I started writing this post the day after I decided to publish my blog. That was weeks ago, and here I am continuing to struggle. I knew that I wanted to talk about resistance, but I had no idea what I was going to say. I thought I would figure it out as I went along. I didn’t think it would be easy, but in the scheme of how much I already talk about how resistance affects my life, the difficulty I am experiencing has truly thrown me for a loop.
I know what resistance is, but I can only recognize it long after it has reeked havoc on my mind. I have started this post at least 5 different times. Each time it has had a new title, and new opening lines. Nothing sounds right, or genuine, nothing sounds like it is coming from my heart. So I start again.
It is hilarious how I know exactly when something sounds wrong, but I can’t find the right words to make it sound right. I know what I want to say. I know that I would like anyone reading this to know exactly what resistance is and exactly how it can affect someone’s life.
Right now, I want nothing more than to over come this mental block, even if it is to just move on to the next one. Resistance is the cartoon devil, you know that bright red guy who holds a pitch fort and is trying to ruin everything and everyone is his path. That is resistance, and it will stop at nothing to confuse me and keep me from becoming aligned with my true-self.
Resistance is the all encompassing anti-doer. Have you ever wanted to start losing weight, but instead of starting right then and there, you read all the articles and books about the newest fads? Go out and buy all new workout clothes. Eat up all the carbs in the house so that you are not wasting food and money. Then when you get around to the working out and eating right, you’ve lost a little bit of your will power and desire. Next thing you know you are at a dinner party, drinking wine and eating all the appetizers in site; see yourself as a failure then totally give up.
I have done that hundreds of times, not just with a healthy life style change, but with so many different things. I am always waiting for the perfect time. When in reality I wouldn’t know the perfect time if it bit me in the ass. I am full of excuses, full of self-doubt, and full of fear. Resistance makes sure I remember that I am a quitter and calls me a fraud everyday.
I am constantly asking myself if there is truly a perfect time to start anything? Resistance says yes. Resistance says, after the kids are back to school. After the house is clean. After my depression fades. After, After, After. After I have decided what I truly want in life. After. But guess what, after never comes. After, doesn’t exist. After, always has a list of more excuses attached to it. Resistance doesn’t want me to realize that after, isn’t real.
Ever heard of the book, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield? I have listened to the audiobook at least 4 times. If you have not heard of it, give it a try. The book is geared toward helping writers with mental blocks, and talks of mystical ideals such as letting the muse work through you. It also talks about what a professional is, and how resistance attacks a writer’s mind, holding them back from reaching their potential.
One of my favorite quotes from the War of Art is on procrastination: “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
― Steven Pressfield,
Resistance in the form of procrastination stops us from being creative, chasing our dreams, speaking our minds, even supporting our loved ones in new endeavors. Resistance can be seen in all areas of life, if you want something but are not going out there and fighting like hell to get it, resistance is to blame. If you decide to read or listen to The War of Art, know that you can replace the example of being a writer with anything, the idea of resistance is in our core being, it is the love of comfort, and fear of the unknown.
The first time I read the War of Art, was about 3 years ago. I have had the knowledge that I am the only thing that gets in my way for the last 3 years. What have I done with this knowledge? Not much. I like to comfort myself with the idea of resistance. I enjoy identifying it and then giving myself a free pass to continue behaving exactly the same, because I know resistance is at play.
That makes absolutely no sense. It is like knowing that you are treating someone badly and then high-fiving yourself for recognizing it but not stopping. It is like knowing you have a deadline to meet, but going out with friends instead of doing your work. It is admitting to your procrastination and continuing to do it. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step, but come on, take the step next!
That has been me, for the last year, probably much longer than that, when it comes to writing or living my life in-general. I keep weighing the checks and balances, instead of just doing. I have this voice in my head that keeps me stuck thinking, instead of typing or acting. This voice is resistance, it is telling me what I am capable of, and expects me to listen, because I always have. The more I focus on what I think I am capable of, the more I place unreasonable limitations on myself. The more I am willing to hold back out of fear, and the easier it becomes for me to second guess my purpose.
Resistance is good at its job. If I listen to resistance I will never be able to straighten out my thoughts enough to end this post. If I listen to resistance I will never fully understand what I am resisting. So I ask myself, why can I not talk about what is really holding me back? What is holding me back from pushing through on my journey to self improvement and true happiness? Why am I making this so hard?
As difficult as it has been for me to answer those questions, I have found the answer, or at least the answer for now. The truth is, I am resisting myself, I am resisting being honest with who I truly am.
I had started this post over and over because no matter what I said about resistance it was empty and full of lies. I could go on and on describing resistance to you, but I need to face the facts, that is not the type of writer that I am. I am the type of writer who uses my personal experience to kick you in your heart strings and see where that takes us. I am a poet first, I write from my heart and soul, but if I fail to make the connection with my words I fall short and want to give up.
When I began this post, I was trying very hard to write what I thought the reader wanted to hear, instead of what I needed to say. I was denying the type of expression I have always used, and that was leaving me with basically nothing. I was dealing with resistance; I was, am, and probably will continue to resist being honest with myself. Honesty is my ultimate challenge.
Until today, I literally had no idea that my resistance was stemming from the fear of being honest. I mean, I started this blog. I am the one who came up with the theme of self improvement through retelling and recreating my story. I was the one who said I was going to begin taking control of my life and creating my own reality. How could I have possibly believed that I could manage that, and stay in the realm of half truths?
It is all or nothing. I know it is all or nothing. I know because it is the opposite of what I hear in my head. My head is not on my side. My head loves comfort and is apparently best friends with resistance. Resistance tells me that I can reach my goals without going all in 100% of the time. Resistance tells me if I hold back, it will be ok, because no one will know. My head believes those lies because those lies can make things easier on me, but whoever changed their life the easy way?
I came to the realization today that I was attempting to take the easy way out when I came across something I had written months and months ago. It was clearly something I wrote strictly for myself. I would love if I had the balls to say it out loud, or silently type it for anyone to read. Unfortunately, I lack those balls at this very moment, but when I read that old note to myself, I knew, what holds me back is honesty. I am honest with myself behind closed doors, but when the doors begin to open I begin to slightly twist the truth.
Resistance tells me that I twist the truth to protect myself, but mainly it tells me I do it to protect the other people who might be affected by my journey. How does that makes sense in the long run though? Like I said, it was my idea to start this blog, so who am I trying to kid?
I can either continue facing the world with my masks on, projecting the character, the persona I have created for the world to see; or I can fight like hell to be the real me. Like a warrior I can shove and push, even stake myself in the heart if it means I can quiet the resistance in my mind. If I can stop blaming others for feeling stuck, and just admit to myself that the stagnation I feel in my personal growth is as simple as me holding myself back.
This is resistance, and I have finally named it. My resistance is named dishonesty.
Can you name what is holding you back?