How Emotional Resistance Can Impact Your Overall Wellbeing

Published on: December 1, 2010

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“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” – Peter M. Senge

Emotional resistance implies the avoidance of feelings and unconscious emotions hidden under the surface. It relates to facing the true nature of oneself, since we all have a shadow-self that we don’t allow others to see.

The dangers inherent with emotional resistance is that it gives way to unconscious actions that threaten one’s wellbeing. We deny emotions which seek expression from within, believing they are unnecessary thus causing ourselves harm. The more one pushes up against their emotions, the harder they push back. Imagine two people involved in a tug of war. There is a bottomless pit diving them as they stand on either side, tugging at the rope. Person A is pulling against the emotion, while person B is the emotion itself (anger, hatred, anxiety, sadness etc). The harder person A pulls against the emotion, the harder person B will pull back as they both fear being pulled into the bottomless pit.

Imagine for a moment if person A let go of the rope so that there was no resistance. What do you think might happen to the emotion? It has no option other than to surrender. That is precisely what happens when we detach from fueling the emotion. For the more energy we give the unwanted emotion, the more it seeks expression within us. Energy Flows Where Attention Goes.

Often a conscious decision to change allows one to become free of the crippling emotion which has had a vice-like grip on them. In order to move forward, resistance must be given up. This can be a challenging aspect, since we take ownership of the emotion by identifying with it. We assume ownership of it by telling ourselves that we are the emotion. Therefore by consciously choosing to let go of it, we feel as though we are abandoning ourselves. Change is a scary process since we step into the unknown. What if I don’t like the person I become when I have released control of the emotion?

This is the challenging part of the acceptance process. It is part of the release mechanism which the ego disallows. When one identifies with the ego self instead of the true self, this can cause internal conflicts. As stated earlier, the ego offers resistance that you have no need to abandon it. We must continue through to the unknown, knowing safe ground is ready to greet us on the other side.

Below is a three step plan which allows conscious control of moving through the process of abandoning the unwanted emotion. Practice patience and persistence as you move through it. Continually ask yourself – Does this emotion serve my highest growth? You will be guided to know what to do next as you navigate your way through.

Awareness

Awareness or mindfulness is the idea of noticing thought patterns which you entertain on a daily basis. It is the practice of ‘consciously bringing your thoughts to the forefront of your mind.’ Observing your thoughts without getting invested in them. Observing your thoughts like an outsider would. There are many great books on the subject and I would certainly encourage you to read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. Many people navigate live unconscious to the thoughts they entertain daily. Many of these thoughts become unconscious thus manifesting as unconscious emotions.

Commitment

Once you’ve become aware of your thoughts, it’s time to make a commitment toward empowering yourself with the new thought model. We start setting goals, to achieve them. This might include replacing self sabotaging thoughts with empowering ones, which move you in the direction of what you hope to become. You might see yourself becoming calmer amidst a tempered moment. You see, the successful mind draws unique insights continually even during the most challenging times. You have to subject yourself to that environment in order to allow your mind and body to adapt in the long term.

Training

Ok, you’re now aware and committed to advancing forward with managing your emotions. Training is simply that. Training the new thought model until it becomes second nature. The most challenging aspect of developing a new thought pattern is naturally you might slip back into your old thought pattern from time to time. This is normal and to be expected. When it happens be aware of it – then as much as possible get yourself back on the new thought pattern. Eventually your new model of behaviour will be deeply implanted into your subconscious mind.

So have fun, enjoy the process and commit to becoming a little better each time! The rewards are endless as you start living the life of your dreams. Hurdles are overcome and obstacles are no longer giant brick walls.

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