Having done my own personal development work for many years, I have periodically heard a practitioner say – “you are resisting”. In some instances, my “resisting” led to a productive discussion with a trusted practitioner. Other times it turned into a more confrontational and frustrating conversation with a practitioner judging and labeling me for not doing it their way.
Coaching, as I have been trained, is an approach to support people in finding their own answers. While I do ask questions to help my clients look at things in different ways, it is not my place to tell someone what to do or how to think. If I do that, I am giving advice and am moving into the world of consulting.
At the same time, resistance was a key theme in the coach trainings I took, with special focus on how the things that we resist continue to show up in our world until we get the message.
Recently, I had someone suggest it was appropriate to exhibit resistance when you are getting to know a person. This point led me to consider, why is this the case? Is it simply the fact of unfamiliarity that makes resistance expected or acceptable, or is resistance appropriate in other situations, too?
I thought back to several instances in which I had strong resistance to what someone suggested to me.
- The high school guidance counselor who said I should reconsider where I was applying to college, as I would not get into any of the three options on my list. While I listened in part by adding more schools to my application list, I resisted the message to withdraw from the original three. I am glad I heeded my own intuition – being accepted by and attending my first choice school was a wonderful experience.
- Doctors who told me there was nothing I could do for a recurring medical condition. I resisted the description of the condition as normal and natural because of the way it was diagnosed. The testing was both physically and emotionally difficult, and I could not imagine going through it annually. I resisted because I believe there is always something you can do; another option you can find. While it took time to find the right approaches, the condition has not recurred in 7 years. Clearly, there was something I could do; even if it was alternative approaches those doctors were not familiar with.
Think of the times that you have resisted something over the objections of another, and listened to your own intuition, intelligence, or judgment. Those times might include situations like:
- Someone telling you to trust them
- An expert saying their way is the best; it always works
- A teacher or mentor saying your approach cannot possibly work
Let’s be clear – I am not advocating you should resist the opinions of experts, or ignore the feedback of others. Nor am I saying that resistance cannot be the sign of an underlying stubbornness, righteousness, or the belief that you know everything.
I would, however; suggest you peel back the layers of what is underneath the resistance. Ask yourself if what you are feeling is truly resistance or is it your inner guidance system telling you to listen – there is a better path for your health and well-being.
Feeling yourself resistant for no explainable reason? Contact me for a 30-minute clarity call to explore further. www.systemsofchange.com
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