‘Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.’ Steven Pressfield, ‘The War of Art’
Have you ever sat down to write a piece of content, like a blog or a chapter of your new book or maybe even a proposal for a big contract you have been after for awhile, and found yourself, tidying your desk, getting a third cup of coffee, sorting out your folders on your device, suddenly engaged in the antics of kittens on You Tube or, even worse staring mindlessly at the computer screen, mind blank and confidence slowly ebbing away?
If so, then take heart because you are not alone. You have been thwarted by your nemesis, RESISTANCE.
Resistance is like a thief in the night, striking just when you know you have a clear run to get work done. It is there waiting in the shadows to rob you of your creative mojo and send you into a spiralling whirligig of self-doubt, procrastination and overwhelm. Those creative ideas that came to you under the shower and which you were so excited about are now slipping further and further into the recesses of your unconscious mind.
Resistance is like a thief in the night
What can you do to avoid this life-sucking parasite from devouring your creativity? To answer this question, we first need to understand our enemy.
Resistance, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the impeding or stopping effect exerted by one material thing on another. While, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, resistance is a force that acts to stop the progress of something or make it slower.
Each of these definitions refers to stopping, impeding and slowing of something – the opposite of momentum. If we use this definition of resistance, it seems like a force of nature, a physical law like gravity and we know, short of going into space or stopping the Earth’s rotation that it is impossible to stop gravity. What we can do is use it to our advantage, but can we do that with resistance?
We might also know about resistance in electrical current, in a movement to oppose a government or in weight training, so is it all bad? Can we work WITH resistance rather than have it determine our results?
The Dalai Lama is quoted to have said that the enemy is a very good teacher. If resistance is the enemy, then how can it be a good teacher and how can we work with it to create the results we are after?
In my heading I suggested to you that we can stop resistance from stealing our confidence, so let’s explore that idea.
Have you heard about our shadow self, our alter-ego? That part of us that we do not want to know and Heaven forbid others to find out about…..too much shame there. Well, this is the birthplace of resistance. The shadow self is that part of us that wants to rebel, to throw caution to the wind and be the unruly child – to throw a tantrum and refuse to do what is good for us. The shadow self uses resistance as a weapon to get its own way.
Resistance is born in that part of us we hide from the world
I remember when I first learned about this how I felt I was doing battle with that part of me, wearing me out, fighting the part of me I was ashamed of, the part of me that said ‘Who do you think you are to even consider that people want to listen to you?’ and ‘If you put yourself out there, you will be criticised and rejected’ and also ‘You are weird, no one else thinks like that; no one else criticises themselves and feels like they are a freak’. Well, I have since learned that I am not alone, that many people have these thoughts and fears and I also know that many people have managed to overcome them and truly shine their light for others to follow. So what’s the trick? How do you overcome these self-sabotaging thoughts of the shadow self, the home of resistance and the thief of confidence?
You befriend the beast. You make it your ally rather than your enemy and it becomes your best teacher. WTF? I hear you say….that sounds counter-intuitive.
You befriend the beast. You make it your ally rather than your enemy and it becomes your best teacher.
Think of it this way. What takes up more energy – fighting and arguing and getting nowhere fast or being kind and understanding. Your shadow self is as much a part of you as the part you show off to the world, yet you hide that part of you, you fight it, resist it and suppress it only to have it rear its head when you are tired or have to get something done. What if you could embrace that part of you? You could first of all, recognise it then thank it for keeping you safe and allow it to pass through you.
Let me explain as I can see your confusion. You sit down to write your blog or proposal, you are ready to smash this out and your mind goes blank. You recognise this as Resistance. You could then ask yourself what you are resisting, what is holding you back, as you explore this thought, it comes to you that if you write this content, you might be rejected, you might be criticised or your proposal might not be good enough and so you fall into the clenches of Resistance. Now look at the probability of these consequences, what is the likelihood of that happening and what is the likelihood of a great outcome? What if you knew that regardless of the outcome, you would be ok? New focus, yes? Now, that resistance might just have helped you write an even better piece or it might have helped you learn something about yourself. It has become your teacher rather than your enemy.
You then come back to the task at hand, knowing that whatever happen, you’ve got this and your confidence begins to restore itself. You feel empowered, motivated and know that resistance can NEVER have power over you again because as soon as it appears you recognise it and know just how to disempower it – you have done more than slay the dragon, you have tamed it….and regained your confidence and your creative mojo!
Stand confidently for you have conquered RESISTANCE
Article written by Maureen Wise
Maureen Wise has over 30 years’ experience as an art and social sciences teacher. After seven years coaching women to gain more confidence and clarity whilst exploring or using their creativity, Maureen has created a unique coaching experience for her clients.
Maureen's focus on whole brain thinking (left brain analytics crossing over with right brain creativity and mindfulness), is the core of her Success Pathways and Wise HeART Studio programs.
Drawing on her love of learning and art to bring that unique style of coaching to her business, Maureen is an engaging speaker, a passionate author, mentor, teacher and facilitator.