People ask me every day why other people in their life won’t change and why no matter what they do, they can’t change certain things. The answer is actually very simple. The answer is because there is resistance to the change. In other words, not all energies involved are a ‘yes’ to the change, some are a ‘no’ to the change. This is very hard to recognize when you are not conscious of the resistance. For example, let’s imagine that what you really, really want is to have a loving partner. You may not be conscious of parts of yourself that think having a loving partner would mean losing your sense of autonomy. And so you may consciously be doing everything to get a partner while in the background, the other parts of you are sabotaging every effort you make relative to finding a partner and are keeping you single on purpose.
Our failure to recognize and work with resistance that is present, is what really keeps us stuck in a pattern the way it is. To understand resistance, I want you to imagine a stream with a fast-moving current. In this current, there is a boat. This boat has 6 oarsmen in it, each of whom have a paddle. Some of the oarsmen are paddling downstream with the current. Some of them are paddling upstream, against the current. These oarsmen who are trying to paddle the boat upstream are in resistance. They are in resistance to the current itself. They are in resistance to the oarsmen who are also trying to paddle the boat downstream. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force.
We can meet with opposition from the outside and we can meet with opposition from the inside. Obviously resistance from the outside is external people, events and circumstances opposing you. But internal and external resistance go hand in hand. The resistance we encounter on the outside is a reflection of internal resistance that exists, usually internal resistance that we are unaware of. The main source of internal opposition, the source of our resistant thoughts, words and actions is the splits within our consciousness. The rule of thumb is this: If you have any resistance taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else. For more information about resistance and what to do about it, watch my video titled: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else!
Change is something that people tend to resist. In fact, when most people are faced with change, they go through a cycle of denial, anger, confusion and sadness before accepting the change and most especially finding a new confidence within the change. There are multiple reasons why people resist change. I’m going to list some of these reasons for you.
Our sense of safety is all wound up in the way things are and the way that we are. Any change, destabilizes this sense of safety and security. It completely messes with our sense of control. For example, imagine that a strategy that we have found for staying safe in relation to other people is to be independent. If suddenly we find ourselves having to be dependent or having to let go of our independency in any way, we immediately feel unsafe. Or let’s say that whatever change we make, will make us different than other people. Suddenly, we feel we don’t belong and may be treated as an outcast, which would hurt us emotionally and threaten our closeness with others. Immediately we feel unsafe. The need for a routine, which is pretty much the opposite of change, falls into this category. Our routine is familiar and makes us feel secure. When we have to do something differently and our routine gets disturbed, we lose that sense of security. Perceiving ourselves to be unsafe or vulnerable, activates our primal centers for survival, which tell us: This change is to be avoided at all costs.
Change makes us lose our confidence. This goes hand in hand with our sense of safety, security and control. Because a change requires us to step into the new, we suddenly feel vulnerable and incompetent and out of control. Many changes make us feel like what we know and all the skills we have built up are suddenly obsolete. We also feel more at the mercy of others who are more competent in the new scenario than we are. In this way, change tends to make us feel bad about ourselves and most people want to avoid this feeling at all costs.
We don’t understand or misunderstand the need for the change. This is especially true if we were not consulted about the change, included in the decision to make the change or don’t see or feel that the change is in our best interests. If we do not get why a change is happening or why it is needed, we will fight hard for what we already do. Sometimes, a change seems like a bad change and therefore not something that we consciously chose, but something that was forced on us instead. When this is the case, we resist change the very most. It may be of interest to understand that most drastic change in fact arises from crisis for this reason. Because people have so much resistance to change, people usually won’t choose change, instead the forces that be in this universe often end up forcing it upon them. When this happens, the first thing we do is to refuse to accept that a change has been forced upon us. In fact, it is change that we are trying to prevent. All the ways we try to gain control over the situation are an attempt to get things to go back to normal. We become desperate to get things to go back to normal. It takes a while for the reality to sink in and to accept that the change is happening whether all of ourself consents to it or not.
