resistant thoughts.
I’m sure these are different for everyone, so just start paying attention to see if you can call yourself out on your own lies- either with psychological tells or even just with noticing the untruthful sentences and pushing back a little.
Consider the Opposite
Moving on to the second way that you can release resistance is to consider the opposite. This is a gentle, non-confrontational way to push back without calling yourself a liar.
When you notice whatever thoughts you’re thinking, that are causing you not to move ahead, not to take action, not to progress, not to transform, take note of that thought (because now you have awareness around your thinking).
Just for comparison sake, and just to create a continuum, consider the exact opposite of that statement.
So for example, if one of the reasons that you’re not doing something that you really want to do, is because you believe the thought “I can’t afford to.” Now you know, you have that thought, because you’ve created awareness around it. You notice this result that would cost this investment is something that you want, but the thought is, “I can’t afford it.”
What’s the Opposite?
What’s the opposite of I can’t afford it? I can afford it.
Or, maybe the opposite of I can’t afford it is “I have plenty of resources. There are so many ways that I can afford this. I don’t even have to wonder if I can afford it. It’s a no brainer.”
This could go a lot of different ways. It’s just depending on how you want to create the opposite statement. But just create an opposite statement.
And then if you can imagine both of those on a number line, on the left hand side, you have the statement, “I can’t afford it.” And all the way to the right, you have this statement: “I have plenty of resources.”
Then you can notice how many different versions of thought there are in between those two opposites.
So maybe you don’t need to continue believing the thought “I can’t afford it.” Maybe you’re not yet able to believe the thought “I have so many resources. This is nothing.” But maybe you can find something in the middle. So, maybe you can find “I can’t currently pay for this upfront with the amount of money that’s currently in my bank account today. But I know that I can find a way to pay for this.”
Shift Your Thinking and Mindset
That shifts your thinking and your mindset from “No, absolutely not, I can’t afford it” to “Oh, this could be possible.”
Just by considering the opposite, you now open yourself up to so many possibilities that before were slammed shut for you, because you were only staying in the left hand side of that continuum.
By widening that continuum and by creating a sentence on the complete other side, or many sentences in the middle, now, you can see there are so many possibilities in between.
The third way that I wanted to suggest for you to release resistance is for you to offer it up. I learned this method through all the studying I was doing in the beginning of the year when I was diving deep into the idea of surrender.
I got this specific verbiage from Tosha Silver’s book “It’s Not Your Money” (which doesn’t necessarily need to be about money).
When you offer up whatever you have resistance about, it means it has nothing to do with you anymore. Once you’ve offered something up you’re not thinking about your own thoughts.
You’re not considering what the opposite thought would be to the one that you’re currently thinking. Basically, what you’re saying is, I allow myself not to be able to control the future, and I allow myself not to be able to control anything outside of myself.
I release control over whether or not this will happen.
Instead of thinking I know exactly what will happen, you accept that you have no idea of what will happen and you acknowledge that anything could happen.
Instead of trying to control, you trust that you can get the results you want without necessarily knowing how or when.
Again, these techniques are not easy or intuitive, but if you try this last one, it is the most peaceful if you fully offer up whatever you’re thinking about.
Quitting a Job Example
Let’s use our “quitting a job example” one last time to demonstrate how our fictitious friend could release resistance around quitting a job.
First she got awareness around her thinking and realized the reason she felt stuck and couldn’t quit her job was because she was worried about what people would think (the coworkers getting more work or the boss hating her for quitting).
Then she checked her thoughts against her results and realized that she would rather have the result of the new job than the supposed adoration of the boss.
But, getting unstuck isn’t easy so she probably still has resistance even though she knows what she wants. Maybe she still believes the sentence “my boss will hate me and my coworkers will have more work to do if I quit.”
Trying the Techniques
Internal lie detection: “My boss will hate me.” Maybe that’s a lie. It’s pretty obviously an exaggeration.
We can move right into thinking of an opposite statement: My boss will hate me. My boss will love me. That might be too weird- but it does open up some possibilities. Maybe she will be proud of me or happy for me? Maybe she will be relieved because she couldn’t see a way to promote or pay our friend what she’s worth on their current team?
Or, we could get super opposite and think in an entirely different direction: My boss will hate me. I will hate my boss – oh! That shows that staying there could lead to resentment and blame for something that’s not even the bosses fault! That’s interesting!
And finally by offering it up, our friend could just say “I’m going to quit this job and I’m not going to try to control how other people feel. I trust that they’ll get through my departure the best way for them, maybe it’s learning a lesson, maybe it’s getting a new opportunity. I have no idea what the future holds.”
What do you think?
Can you imagine yourself using internal lie detection, thinking of the opposite or offering up a situation that’s creating resistance for you?
Do you have any resistance to any of the examples I shared today?
I’ve heard some comments and feedback that these topics in September have been a lot to think about and a lot of information and ideas to digest, so I want to keep today’s post a little more high level, but hopefully you got what you needed and this has given you something to consider for yourself.
3 previous Get Unstuck posts from September
Last year’s Resistance post
Learn more about Offering: surrender posts
A Best-selling Notebook
It’s a prompted journal called Feel your Feels. It’s designed to help you process emotions, like resistance, or fear, or anger or even happiness or delight. Each set of pages has a set of questions to help you consider and get in touch with what you are feeling and thinking.
If you know that journaling is beneficial, but you don’t want to or can’t journal daily or regularly, this is a great notebook to have on hand to just run through the questions when you’re feeling something intensely.
Or, you could use this in a routine- every week or however often you could decide to answer the question about whatever emotion you are feeling – even if it is a pretty neutral emotion. That would be an interesting way to notice emotional patterns and get more in touch with your feelings. Get it now!
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