Self Help Newsletter

Releasing Resistance

I was having a discussion with a friend from Good Vibe University the other day on the topic of relationships. She’s been proposed to SEVEN times, but hasn’t accepted any of them and is still single. Yet part of her is dying to be married and in a relationship with her soulmate. So we started talking about the idea of releasing resistance, in her case resisting being alone.

You’ve heard that “what you resist persists,” right? It’s a very frustrating phenomenon, but unfortunately that’s the way the world works. Normally when we see or experience something we don’t like, we do our best to get rid of that thing or experience as fast as we can. We don’t want to have anything to do with it! If we're running out of money, we want to create more money ASAP. If we notice we're putting on a few extra lbs., we can't wait to get to the gym and burn extra calories.

Based on the law of attraction, though, we get whatever we’re focused on. Therefore, the more you keep focusing on a situation you want to avoid, the more you keep experiencing it. In the example of my friend, she’s resisting being alone so much that she just keeps recreating it, despite having been proposed to seven times!

So, what to do if you’re experiencing resistance to something in your life that you’d like to change? First, know that until you’ve made peace with that situation, as it is, nothing can change. It doesn’t mean you have to ignore your desire for something else, but you must first accept that the situation is as it is for the time-being. A simple way to do this is to look for all the benefits of a given situation, which you will always find if you look hard enough! For my friend, she could focus on the fact that she has her independence, can sleep in as late as she wants on the weekends, can cook whatever she wants for dinner (or not cook at all!), etc.

Another tool which I recently learned is a bit counter-intuitive, but it really works! The next time you catch yourself complaining about something in your life that you wish were different (and therefore are resisting), speak your complaints out loud to a friend. This is pretty easy, considering we all do this pretty much all the time! Normally, though, your friend will respond to your complaints and try to disprove them and make you feel better. Using the same example from above, if my friend was complaining about being single I would say something like, “That’s just temporary. Look how many times you’ve been proposed to! I’m sure you’ll meet the right one any day now.”

However, next time try this instead: Ask your friend to actually go along with your complaints. Rather than trying to make you feel better, have him/her AGREE with your complaints! So instead of saying, “Oh I’m sure you’ll be married before you know it,” he/she might say “You’re right, you’ll be alone forever. You will never get asked out on another date again, and will spend the rest of your life sitting at home by yourself on Saturday nights watching Bridget Jones’ Diary.” Are you laughing just reading that? I am! And that’s what’s so great about this exercise.

In our minds we tend to come up with these worst-case scenarios, and then try to get sympathy from our friends by telling them how awful our situations are. They attempt to talk us out of it, which basically keeps us in a state of resisting the situation we’re trying to get out of. You can just feel the resistance thinking about it. You’re saying one thing like, “I need to find a new job ASAP. I can’t survive another day here.” And your friend is responding, “You’ve said that before, you’ll survive. I’m sure things will get better before you know it!”

By using the exercise above, however, it literally stops the person complaining dead in their tracks and they won’t want to complain about that ever again! Think about it, when we complain about something we’re usually doing it to get sympathy from someone else, to make them feel sorry for us, and to convince them we’re a victim. When they respond by trying to make us feel better or convince us otherwise, in essence it confirms our victimhood. When they agree with our complaints, though, we don’t really have anywhere else to go with our complaint. If someone is not feeling sorry for us and thus confirming that we’re a victim, we can’t really keep complaining. It’s just not fun anymore! They’ve taken the wind out of our sails.

Try this out in your head the next time you catch yourself spiraling out of control with negative self-talk. For example, say you’re beating yourself up and saying things like, “I’ll never get that raise I want. I’ll be stuck in this same position forever.” Try responding in your mind by saying something along the lines of, “You’re right. You will be stuck here forever. You’ll never get another raise or new title again!” Doesn’t that just completely stop the negative self-talk in its tracks? I love the power of this exercise!

Obviously, if this exercise makes you feel worse stop doing it immediately. It’s supposed to take the power out of your complaints, not reinforce them. So if you find that agreeing with the complaining just confirms your worst fears, stop all together! It's proven to be an effective experience for me, though, so I hope it's as powerful for you. :)