A while ago, I did a video in which I explained the single biggest barrier to awareness. I explained that people don’t see things when the seeing of them means feeling pain. Not seeing the truth, when the truth would imply pain is a coping mechanism in the form of an avoidance strategy. If you want to see the video to understand this deeper, the video is titled: The Single Biggest Barrier To Awareness.
In every city I go to, people sit across from me feeling powerless and desperate because they need someone in their life to see something (one of their important truths) and no matter what they do, they can’t get them to see it or accept it. This is an excruciating experience because when someone doesn’t see something, they don’t adjust accordingly. For example, if we don’t see that we are stepping on a cat’s tail, we will continue to stand on it and even think that our cat has lost its mind when it screams.
What people don’t see is that they are fighting against resistance. This is something we are all trained to do. We meet opposition with equal or greater opposition. We bulldoze it or continue to try to bypass it, anything but try to resolve it directly. When we do this, we don’t get that fighting against resistance, is resisting resistance. That will never work. All resistance really is, is opposition. But it serves as a shield that makes it so we can never really be in relationship to whatever is behind the shield. I am going to give you a golden rule of thumb. If someone has resistance to something, stop and deal specifically with the resistance. If they are refusing to accept something, deal directly with the part of them that refuses to accept it. If they are not seeing a truth, stop trying to convince them of it and instead, directly address their resistance to seeing the truth.
I have an image for you that might help you to engrain this concept into your awareness. Imagine that you are trying to dance with someone, but every time you tried to come close and grab their hands, they swatted you away. If you continued to try to dance with them, this would be resisting resistance. Instead, imagine that there is an invisible shield that they have erected between you and them and you need to talk with them directly about that shield first to learn why it’s there and what you need to do for it to not be there, before you every start trying to dance with them. This should be your strategy for communication.
Continuing to use this analogy, drawing the person’s attention to this shield helps them to become aware. It causes them to introduce awareness to their own resistance and this is what begins corroding it, like a light beam shining on a sheet of ice. This is the necessary step to take for acceptance to occur.
Acceptance is the opposite of denial and avoidance. To accept is to recognize something as valid or correct. Doing this makes your being consent to receiving it and digesting it as truth instead of fighting to not acknowledge it and not take it in. Acceptance has nothing to do with condoning something or condemning something. It has nothing to do with whether you want to change something or not. It is simply about being able to acknowledge something as valid enough to let that acknowledgement in, instead of fight to keep it out.
Something that will help you to not resist their resistance is to understand that resistance comes from a super vulnerable space. These parts of someone that resist seeing the truth, do so because seeing the truth would imply pain. They are trying to protect themselves. This is even the case when it’s obvious to you that them not seeing something is getting them into more danger and more pain. Try to remember that they are just trying to stay safe. They will only let go of this resistance if they see that not seeing is not actually keeping them safe. Too understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing As Self Sabotage.
Helping someone to see and explore their resistance to seeing something or accepting a truth is a bigger gift than simply getting them to see whatever it is you’re wanting them to see. For example, you may be trying to get someone to see that they are really self-centered in their interactions with and their attitude towards their child. The single biggest barrier we have to seeing something about ourselves is shame. To avoid this shame (pain), this parent is going to immediately go into resistance. You will NOT be able to convince him or her of this truth. If you stop and work with the resistance directly so that the person sees their own denial and their own refusal to see themselves as self-centered, this awareness will effect ALL areas of their life, not just their relationship with their child. This awareness has the capacity to make this person a different and more authentic person all around, someone who does not subconsciously get his or her needs met in round about, subconscious and manipulative ways.
Within a person’s resistance is the key to their childhood pain and what really needs resolving. In the above scenario, the parent has trauma around their own self interests. The condemnation they experienced when trying to meet their own needs directly is what created this covert strategy for meeting their own needs. This is what really needs resolving within them.
Become aware of what pain or painful changes they are trying to avoid by not seeing, feeling, hearing and accepting certain things. Become aware of the painful meaning they are adding to those certain realities that they don’t want to see. The more willing they are to consciously face that pain that they are wanting to avoid, the more open and less avoidant they will be of awareness.
Get off of your rigid stance about the truth you’re wanting them to see and instead, begin to dance with the resistance itself. Do so with the energy and tonality and body language of curiosity. From this place, you can ask them, if this thing were true and were the reality, what would be so bad about that? If this thing were the actual truth or the actual reality, what pain could a person avoid by refusing to see and accept that? What would it mean about you or about the world? You can help them from there to change their perspective relative to the answers they give. You can help them to ‘soften’ their resistance.
If you really want to get someone to see the truth, you have to get people to see their resistance to seeing the truth, not just try to force them to see the truth.