Resistance, disinclination, hesitancy, reluctance. Four words describing a tingling sensation associated with feeling you are not ready to move forward with something, even if you think you should. It doesn’t feel like a downright ‘NO!’, but more like a hunch, a disinclination to do something, a lack of enthusiasm. And the frustating thing? Is not always clear why you feel that way. Sounds familiar? Read on.
Resistant Reluctance comes in many ways:
"The unconscious part of your mind is powerful and keeps you safe in times of trouble."
Why is it there?
Resistant Reluctance is there for a reason. It is an emotion provoked by deeper parts of your mind to ensure your core needs are being met. Basic needs like safety, sleep, food, water, and more complex needs, like connection, purpose, freedom, respect and love.
The unconscious part of your mind is powerful and keeps you safe in times of trouble. In the background it scans your internal and external environment for threats. When it detects a threat standing in the way of your basic needs getting met, it quickly deploys a wide array of proven strategies to protect you.
Simple strategies provoke motion, causing you to fight, freeze or run away. More complex strategies provoke emotions that push you to act or feel in a certain way. One of these complex strategies is 'resistant reluctance', and there are two basic arch types with their own distinct feel.
"There is no need for self-judgement or being harsh with yourself. You are simply listening in to a deeper part of you. This part has detected a need within you that hasn’t been met for quite a long time."
TYPE A: Conscious Resistant Reluctance
When danger is clear and concise (like hearing the sounds of a freight train coming toward you) your mind and body work together to move you away from the danger (moving your muscles to rapidly step away from rails).
TYPE B: Unconscious Resistant Reluctance
When danger is vague and opaque (like feeling a lack of enthusiasm moving forward with a project), your mind and body work together to move you away from the danger (stalling your muscles to not get any work done).
"Surrendering to the feeling, without judgement, leaning into the feeling and giving it full voice."
Both types are extremely important mental mechanisms that protect you from harm. Yet we tend to be appreciative of type A and pay heed to its message, while being frustrated by type B and ignoring its message. However, ignoring the message of reluctance, does not make the message go away. Just like staying near the rails does not make the train stop, ignoring the feelings of unconscious resistant reluctance does not make the unmet need go away. It is still there there. Sooner or later your unconscious will become obnoxious with trying to get the message through, leading to intensified feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, sadness and more. Fortunately, there is a way out. Read on.
Ready to resolve resistance? Try this.
Here is how to find the nuggets of gold in the the mental yuck created by Type B resistant reluctance. The next time when you experience resistance and are unsure why, here are some techniques to get to the bottom of the ‘why’. Just pick a few that speak to you and use them on yourself, or on your husband, kids or horses.
"Pretend you are a journalist and talk out loud with the feeling, asking it compassionate questions like ‘Hello reluctant resistance, what are you trying to do for me?'"
Trust Yourself, Always.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up, even if you think the things coming up are silly, unreasonable, selfish, stupid, ridiculous. Give yourself a chuckle; there is no need for self-judgement or being harsh with yourself. You are simply listening in to a deeper part of you. This part has detected a need within you that hasn’t been met for quite a long time. As soon as you’ll find the core purpose of the resistant reluctance, the feelings will soften and eventually melt away; their purpose dissolved, their objective achieved, their master (you) being taken care of. Trust Yourself.
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"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." - Dolly Parton