Relationship Challenges? What You Resist Persists

Hi, it’s Cliff Edwards and welcome back to this series of videos/blogs on creating more connected relationships!

Another common trap that people fall into within relationships – and in their lives in general actually – is the trap of non-acceptance.  Non-acceptance is a two-fold trap, so today I’ll deal with the first part in this video.  And that’s resistance!

Resistance frequently goes hand in hand with trap # 2, “Looking for What’s Wrong.

The trap of resistance is an easy one to fall into when faced with people or circumstances you don’t like or don’t want.  Resistance comes out of a belief – a judgment – that something is wrong, bad or shouldn’t be that way.

Resistance is the opposite of acceptance.  It is characterized by wishing or wanting that things could have been, should have been or ought now to be different.  But even more than the wishing or wanting, being in resistance to something, means that you’re actively struggling against it.

Now that you’ve left the Church, you may be in resistance with active Mormon family and others.  In terms of relationships you may judge and resist:

  • Their beliefs
  • Their choices and actions,
  • Their behaviors toward you or others
  • Or any number of other things…

So you resist.  You fight, you argue, you judge, you struggle against the facts, you try to control or manipulate situations or circumstances, rather than just accepting the reality of what is.

What You Resist Persists

But resistance takes a tremendous amount of energy and attention.  And a funny thing happens, the more you resist something, the more you’re stuck with it, because your attention, energy and struggle keeps it right with you wherever you go.

Let me give a quick example.

Right now my hands are moving without resistance.  I can effortlessly change direction and go at any speed. I can even brush my hands up against one another and move on.  But if decide to resist one with the other, something happens.  As I push one against the other they become stuck together.  And there is now effort involved.  The more I resist, the more energy I expend and I start to strain.  And as long as they are in resistance, where ever one goes, the other does too.

But when I stop resisting, they come unstuck.  I can relax, the strain is gone and I’m no longer wasting my energy in such a fruitless effort.

There’s a cost to resistance.  You experience friction, tension, frustration or outright anger.  You waste your energy, needlessly cause stress and rob yourself of productivity and peace of mind. So acceptance is the choice to emotionally, mentally and perhaps even physically cease resisting anything in your reality and to simply accept the people, circumstances and situations of your life as they are.

Let me be clear about a few things though:

  1. First, accepting something in the present doesn’t mean that you have to approve of it.  It just means that you accept the facts of things as they currently exist. You may have feelings about the situation, but you can acknowledge and be with the feelings rather than trying to resist or deny them too.
  2. Second, I don’t mean that you have to accept someone actively trying to hurt, injure or take advantage of you.  You always have a right to set boundaries, protect and take care of yourself.
  3. Third, accepting something in the present, doesn’t mean that you resign yourself to having it remain that way forever.  It just means that you choose to stop struggling against in now.

When you do, something surprising happens.  You get access once again to all of the energy, attention and focus that you’d been expending on the resistance.

So when you cease resisting, you’re much more relaxed, present and open.  You’re also much more likely to come up with new ideas, useful choices or constructive actions that will allow you to make some positive change in the situation.

Here’s something you can do.

  • Notice if there are any people or circumstances in your life you’re currently judging and resisting.
  • If so, notice what it’s costing you to resist.  What’s the toll on you in terms of your energy, stress levels, happiness and peace of mind?
  • Make a choice to simply accept the facts and reality of things as they are right now.
  • Take a deep breath, relax and imagine letting the resistance go.  Imagine it simply falling away from you and into the ground beneath you.
  • Imagine reclaiming all of your energy and attention from the resistance, and then use it to go do something productive, self-caring or fun!

I trust this was useful for you.  If so, please share it with others who might benefit!  I welcome any comments, feedback, questions or sharing you might have.

Watch for more short video/blog tips in the series on Relationship Traps.

This is Cliff Edwards saying thanks for watching and I’ll see you again soon!


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