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Dissecting Resistance

By Ivanka Jankovic
April 23, 2011

Resistance can take many forms, from mild annoyance to a complete paralysis. It is important to know why it is happening, what to do and what not to do if resistance overpowers your life.

You have been thinking for a while about making a change in your lifestyle that would improve your overall health, relationships or finances. You finally decided to take steps, feel excited, cannot wait to start doing them just to find yourself second guessing your decision while excitement has gone out of the window. This is resistance.

You have taken steps to pursue a new activity. But you are constantly getting distracted. A voice within you keeps telling you: There is not enough time. This is resistance.

You are on your way to change a bad habit, break addiction, do what your heart wanted you to do for ages, and as you move along unexplainable fears hit you. You feel paralysed, confused, drained, overwhelmed, question your decisions, want to quit. This is resistance.

We resist other people when they demand something from us. We resist certain situations but the resistance I would like to talk about is the inner one when we resist our inner selves. This kind of resistance does not exist on its own. It is always a reaction to some change that person wants to make. Change can be conscious or unconscious. It can be small like waking up half an hour earlier or a big one like leaving a troubled relationship. Both may set off resistance.

The core of every human being is pure creative energy. That energy wants to express itself and freely flow. We get glimpses of this energy as inspirations, ideas, feeling energized and uplifted. In those moments it seems like we can do anything we set our mind on yet our ego/wounded self immediately starts to question and doubt our abilities.

Our creative part is our True Self - it wants to heal, grow and share. The resistant part is our ego/wounded self whose only task is to protect against pain, control and keep things status quo. Our true Self wants to move forward yet our ego/wounded self wants things to stay as they are completely controlled by him/her, and absolutely hates uncertainty and not knowing how things will turn out. Resistance happens when those two opposing parts start pulling a person in different directions. It can be draining, exhausting, confusing, with a lot of inner noise, worry or anxiety. True Self want to go to the right, ego/wounded self wants to go to the left, and a person cannot make a single steps, feels completely stuck.

There are many forms of resistance but let's explore resistance that can show up as a voice of reason, causes great discomfort or complete paralysis.

Voice of reason - This is a resistance when ego/wounded self easily wins just by presenting a very reasonable list of reasons why something cannot be done: Not enough time. Timing is not right, later. Not enough money. What are people going to think? Somebody will get upset. You are not ready. You need to heal more, work harder, learn more  ____ fill the blanks with any other reason. All the reasons sound pretty valid and a person postpones actions since initial the excitement is not there either.

Although it looks like a really good decision not to embrace the change, a person is constantly plagued by a low level of dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and a constant feeling that something is off in his/her life. A person very often feels like a victim of people and circumstances with a deep belief that his/her life is controlled by others. 

Discomfort - If a person manages to bypass the voice of reason and takes initial steps towards a better life a great discomfort can kick in. Discomfort can be manifested as fear, anxiety, or incessant worry. Yet again a person can take this as a sign that change is a bad idea, probably not worth pursuing. Nothing is further from the truth. Discomfort is the result of the inner struggle between your ego/wounded self and your True Self. Voice of ego/wounded self becomes very loud, worry reaches a peak, anxiety and confusion become unbearable. The whole ego 'drama' has one, and only one purpose - to make you abandon your change.

Complete paralysis is the headrest resistance of all. This kind of resistance can completely immobilize a person, rob him/her of energy, joy and leaves person depleted with all kinds of physical aches and pains, apathy or feeling like spinning out of control. The change that can trigger this resistance is so threatening to the ego/wounded self so that he/she puts up a horrible fight. This is also known as 'a dark night of the soul'. Ego/wounded self uses shame and judgement to win, pulls out a long list of things about what is wrong with you, screaming from top of the lungs letting you know you are incapable, not-lovable, will never succeed, will end up alone, throws at you every single fear you ever had in your life but magnified ten fold. It also presents all kind of disasters that are just about to happen if you proceed. The idea is to make you quit and abandon anything you were doing so far. 

Steps to do to overcome resistance:

  • Don't judge or shame yourself. Judgement and shame just add on to your inner pain and make you feel unworthy, unlovable and undeserving. Judgement and shame lead to self-abandonment.
  • Pay attention if you slip into victim mode. Although it may seem like some alien force has invaded you, and you are a victim of the situation, people or circumstances, being a victim will keep you stuck even more. Victim believes somebody else is causing his/her resistance, and therefore nothing can be done.
  • Remember the part of you that is resisting is your wounded inner child. Although it may look very powerful the bottom line it is a child part of you acting as powerful and know-it-all adult.
  • Take responsibility for your feelings. This step will allow you to take appropriate action and will move you out of being a victim and being stuck.
  • Open up to learn. If you practice inner bonding you would take this opportunity to learn what is really going on and what are you telling yourself that is causing your resistance. Resistance holds a very important message for you. As you explore your beliefs you will find all kinds of false and limiting beliefs held by your ego/wounded self. Some beliefs are not even yours - they were downloaded to you when you were very young. Healing those beliefs with help of your Loving Adult and Guidance will help you release resistance and allow you to move on.


"It takes courage to be healthy and happy." ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup



Ivanka Jankovic is founder of Gaia Holistic Center, a holistic practice that provides pathway to emotional healing, and helps people create life of meaning, joy and purpose. Ivanka uses holistic modalities of aromatherapy, inner bonding and Bach Flower essences to assist people on their journey to wholeness. She works with people locally, nationally and internationally via phone or Skype. Visit her web site http://www.gaiahc.com/


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