Overcoming Resistance to Change


Overcoming resistance to change is not a trivial matter. When we want to change something in ourselves or our lives, more often than not we will need to overcome resistance. Despite our resolve to change, there are parts of us that are quite happy to have things remain the same. The power of inertia and previous conditioning need to be overcome to step into something new.

Thriving Plant Bed Next To Barren OneOvercoming Resistance to Change

The Challenge of Change

Being proactive and taking the initiative to change isn't easy. The change we want may require trying on new behaviors that initially feel foreign and uncomfortable to us. It may mean learning a new skill or calling on parts of ourselves that have been laying dormant for a very long time.

For example, we may want to be more straightforward or bold in our dealings with others, but we have become accustomed to seeing ourselves as timid or shy. We may want to more actively pursue our goals, yet we feel stuck in the rut of passively watching the time go by never rocking the boat or making our move.

We want change. Yet time and again we find ourselves reluctant to take necessary action. We live with the pain of not doing what we feel we should and we want things to be different. Still we keep on behaving in the same old ways, doing the same old things and repeating the same old patterns. We are seemingly unable or unwilling to change.

Yet, are we truly incapable of change? Is it really that we aren't willful enough, or are other factors at play that we simply aren't fully aware of? What understandings would help us in overcoming resistance to change?

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Exchanging the Old for the New

“How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

~Trina Paulus

We may say we want to change. We have an idea in our head about how this change will unfold and we like what we see. As far as our conscious mind is concerned the change is already in place.

Yet, our conscious intention for change has yet to reach the deeper levels of our mind. At the level of the subconscious mind we are still very much the same. Our subconscious sense of who we are now feels more real to us than any future change we have painted on the horizon. To change that would mean a temporary loss of our identity. This is something we are extremely wary of even if we don't know why.

Understanding this is a big step towards overcoming resistance to change.

Every step we take in a new direction means letting go of our old ways. Every step towards becoming the ‘butterfly’ means letting go of our sense of still being the 'caterpillar'.

Sometimes all it takes is the thought of change to trigger reactive thinking and intense inner-resistance: ‘This just isn’t me’; ‘What’s the point’; ‘It’s just not worth it’ - all common examples of internal resistance to the thought of change. It is the caterpillar within us that is fighting for existence. After all, it was here first!

If we are serious about self-change we must move beyond this anticipated resistance and become notwithstanding this inner-protest.

Beyond Self - Beyond Resistance

The thing to remember about self-change is that we aren't trying to change who we are - although it may feel like it. Rather, we are trying to change how we are. This is a subtle and vital distinction to make. It can be the difference between overcoming resistance to change or continuing to struggle.

Trying to change who we are is problematic - it invites resistance. Each and every one of us, in essence, is a unique individual endowed with unique qualities, characteristics, proclivities and gifts designed to help fulfill our purpose in life. This is our true identity. It is who are, which isn't for us to change. In terms of our true identity we are perfect just as we are.

This is why we struggle with so much resistance when we feel we are trying to change an aspect of who we are. An important part of us knows that our true identity is not to be tampered with. Our true identity is never the problem.

So, if we aren't aiming to change who we are, then what is it exactly that we are targeting to change? If we fully accept who we are, then wouldn't we lose the motivation to pursue personal growth and self improvement? What is the incentive to change when we recognize ourselves as perfect just as we are?

This question goes right to the heart of one of the great paradoxes of personal growth and self improvement. It also goes to the heart of overcoming resistance to change. For at the end of the day, it is only from a profound foundation of self-acceptance that we are free to enjoy the process of change. Otherwise, it is quite natural to resist it.

Self-change isn't a matter of trying to change who we are. It isn't about trying to change our true identity. The real goal of self-change is to identify and get rid of the false. Shedding false ideas, false beliefs and false identities we gradually become more of who we already are.

This is the real beauty and power of conscious self improvement and personal growth. By revealing and strengthening what's true in us, the false weakens and falls away. This realization goes a long way to help us in overcoming resistance to change.

Thank Goodness for All That Is False!

The tenuous hold of the false within us guarantees the potential for tremendous change. When the false within us is lodged from its precarious stronghold the change we experience can be near instantaneous. Years of false conditioning can be left behind if what we are aiming for is authentically ours. This is the power of change inherent in working with the depths of the mind.

When we draw on the innate creativity, resourcefulness and wholeness of our true inner self - when we are in the position to draw on our natural intelligence - powerful things can happen. Learning to harness the power of the subconscious mind is an important part of this equation. Working directly with the subconscious mind is one of the secrets to overcoming resistance to change.

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