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 I expected progress.
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 sounded right, or genuine, nothing sounded like it is coming from my heart. So I would start again.
Its 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 their life. So I will attempt to start there.
Right now, I want nothing more than to over come this mental block, even if it is only to move on to the next block.
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 people, and keep them from becoming mentally and emotionally aligned.
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 diet 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; then seeing yourself as a failure—totally give up.
I have done that plenty 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 change? 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.
The book The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield introduced me to the concept of Resistance. 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. That means that I have had the knowledge that I am the only thing that gets in my own way for the last 3 years. And what have I done with this knowledge? Not much. Because 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.
My behavior makes absolutely no sense. It is like knowing and acknowledging that you are treating someone badly, and then continuing to do it. And that someone is YOU.
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 acting. This voice is resistance, and it is telling me what I am capable of.
The voice 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 is 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 resisting because I am trying to be the type of writer that I think you are looking for, and the one that I actually am. I am a poet first, I write from my heart and soul, but somewhere along the lines I thought I needed to create myself into a cookie cutter blogger who fits some mold that I don’t even know actually exists.
Basically, I have always wanted to be a writer, but figured I would never succeed at writing, so I made all my excuses, and I created an environment for myself that would ensure I never succeeded. That is resistance.
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 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.
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 okay, 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 a realization today — I always attempt to take the easy way out. I recognized this when I came across something I had written several months ago. It was clearly something I wrote strictly for myself, and inside that old note to myself, I saw, what holds me back. As a poet I am authentically me, as as writer I am constantly trying on different masks. So I start and stop, and must constantly come to terms with my unauthentic voice.
I reject facing the world with my masks on. I am tired of projecting the character — the persona — I have created for the world to see.
I have finally named my Resistance: Authenticity.
Can you name what is holding you back?