What you resist persists
You may be familiar with the phrase – what you resist persists. Exactly what does this mean and how does it impact the quality of our future and life in general?
Resistance - something that is a source of opposition to the flow of energy. In psychology - the process by which the ego keeps repressed thoughts and feelings from the conscious mind.
My definition – when we oppose, confront, struggle with or are in denial of what is – truth or reality.
Here are my thoughts.
The mind is in control of every aspect of our life. It is filled with myths, memories, misrepresentations, old inappropriate information, experience, disappointments, lies and yes truth and experience.
But the question remains, when confronted with circumstances, people or events that you are uncomfortable with, don’t like, disagree with or are afraid of how do you react? What are your emotional responses? What do you think? What do you do? Here is the real issue – what memories or data does your mind default to in these situations - courage, confidence, hope, acceptance, trust, faith or action or fear, anger, doubt, resentment, worry, stress and anxiety? Or others I didn’t list? Another question is – do you have any control over which reaction you have or are all of your actions and/or reactions simply in your mind in auto-pilot? Let’s take the first one first – what does your mind default to?
First, we tend to resist what we are uncomfortable with, can’t control, are unaware of or disagree with. And why? For starters our mind can have two reactions to everything in life – come from a fear position – anger, stress, denial, anxiety or in summary – a flight, fight or freeze perspective OR from a love position – joy, peace, confidence, belief, hope and faith. I won’t go into the years of research that has come to these conclusions, if you want the sources I’ll be happy to give them to you. Due to our biological historical makeup and human evolutionary history the average person initially always comes from emotions in the fear mode first. This is our natural tendency and our homo sapiens heritage.
What you believe determines how you perceive people and circumstances. How you perceive these, determines your actions, decisions and behavior. These actions contribute to your consequences and outcomes.
Do you have control over your response or reaction?
Emotions are the primary contributors to our reactions and responses to everything in life. Let me repeat - we can choose to respond with fear emotions (and there are many) or with love (not romantic love) emotions. We can have control over our reactions and/or responses but the ability to control these requires a number of factors such as; discipline, confidence, acceptance, courage, self-esteem, values and belief structures and self-control. When we let our emotions drive our responses we are literally turning the control of our life over to these outside circumstances or people believing we have no control over them so we are doomed to letting them determine the quality of our lives. I know that most people have what they feel are legitimate excuses or reasons for some of their negative behaviors but in the end even these excuses are grounded in our emotional body.
Until we learn to let our desires, dreams, hopes and experience determine our responses to circumstances (coming from the love portion rather than the fear portion of the brain - archipallium or primitive reptilian) we will always tend to make things worse due to our lack of perceived control.
So, the answer to this question above is – Yes, but it takes consistent conscious awareness and presence to accomplish this.
How do we do this?
There are many ways to accomplish the above but keep in mind that it takes; patience, persistence, awareness, the desire to change, the willingness to change and mature actions grounded in discipline. Here are a few things to consider to accomplish your desired changes.
Anchors and triggers – An anchor or trigger can be any approach you use as a reminder to think or act in a certain way when something happens in your life. It can be an affirmation - verbal or illustration; it can be a sentence you repeat when something happens. For example, one of mine is – whenever I drop something I have trained myself to use that as a trigger to repeat one of my affirmations. It can be anything that keeps you focused on how you want to feel or act no matter what is going on around you - now.
Evaluation – A careful and honest self-evaluation is essential if you want to change anything. You need to ask yourself questions like; why am I here? How did I get here? Why do I always act this way? Is this the way I want to act? Why do I let others behavior influence me? Etc.
Meditation – Mediation is simply quieting the mind for short periods of time and just listening – to your inner voice, your spirit, your experience etc. This is also an excellent way to manage stress.
Prayer – I won’t go into detail on this as there are numerous books available on why pray, how to pray, when to pray etc. I suggest you read a few of them – regardless of your spiritual inclinations.
Therapy – This can be an excellent way to get in touch with some or all of the causes of thoughts, mindsets, attitudes, behaviors and feelings. A word of caution however, if you are not willing to be honest during this process – don’t waste your time or money.
Focus – Focus is the single best way to create a moment by moment personal environment that is productive, peaceful and leaves you with few regrets and disappointment. Focus isn’t easy as we live in a very distracting world but in the end if you can learn to keep your focus on what really matters you will be amazed at how much more effective you will be and how little what is going on around you controls you.
Learning – Keep learning. Keep reading. Keep growing. Keep adapting. Use change as a positive motivator but don’t let it change you in negative ways.
None of these are magic bullets that will guarantee immediate change or success but they can help you to start moving in a new or different direction.