Most of us long for change. The life we live now isn’t really everything we had hoped and dreamed. There is some piece of it that we aren’t happy with. There is something we want to grow into, something more we want to BE. This dissatisfaction, however small, is an indication that you are ready for the next step in your life. You are ready to change something in order to be more YOU.
You’ve probably figured this out by now, but this kind of change is hard. Even when you really want to change something in your life it can feel like an impossible task. Despite your best intentions, it feels impossible to actually create the change you envision. No matter what plan, resolution, or commitment you make, progress toward your goal seems to fade away.
You feel too tired to keep moving so you take a nap, watch TV, go out to eat instead.
Eating seems so much easier than working on your goal.
You fall back into old habits of complaining, anger, or overwhelm.
Your schedule gets nuts, your kids are demanding, your work wants extra hours.
Writer's block, technology not working, resources not available, or other problems block your way.
These things slow you down, wear you out, and hinder your progress. Before you know it, you are no longer working toward your goal. What you want to leave behind apparently wasn’t gone, it was just in storage. One moment of inattention and it creeps out of the closet and inserts itself in your life again.
Yup, change is hard. You don’t need me to tell you that. You have your own stories to tell.
What you might not know is that the struggle to change isn’t necessarily a lack of willpower or a character flaw. You see, even though a piece of you is very excited about the change and really wants it to happen, there is another piece of you that definitely likes things the way they are. This part of you is sneaky and subtle and may let you feel like you are in control, but is able to quietly manipulate you into keeping your life just the way it is.
Many spiritual traditions call this the part of you the ego. Your ego is your sense of personal identity that has built up a construct of who you are (good and bad) over the course of your lifetime. Trying to change this identity is very scary to the ego. It will work extremely hard to make sure the status quo is maintained, even if the change you contemplate seems positive. It is always working hard to keep things as they are.
Religious traditions might label this resistance to change the devil or Satan. Although considered an external force, the purpose is the same. To keep you locked in the life you have now. To remain stagnant. This force wants to keep you from becoming the best version of yourself and bringing your divine gifts to the world.
In their book Coming Alive Barry Michels and Phil Stutz label this resistance “Part X.” This part of you is the counterforce pushing against your every move to change into someone new. Part X wants you to believe that change is impossible so that you give up trying and remain solidly mired where you are.
In energy work resistance to change is usually viewed as stagnant energy stuck in your body. Stagnant energy can be emotions, thoughts, beliefs, or patterns that cannot move through your energy system. You cannot change something if you cannot move the underlying energy associated with it. It creates an invisible barrier you cannot breach.
All these are different ways to describe the same problem. Any change has to overcome resistance in order to take root in our lives. No practice that denies the existence of this resistant force is based in reality. You can say all the positive affirmations you want, but eventually you will come face-to-face with this force and, if you don’t know what to do, it will likely derail your efforts.
The good news is that there are ways to free yourself from this resistance. It doesn’t necessarily need superhuman will or a new plan, it just needs a different set of tools to deal with the resistance directly. Once the resistance is gone, the change itself will be much easier. If you know how to push back, true lasting change is possible!
There are several ways to do this:
Sometimes what you need is a deep connection to your higher self. You see, your higher self (your soul) has a much clearer view of where you are going. It sees your struggles and frustrations but doesn’t get as discouraged by them. It has all the vision and energy you need to push back against the resistance keeping you stuck. In that moment where you feel that forward movement is too hard, asking your higher self for help will energize you to push through the resistance. To do this, try out this Overcoming Resistance Visualization that I recorded (there is no background music so you can choose what works for you!). Once you’ve listened to the recording, you can use this as a tool any time to give you energy when change seems hard .
Sometimes you need to change what you believe so that you can open yourself up to new possibilities. Read the post Let Go of Who You Are for more.
Sometimes what you need is simply a quick tool to be used in a moment that will remind you not to give in to the resistance. For this, read Coming Alive or The Tools by Barry Michels and Phil Stutz. They give you great tools/visualizations to help you overcome Part X. I use these tools often when I feel stuck.
One of these things might feel better to you than another. If so, try that thing this week. Don’t give that resistance any time to set up a barrier and talk you out of it! If you are serious about change, believe it can happen. Believe that there will be resistance. Take steps to minimize the resistance so you can maximize your success.
Feeling lost? Let’s talk! If you tell me where you are struggling to change I can point you in the right direction to find the tools you need to overcome resistance. Contact me here!