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How to Counter Resistance

Notice how our bodies tense up and our minds shut down at the first signs of resistance? Something happens that rubs us the wrong way and all bets are off. What someone says, does, doesn’t do, might or might not do triggers us, and we can’t make peace with it.

Resistance is a reaction to an event we don’t like that pushes it away from us. We consciously or subconsciously oppose it or refuse to accept it. Like how our partner loads the dishwasher. Every time we see them do it not our way, we feel resistance. It doesn’t fit our narrative for how things should be.

The alternative to resistance is acceptance, letting something pass through us unopposed as things naturally do when we’re open and non-judgmental. It’s not being a pushover or a doormat; we can still stand up for ourselves and what’s right. It’s about choosing to flow with reality instead of struggling against it.

Even the hero first resists the call before making peace with their journey. There are villains to fight and obstacles to overcome in order to fulfill their destiny, but they have already conquered resistance.

What kinds of things do we resist? Alarm clocks, for starters. They come with built-in resistance in the form of a snooze button for those of us who are resistant to waking up.

We resist things we know are good for us like a healthy diet, exercise, and meditation, as if exposure to them might cause an allergic reaction.

We resist the person across the table from us as we scroll through our phone, energetically pushing them away.

We resist showing others who we really are to avoid judgment or rejection, even when the facade starts to crack.

We resist what someone said or did as unacceptable, as if they could possibly unsay or undo it.

We also resist temptation, arrest, authority, feedback, change, and reality.

Any way we slice it, resistance holds absolutely zero control over altering the past or avoiding the future. And yet it has 100% control over our well-being.

Resistance lingers. Until we release our grip on what’s wrong with this picture, we’re bound to suffer its effects on our mind-body system. Releasing our partner from having to load the dishwasher our way frees us from suffering. Clearly, they don’t give a damn. That inner turmoil is a sure sign that we’re resisting something in our life that we can’t change.

Notice the tension in the body and constriction in the mind. It lands in our jaw, heart, or gut. It feels like a panic attack. It triggers emotions and muddies our thinking. Remember that good mood we were in? Gone.

We willingly hand over our moods and emotions, not to the event itself, but to our resistance to the event, to our unwillingness to accept the flow of life; to this moment; to what happened; aka reality. By allowing it to pass, we create a state of peace and ease in both our minds and bodies.

Because remember, the event is gone. It’s in the past, like water under the bridge. So what we’re really doing is holding onto the very thing we want to let go of, trying to both reject it and understand it at the same time.

This is where the rubber meets the road, where we shift from resistance to acceptance.

It comes down to a choice many of us don’t know we have – the choice of how we’re going to experience it all. The event doesn’t determine our state of mind and body. That’s up to us. We can look at the circumstances of our lives and the world around us with judgment. Or we can just look.

The key is this: Be open to everything that comes our way as it is. Say “okay” to the next disturbance and relax into its existence. Feel the resistance melt.

We can argue that there’s nothing okay about it but where does that get us? “Okay” isn’t making any claims about the event or giving it a stamp of approval. It’s claiming that instead of making a bad thing worse, “okay” makes our journey with it better.

Before trying to carve out any personal exemptions, consider this. Giving permission to resist because we have a right to feel this way or someone else is flat out wrong only perpetuates the problem. It doesn’t foster a solution. Go down that path or take the path of least resistance, pun intended. Just know that it’s a choice.

For now, things are going to happen no matter what we think or how we feel about them. The only decision is whether we want to live in a state of disturbance or flow. We can flip the script and show up differently at any time.

Why don’t we? Because the struggle has value. We get attention, sympathy, and validation for our distress. It also doesn’t let anyone off the hook. We can play the role of a victim, at the mercy of our own story; or we can be the narrator, independent of plot, just telling it like it is, not taking any of it personally.

We can respond without resisting. Let it pass through us without judging it as right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Shift from Oh, shit! to just Oh.

The first step to shifting from resistance to acceptance is knowing that we can. Outside forces have no power that we don’t give them. It’s our job to know when we’ve handed it over. The circus doesn’t recruit us; we join it voluntarily. We opt in or out based on how attached we are to the monkeys.

Next, we become irresistible. We take back control and choose to experience things differently. Others aren’t responsible for our peace of mind, we are. Circumstances can’t be blamed for how we process them, we can.

Over time, the same things that used to strike a nerve go unnoticed. How the dishwasher gets loaded becomes irrelevant, as long as it still does. Once we stop traveling with the circus, the monkeys stop messing with our bananas.


  1. What a great perspective on the control we have over whether we “allow” certain things to bother us!
    I hope I remember this the next time I need it!

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