Feeling resistance to “good” change? Here’s why & what you can do about it
Raise your hand if you know you should be creating regular space in your schedule to focus on inner growth and healing, but when it comes to actually sitting down to tune in and get radically honest with yourself, you feel anxious or stuck and everything in you begins to resist!
I hear ya! Oftentimes, we get stopped by internal resistance.
But here’s the thing about resistance – the ego always resists change. What this means is that despite a part of you truly wanting to sit down to read, reflect or journal with the aim of deepening your self understanding and developing as a leader, there is another part of you that may see those acts as asking yourself to give up a treasured self-identity.
This is because your ego will see any change in identity as a threat – yes, even when moving from an identity that is rooted in limited beliefs to one that is more fulfilled and at ease… your ego only will see threat.
As a result of this “perceived threat” your ego will create all sorts of excuses to avoid any risk of change. Some of the most common way’s your ego will disguise its aversion to change is by bringing to mind phrases such as…
“ I have so much work to do, I really don’t have time for any inner work”
“ I'm tired and this is hard”
“ I’d rather watch a movie, I can hold space for myself tomorrow/next week/ next month”
“ I’ve never been good at this, there’s probably no point in trying.”
All these and more will come to rob you of the joy and freedom that comes from true transformation.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. I gotchu, you’re not in this alone!
Often it’s the things that make us uncomfortable which provide us with the greatest opportunities for insight if we stick with them and break through our resistance.
That’s why I want to share with you three tips that have helped me and my clients fight off any resistance to change and begin to look at the resistance in our lives as a sign that “hey, this may be exactly what I need for my healing & growth at this particular moment.”
Instigate Changes Daily
Affirm The Identity You Desire to Embody Daily
Remind Yourself of what Resistance Offers by looking to past examples of positive changes you've made
Let’s explore these a bit further…
Instigate Small Changes Daily
One thing you can do to start getting used to the idea of change is to familiarize yourself with the feeling on a daily basis.
These don't need to be large changes ( in fact I HIGHLY suggest you start small, like super small and build upon that change gradually), but when you make the effort to step out of your comfort zone a little each day, you'll start to see life from a different perspective.
When you make small changes with consistency, you'll actually be evolving your daily routine and discovering quicker and more efficient ways of doing things.
Since you're engaging in small changes, it won't feel as shocking to your ego and the resistance it prompts likely won't be as intense.
Application Tip: If journaling daily feels too big of a task because of all your preconceived ideas of what journaling needs to be, you might try recording a voice note with a high, low, and key learning for each day or heck, even buying some stickers and each day placing a sticker to represent how you felt at the beginning/ end of each day. These things can seem super small, boring or irrelevant but it will set you up for a renewed mindset that actually gets excited by the idea of journaling. The key is to begin to get use to some type of self-reflection and if a sticker with a sad face, anxious face or happy face can do the trick, why not give it a try!
Affirm The Identity You Desire to Embody Daily
If we know that a big part of the resistance ego faces in change is around not wanting to lose a cherished identity, even when that identity does not serve us, then it makes sense to begin to investigate the identities you have of yourself.
Maybe you consider yourself the screw up of your family, who can't get anything right… Or maybe you see yourself as someone who is “bad” and undeserving of love…or maybe someone who will always be this way ( Ie. “I’m just someone who has always been quick to react/a loser/ bad with follow through”)
Look at the beliefs that arise within each one of the identities you carry and then ask yourself are these really true? A great reframe is to ask yourself the following:
“ Do I know this to be 100% true about who I will always be?”
It doesn't matter if you feel 99.9% of the time it’s true, if you can't say with 100% certainty that this is how you’ll always be then it's not true and living from a place that believes it’s true wont serve your healing and growth one bit.
So once you’ve identified the false truths, you can then affirm what is true and begin to attach that new truth to the identity you’d like to embody more fully.
For example, let's say you’re someone who takes things super personally and is often left feeling hurt, betrayed and abused by everyone around you…
You’d like to work on your sensitivity level so that others' words or perceived ideas about you won’t rattle your confidence so much.
You know that in order to begin this inner work, it requires you to revisit uncomfortable feelings you’ve had and take ownership for the stories you’ve attached to certain things.
You signed up for a course to heal your inner mind and live with more freedom but every time you’re supposed to sit down and tackle it, you just can't! Resistance is at its extreme and most times wins the battle, with you ending up in front of the TV rather than your notebook.
You’ve recognized that you’ve rooted in a belief that “ this is just how I am and I'll never change.” You've identified this as a false belief because no one truly knows what the future holds.
So now it's time to remind yourself of this more regularly by creating an affirmation such as “my opinion of myself is the only one that matters and I choose to daily practice listening to the feelings that come up in my engagements with others and reminding them of the truth.” or “ I can't be in others heads so I cannot have an accurate understanding of how they view me but I can work on how I view myself and I choose to focus my energy there daily.”
Remind Yourself What Change Has Brought You
At the end of the day, remember all the wonderful new experiences and relationships that change has brought you. We all know that you can’t change something we don't see so remind yourself that resistance is only highlighting areas for your own healing and growth which you can now tackle head on. Specifically as it relates to your own inner growth, try to bring to mind times when it was hard to speak your truth but you did – how did that feel? Maybe scary at first but I bet afterwards a weight was lifted and you began to experience a sense of gratitude and self-empowerment by being true to yourself, rather than abandoning your own needs for the sake of “ keeping the peace.
Keep in mind that change is good for you. Since nothing in life is static, you need to make change a normal part of your life. You need to be willing to move yourself forward to reach your ultimate goals. When you do, you'll find that you're happier and more fulfilled in life!