I have a bad habit of immediately resisting things that I’m told/ordered to do or change. If someone tells me to do something that I think I don’t like, or is not my thing, my first instinct is to say no. But as I have come to learn, first instinct is not always right. I’m okay with change. In fact, I love it – when I choose it, or when I decide to go with it. But when it’s forced on me, I resist. Generally, if I put my mind to something I can learn or do anything. But if I decide that I don’t want to do it, then it’s almost always a disaster. Not necessarily the right way to go about things, particularly as I do believe in making the best of circumstances and situation one is in.
Here’s the truth most of us don’t like to hear: Change – whether chosen or not – is an opportunity for growth. Yes, it’s almost always challenging, often uncomfortable or painful. But it is also always an instrument of character growth.
Inner resistance is much harder to fight than external resistance. When other people or circumstances are trying to stop you from getting what you want, you can fight it, push past it, and consider it an achievement of your will. Overcoming that outer resistance is a trait most of us value, immensely. Inner resistance on the other hand is a whole another problem. Inner resistance comes from within. It’s barriers you’ve created or acquired over the years. Inner resistance plays on your fears, even fuels them. It makes you thinks that you believe in something, and so should resist things that are seemingly opposite. Inner resistance comes in many guises and is a pain in the ass to overcome. But you have to overcome it. Because inner resistance is you holding yourself back. That’s worse than letting other people or circumstances hold you back. Allowing your inner resistance to win is to limit yourself.
I try the following things to overcome my inner resistance. It doesn’t always work (because I’m very stubborn) but it’s a work-in-progress:
- Admit it (at least to yourself)
I may or may not admit it to people, but I admit the truth to myself, in my journal. You have to accept that your resistance is without any rational or justification. You have to accept that you are resisting for the sake of it, or out of fear or ignorance, or out of objection to change, or another similar negative reason. You have to accept that and be honest with yourself, because until you do, you will always be on defensive, trying to fuel that resistance by building up arguments in favour of it.
- Force yourself to do things you have not done before, and didn’t think you would want to
If I needed more evidence that change of mind, heart and preferences is entirely possible – my current enthusiasm about football (soccer) would be enough proof. I believed my whole life that I had no interest in sports, that it was boring. As it turns out, not really, and I actually enjoy it. That’s a minor example, but the horizons it expands are limitless. I’m now trying to expand my horizons further, to try more things that I have not tried before, perhaps things that I’ve been resistant too – and even if I don’t like all of it, at least I would have learned something, and perhaps discovered a few more things I enjoy.
- Surround yourself with the right people
This is essential. You want to surround yourself with the people who encourage you, call you out on your bullshit when required, but still provide positive support. It’s not an easy thing, and it’s not something that everyone can provide. So when you find people like that, appreciate their value. Treat them like gold, because they are precious. These relationships are invaluable. Right people make all the difference. Just as negative people make it difficult to retain positivity, the right people push you to be a better version of you.
Do you have more tips on overcoming inner resistance? Share them in the comments below. And remember, this is a continuous journey. None of us are ever going to reach perfection. We are never going to be the best human beings who ever existed, but we can continuously keep striving to be a better version of ourselves. Each day. Baby steps. Through these baby steps, we can be Kaizen Warriors.