Fear of what we project into the unknown. And insecurity relative to the new. Uncertainty puts the worrying mind into high gear. People don’t actually fear the unknown. They fear what they imagine the unknown could contain. Also, our confidence is rooted in what we do know. This is why the sayings “better known pain than unknown pleasure” or “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” exists. What it means is that we tend to choose to stay in a situation and not make a change even if we know that not changing is painful. Most of us would rather do this than take the risk that by making a change, things could be better. We feel confident in our ability to handle the pain of what we already know. Many times, when faced with making a change, we don’t know if that change will be better or worse. We feel no confidence that it will be better and we have no confidence in our ability to handle it if it is worse. You can even see this fear in the fact that when we are threatened, we tend to want to be in a familiar environment, even if it is more dangerous because we feel less vulnerable in an environment that we know the most about.
We have emotional connection to what we think the change is threatening to make us lose. If we perceive any loss in conjunction with a change, we do not accept the change. This could be the loss of a person or a place or a thing. It could also be the loss of an idea or feeling or experience. For example, if a person gets so old that they are no longer allowed to drive, they may resist this change because it causes them to feel a loss of a sense of autonomy that they cherish.
Low levels of trust. This is especially the case when a change is invoked by someone or something else. We live in a world where people do not take each other as a part of themselves. As a result, many people really are out for themselves and their own best interests. This means they cannot be trusted because to trust is to rely upon someone to capitalize your best interests. To the degree that a person has grown up to expect this behavior and to the degree that they have been hurt by this, they will resist change that is imposed on them or asked of them by anyone else because of this lack of trust.
Also, growing up in an environment where people cannot be trusted causes a person’s own consciousness to fragment. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. Many of their own internal parts will be engaged in a zero-sum game and will mirror their external environment in terms of their strategies that destroy trust. So a person will also not trust themselves. Not trusting yourself also makes you resistant to change because you’re not sure if you can trust the part of you that is on board with that change.
We don’t clearly see the reward and benefit of the change. If we did see the rewards, we would have most likely made the change already. If we don’t see the reward or benefit of a change, we don’t feel like we chose the change, we feel it is forced upon us. This makes us feel totally out of control. This also makes recognizing the benefit or reward of the change almost impossible to see. Instead, it feels like the change is against us. It is not what we want and we feel it is the opposite of our best interests. No one is going to get on board with a change that they feel will leave them worse off. In the same vein, if the rewards for making change do not justify the difficulty of making a change, we will resist the change.
- Even the least conscious people can feel the reality of ripple effects. We avoid a change because we don’t want that change to effect other areas of our life. We live an existence that is highly, highly interdependent. One change can lead to many, many other changes. It can bring about a whole new set of problems along with possibilities. Most of us intuitively sense that our lives are a game of dominoes. We have some of those dominoes that we are ok with watching fall and others that we are not ok with watching fall. Imagine making a change, pushing one domino over, and watching a whole chain of them go down, including ones you didn’t want to have fall. For example, a woman might avoid leaving her husband because she knows that doing so would force her to have to get a job and doing that would mean that she would have to put her kids in daycare and doing that may make them feel negatively towards her. We are especially afraid of making a change if we can feel the potential of a change to affect many areas of life, but don’t have clear vision of exactly how or in what ways. For more information about this, watch my video titled: The Catch-Up Effect, Why We Really Fear Change.
A critical thing to understand about the resistance to change is that it doesn’t come from a bad place. Other people and parts of yourself resist change when they think that the change is going to lead them to pain instead of pleasure. Their perception may be wrong, but they genuinely believe that they are acting in alignment with best interests in saying NO to the change. For example, a person who is anti-abortion, genuinely believes they are preventing murder and preserving life. To them, anyone who wants to change an abortion law so that it is legal, is literally voting to legalize murder. A part of you that does not want to lose weight may believe that if it loses weight, it will no longer be able to buffer you from the world and stay safe by staying hidden and invisible. To this part, any part of you that wants to lose weight, is literally trying to blindly walk you into an interpersonal battlefield without any armor. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
If we feel a change will bring about something that is positive, needed and wanted and will not cause us to lose anything that we can’t afford to lose, we feel it is safe. We will then willingly accept any discomfort that comes with change. There will either be no resistance to the change or the resistance will be so minimal that the change will not be a hard no. There is a big difference vibrationally between “I’m scared and it’s a NO for me” and “it’s a YES for me but I’m scared!” This means, if a change isn’t happening, you have to work with instead of against the resistance to the change. You must do this with an open mind that is not already fixed on the idea that the change must happen no matter what. You have to work to resolve the resistance. And you must do that with both understanding and compassion. Hopefully, now that you know the main reasons that people resist change, that will be easier to do.
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