Resistance is generally not a comfortable feeling. It comes in many forms; from a slight annoyance all the way to a massive pain in the arse. Resistance can throw us off our life course and can even challenge what we truly believe. Let’s explore the “Art of moving through resistance”.
What is resistance? How does it manifest in our lives?
We experience resistance as a type of barrier that keeps us from reaching our dreams, goals and desires. The types of barriers resistance presents can be endless. They can manifest in our lives in the form of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual hurdles arising from sources that are of our own making or experienced through things that are beyond our control.
Turning resistance into powerful energy
Why do some people flow so easily through and around resistance? Who do others feel so burdened with suffering? Have others figured out a secret to overcoming resistance? Is there something they know that I don’t?
Athletes are an excellent example. At major events we see them perform amazing feats. They perform these feats with such perfection and ease that we are quick to forget the hours of practice and struggle that they have gone through to create this one moment of monumental beauty and achievement.
Take a minute to contemplate these athletes, or anyone in your life for that matter, who seems to flow with ease. They have managed to turn resistance into motivation and have cultivated a self-endurance that helps them succeed. These people have become great students of resistance and are able to move through whatever is presented to them. They have made it an art form – the art of moving through resistance.
How does someone transform and undergo the “Art of moving through resistance” and overcome the obstacles that are presented to them?
The 5 phases of resistance:
We have to go through a series of phases that accompany resistance so we can either overcome, be at peace with, or move past it. Let’s explore the phases of experiencing resistance in our lives.
Phase 1: Denial
Ignoring the resistance or trying to avoid the challenge. This can work short term (sometimes), but it usually has an extremely limited shelf life of success. The ideal scenario for this stage is to move from denial of the struggle to recognizing that we are in a state of resistance.
Phase 2: Recognition
When we recognize the resistance, we take the time to explore and study what is being presented to us. It is through this quiet observation that we can uncover pathways about how to move forward, past, with, or through the resistance.
Phase 3: Acceptance with a plan of action
Acceptance is crucial because we understand that resistance will always be there in some form or another. We must honor resistance as a constant teacher. When we have a game plan, or at least some ideas of how to work with or through the resistance in our life, we need to test those assumptions in the real world. Sometimes they will work and sometimes they won’t. The key takeaway is acceptance of the situation and the challenges we are experiencing, and the willingness to try new actions to address the resistance. Without this concerted effort, we will end up back up at phase 1 denial.
Phase 4: Nuancing and perfecting
As we make headway and begin to solve the blocks in our life, the next phase is about nuancing and making subtle changes to tackle the resistance more completely and fully. Betterment is a constant process of fine tuning.
Phase 5: Practicing and nurturing
Continuing to practice and nurture our approach to resistance helps us finally move through it with a sense of purpose and agility. This is the exact thing that all disciplined and consistent actions help us achieve; movement towards that which is beyond the resistance. This is the hallmark of all great athletes who move through resistance. They are in a deliberate and constant state of practicing the craft of moving through resistance as an art form.
The good news is that the more we practice, the better we get at it. We start to look and feel more and more like that athlete defying the odds and achieving great things.
The phases in action
Let’s look at these phases in action with a real example, where we assume that your personality type does not enjoy confrontation. Your block or resistance is with confrontation.
At work, a colleague you usually enjoy working with, is failing to pull their weight on a given task. This in turn is not allowing you to reach your goals easily.
At first you may overlook this and just do the work yourself (Phase 1: You are in denial). However over time you might find that this happens on several occasions and it starts to bother you (now you are in Phase 2: Recognizing you have a problem). At this stage, you might take some time to contemplate some solutions and come up with a strategy. You might choose to solve the problem yourself or get some help (Phase 3: Acceptance and problem solving with a plan of action). Perhaps you have faced this problem before or perhaps this is the first time you are experiencing this problem. Either way you might try a certain approach with the person by focusing on your language and questioning technique (This is phase 4 : Working on the plan to nuance and perfect it). At this stage you may also be too nervous to approach the person so you just might find yourself back in the denial phase.
If you decided to have the conversation, you might have liked the way it went: Your colleague accepted the feedback and did not realize how their actions were impacting you, and they endeavour to make changes for next time. Alternatively, despite your best go at it, the conversation did not go well and did not achieve the outcome you desired. All you can do at this stage is learn from the approach and try a different one. You may look for additional support to assist you with your resistance to confrontation. In the final phase, phase 5, we are always offered opportunities to practice with the resistance in our life. The good news (or bad news) is that the universe usually has a way (a conspiracy) to continue to present us with the things that challenge us – so you will have the opportunity to practice again. All we can do is nurture ourselves during our learnings and celebrate our successes. There will always be an opportunity to practice to move forward and challenge a resistor.
All we can do is nurture ourselves during our learnings and celebrate our successes. There will always be an opportunity to practice to move forward and challenge a resistor.
Need help moving through the resistance in your life?
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