Resistance Empowers What We Resist
By Mary Cook, M.A., R.A.S.
Resistance is born of fear. It is not healthy assertiveness and boundary setting. It is not examining, understanding and resolving problems. It is not letting go and letting God. It is pretending that we can extinguish something by pushing it away with negative thoughts.
Resisting sadness increases its energies, attracting sad people and experiences to us, until we acknowledge our own sadness. Resisting the healing of abuse, makes it more likely that further abuse will occur. Resisting society’s rules results in more rules and restrictions being imposed on us. Resisting anger means that we become self-destructive, passive aggressive, or repeatedly attract angry people and stressful circumstances. Then we blame others for making us angry. Resisting learning, means that the same lessons we dislike, continue to plague us with escalating negative consequences.
When resistant thoughts alone, fail to protect us from fear, we can use compulsions to aid in our attempt to fool ourselves. Now we combine negative resistant thoughts with resistant compulsions, to give us temporary artificial illusions that our life is the opposite of what we resist.
We can resist feeling weak and inferior, by abusing stimulant drugs that provide false beliefs of power and invulnerability. Eventually however, we end up paranoid and imprisoned in self-hate and tiny spaces. We can resist inner pain and depression, with alcohol induced euphoria, until resistance and alcoholism beat us into overwhelming despair, hopelessness and shame.
We can resist feelings and memories of harmful intrusions, impositions and violations from others, by practicing eating disorders. Controlling what we put in our bodies and what we get rid of and avoid, gives us the illusion of safety, comfort, power and nurturing. Then we end up causing ourselves dangerous physical harm, increasing anxiety, depression and fear.
We can resist painful feelings of powerlessness over sick people who determined our welfare in childhood, by co-dependently controlling and focusing on others. This results in hostile dependent relationships, futile power struggles and feelings of increasing anger, fear, frustration and helplessness.
We can resist feelings of personal emotional low self worth, by using workaholism to supply us with external achievements and value. We then experience unrelenting pressure to succeed, and an inability to relax and enjoy ourselves no matter what we accomplish. And our significant others complain that we have nothing to give them.
We can’t get to someplace new, when resistance is the tool. Fear creates a future just like the past, and prevents us from experiencing a single moment in the present. And the present is the only place where we have any power for positive change. Resistance is an isometric exercise that keeps our bodies rigid, our minds narrow and our lives victimized by our own false beliefs.
Instead of resistance, we can respond to what we don’t like by attempting to understand it, its genesis and what it triggers within us emotionally, mentally and physically. We can then use our psychological and spiritual insight to determine the healthiest response. Life never ceases in its attempts to enlighten us. And once we agree to be a willing and open student, our life will evolve, instead of remaining stagnant and replaying the same themes and heartaches.
Compassionately embracing our sad feelings allows us to mourn and move onward. It releases stress hormones, and we ultimately feel lighter and more energized. Addressing and healing abuse gives us the chance to perceive ourselves as whole and holy, instead of objects to be used, abused and hated. Complying with rules brings learning experiences that result in greater freedoms, and the acquisition of valuable skills. Experiencing anger and the circumstances of its beginnings, in a therapeutic environment, releases its destructive energy and reveals the underlying vulnerable feelings to be felt, understood and healed.
When we stop resisting our inner work of healing and growth, we can examine painful feelings, thoughts and memories in light of adult perspective and spiritual support. We can ask ourselves in what healthy ways or life areas do we experience competence, joy and serenity. We can identify areas to set appropriate boundaries, and demonstrate personal safety and self-nourishment. We can find healthy role models to learn about relationships, re-parent ourselves, develop our true identity and learn to live with integrity. We can listen to others who are comfortable with personal reflection and sharing of feelings, and learn to trust this process and the inner strength and bonding that it brings.
In order to evolve, we need to set aside fear in favor of faith. We must practice assertiveness rather than aggressiveness or passivity. When we face our problems and pain with a calm mind and compassionate heart, we are on the path to resolution. Embracing curiosity, open-mindedness and humility facilitates freedom, peace, perpetual learning, meaningful purpose and fulfillment. Surrendering willfulness and character defects allows God to work through us. When resistance falls away, everything can be transformed into its highest good.
WWW.MARYCOOKMA.COM Mary Cook is the author of “Grace Lost and Found: From Addictions and Compulsions to Satisfaction and Serenity”, available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com etc. Mary has over 35 years of clinical practice and 29 years of university teaching experience. She is a national speaker and has a private practice in San Pedro, CA. Mary is available for telephone and office counseling, guided meditation, speaking engagements and in-service training. Contact her at [email protected] and see website for further information.