Have you ever set a resolution, planned something wonderful, or decided to make a change for the better … only to be quickly doubted by inner/outer critics, have all sorts of distractions arise, be shamed at the first misstep, and/or be questioned for even trying? I wrote a book and am ready to look for an agent/publisher, yet interruptions and worries block my path. Whether it’s opposition to a diet, new business/job, fitness regime, plan for personal growth, fulfilling a dream, or anything else that brings us closer to heaven, author Steven Pressfield names the invisible, but real, force opposing our thriving and flourishing Resistance. After listening to him talk to Oprah about this oppositional energy that is NOT you or I, but is a reality like gravity, I thought it’d be helpful to write a short blog on what Resistance is and how to overcome it, so we can better grow and become. I hope you enjoy it and would love hear your stories about battling Resistance!
Life is meant to be amazing.
Each of us has unique gifts to share with the world.
We’re made to shine loving kindness, care, and celebration like the sun.
Joy is our natural, inborn state.
You and I are conduits of Love, created to manifest heaven on earth.
I find these to be True based on experience and being a Christ follower, and share them with you because, as Steven Pressfield said to Oprah and wrote in his famous book The War of Art, when we endeavor to do something transformative, inspiring, and life-giving, or anything else to bring more beauty or bliss into being, whether it’s a personal wellness plan or communal charitable project, an “equal” and opposite force will arise to oppose this goodness. He names this energy that pretty much always arises withinus (and often via others too) Resistance. It’s typically our inner thoughts of fear, doubt, worry, criticism, shame, etc., and the bigger and better the creation or change we aspire to, the louder the Resistance’s voice becomes to try and stop us.
Think of your life as a great story. In a grand narrative, the game-changing moments for the protagonist also include obstacles. Whenever there’s a hero (like Harry Potter), there’s a villain (like Voldemort), do you know what I mean? When you realize you’re “ready”, and heroically determine to become the best version of yourself, decide to create something from your heart (a book, a kid, a business, etc.), or choose a path to increase thriving and flourishing, while you’re the story’s knight, the Resistance is the dragon. It blocks the path to the next level of life.
Even though I mentioned it at the beginning, I think it bears repeating. You know that voice in your head that doubts you can ______, the worries holding me back from trying to get my book published, the story of shame in our minds that minimizes our inherent worth and love? While this inner critic is in you and I, it is NOT you or I! It’s Resistance. Pressfield puts it like this: “If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, forit prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.”
So, what do we do? How do we transform, create, and love when faced by such a fierce opponent? To borrow from Pressfield and myself 🙂 three things occur to me.
First, I think it’s vital on all levels to constantly remind our selves and one another of our inherent worth, belonging, and love. Each and every one of us is born precious, included, and beloved, NO doing required, as it’s a divine gift. This means when it comes to facing Resistance we can truthfully realize: You are enough and can do hard things. Repeat this as a mantra, write it on sticky notes you put in strategic places, and/or whatever else helps you feel this in your bones and act with it in your heart.
Think of Resistance as the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. Declaring every one of us is enough and able to do hard things is like pouring water on the witch, as it will melt Resistance away. In Pressfield’s words: “Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it poses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and conquer resistance.”
The second part of giving Resistance a good ole fashioned butt whooping is to do the work and redefine success. Pick one, small sustainable step you can do every darn day and just do it come hell or high water … within reason. 🙂 That said, I think it’s even more important to redefine success. Let it be as simple as asking yourself each day: Did I overcome Resistance today? For example, say your plan is to become healthier and your small step was to meditate for fifteen minutes a day, and you did! Well done! You defeated apathy/procrastination (both forms of Resistance). But, say you didn’t. No worries! That doesn’t mark success and you get to try again tomorrow. The real victory is when the inner voice starts saying, “you’re a loser” for not _____ (Resistance), but you laugh and remind yourself you’re loved and amazing as you are. Victory!
Even though it seems Resistance is often the first power to arrive on the battlefield of transformation, the third thing to remember is, “As Resistance works to keep us from becoming who we are born to be, equal and opposite powers are counterpoised against it. These are our allies and angels.” In the Lord of the Rings trilogy there’s a climactic scene at Helm’s Deep where all seems lost for the good guys, they’re grossly outnumbered and about to be overwhelmed by the bad guys. But, as the dawn breaks, Gandalf appears on the horizon with a host of allies who save the day! I take this to be a life Truth, there are always seen and unseen forces for good who will rally to our side to aid us in bringing more of heaven to earth.
Wherever you are in your journey to experience, become, and bring into the world more Light and Love, I believe in you and am on your side! You are enough and can do hard things! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on Resistance below.
Grace and peace,