A New Perspective on “Resistance”
I recently watched Steven Pressfield’s conversation with Oprah on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Pressfield was sharing points from his book, The War of Art. He stated that we all have two lives within us, the life we live and the life we dream of living. And he further asserted that it is the “resistance” to our life we dream of living that prevents us from living it. (Pressfield, 2002) Yes, he has us there. We have all experienced resistance. You know, that little voice in our head that starts in to talk us out of following through on what we really want to be doing.
Pressfield’s perspective on resistance is worth considering. He believes that whenever we want to lift ourselves to a new level of living, we will encounter resistance. He believes that resistance is the natural part of breaking through to a new level of living. Resistance can occur from the smallest commitment to the largest -whether it is eating better, putting ourselves on a workout regimen, meditating, doing something creative, changing jobs or any act that entails commitment of heart, such as marriage. Resistance pops up when we are working to better ourselves. Pressfield reframes resistance as the shadow side of our dreams, so therefore, it will be a natural process for resistance to come up if we are embarking on bettering our life.
Although I am intrigued by what he may suggest in his book to ward off the resistance and break through the barriers, I think that becoming aware that we can expect resistance is the first step in following through and doing something new for our life. Pressfield states that it is only when the pain of not doing something becomes greater than doing it, will we often then follow through and do it. So today start out by paying attention to the resistance in your day. It is the resistance that will direct you where you need to go. Break through some resistance today. Do something to take yourself to a new level. (Pressfield, 2002)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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