Imma talk a little today about resistance. I feel like it is a big part of my manifesting process, and one that is not widely spoken of in the LOA world. More specifically resistance to change. Here’s the thing: My brain is really good at receiving what it is used to getting, and can even manage small incremental changes without much resistance. It is familiar, we already have processes and thought patterns about how to go about accepting and welcoming it into our life. But, when I ask my brain to focus on something big, or outside of the normal experience, it often puts up a lot of resistance. It stirs up the self doubt, the unworthiness, the shame, guilt, fear and anger. I am good at identifying what I want, but as soon as I direct my brain to focus on it, it goes into meltdown mode. Error! Unfamiliar territory ahead! It tells me we are better off right where we are, thank you very much.
Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so. It is standard operating procedure for any brain. Protect the human from scary, unusual situations. Survival instinct 101 keeps us in a holding pattern unless we do the mental work of developing new neural pathways to train the brain that this is now the new normal. I started my LOA journey when The Secret was released. I just looked it up, and it was March of 2006, don’t do the math. I have and its north of a decade. I have had many teachers, and influences since that time, but only one of them talked about resistance in a way that sunk in. Brook Castillo works a lot with thought management around overeating and over drinking. Her work as a whole has been the most applicable and actionable out of all the things I’ve read, watched and consumed about LOA and life. One of the things that has been most liberating about her message is that it has allowed me to understand that it is OK that it is difficult to manage thoughts. That I’m not doing it wrong if I have negative emotions, and resistance.
There is a process for changing any habit in your life, including your thought patterns. I know this is not new information for you. There are as many processes as there are teachers in the world, and there are many, very good teachers in the world. But for me, where I always went awry is when I met with internal resistance. It wasn’t enough to totally block my plans, but it was enough to create inconsistency, and this fed the resistance. What I learned from Brooke (I hope she thinks its OK I feel like we are on a first name basis) is that it is normal, natural and expected to have resistance and negative emotion. It is just your survival mechanism kicking in. It is not because I’m doing it wrong, or am bad at it. It is because humans of the past needed the brain to protect them from unfamiliar situations to stay alive. Mind. Blown.
So the best part is, that if we know we are going to meet negative emotion and resistance, we can have a strategy to deal with it. In the past, I thought it was supposed to be easy, that you decided what you want, and were supposed to be blissed out in the emotion of having what you want until you got it. Until I got frustrated at not having it, did a thought loop around guilt because it wasn’t easy for me and gave up because the same thoughts kept coming up, creating the same results. The thought patterns that create our current existence are habitual. And, like any habit, we can change it, first by identifying what is causing it, then consciously changing our pattern. We have to be OK with the discomfort of the new thoughts (because they will 100% have discomfort attached) until our brains become familiar with the new thought pattern. Oh, but we resist the process so. But, like everything worthwhile in life, the more you practice this, the easier it gets! But the discomfort, and negative thoughts that surround any changes worth making will always be there.
So… how do you change a habitual thought pattern? The first step is identifying the thoughts and emotions that might be standing in the way of where we want to go. This can be challenging. You might have to start with identifying what emotions you are feeling in any given moment. You may have a pattern of ignoring your emotions and letting thoughts run on default for so long, that this is a really unusual request of your conscious mind. Maybe a good first question to ponder is what am I feeling, and what thoughts are creating this emotion? Over a few days, take a few moments to think about this question throughout the day. Or, ask yourself this when you are feeling something negative.
Once you understand what thoughts are creating anger, fear, insecurity, etc. you can examine them to see if they hold any truth. Do you want to continue thinking that way, or is there a better feeling thought you can start thinking when you start to feel that way. If affirmations work for you, use them. Just make sure that you replace thoughts with something that feels believable and true to you. If you want to generate a million dollars, telling yourself that you already have a million dollars might cause more negative emotion because it doesn’t feel true. Start with I have money or the universe supports me in all I do. This would replace a thought like I never have enough. Now, rinse and repeat this process with all the thoughts and beliefs about money, your body, your relationships etc. Some of them you may want to keep, some you will want to replace. Be aware that this will take repetition. It won’t feel comfortable until the brain can recognize the thought as familiar, and true, so be persistent. And, don’t beat yourself up if you feel negative emotion along the way.
That brings me back to resistance. It is just an emotion we can feel in the body. Similar to thought patterns, it will keep coming up until you re-set the new normal. You will need to give yourself time and space to feel negative emotion. If you allow negative emotion, rather than resisting it, you can take the power out of the experience. If you are in the middle of a negative emotion, consider describing what it feels like as a physical sensation. It gives you some space and time to experience it, and if the worst experience you can have is the physical sensation of an emotion, you can get through anything, including the discomfort of change.
So to summarize identify the thought pattern that is causing the emotion. Let yourself experience the sensation of the emotions positive and negative. Then figure out what you would prefer to think instead. Then slowly start to turn the tide of thoughts to create positive emotions surrounding the change you want to create. There are a lot more tools you can use to do this, but too much to include in this blog post. Keep reading though! I love sharing things that work to focus my energy and shift from the discomfort to gratefully receiving. Keep manifesting my friend.