A Coaching Power Tool created by Helen May
(Life Coach, NEW ZEALAND)
What you resist persists. Carl Jung
The action of opposing something that you disapprove or disagree with. (TheFreeDictionary.com)
Often people hold strong thoughts and beliefs around issues that are important to them and may experience difficulty in their lives when others have opposing thoughts and beliefs. This causes tension and uneasiness and very often conflict in relationships with others. It can often be a reason for people to hold themselves away from what could otherwise be very satisfying relationships.
To let do; Permit (The Free Dictionary.com)
Allowing means you continue to live true to your values whilst allowing others to hold beliefs,which may oppose yours. When we are able to allow others to hold their own views without judgment, our relationships become easy and enjoyable.
According to Eckhart Tolle, “To offer no resistance in life is to be in a state of grace, ease and lightness” To allow, is to live, without the constraints of resistance; live, with freedom. To allow is not just about dropping your judgments around others, but about completely accepting and even embracing the other, for their differences.
We know that we cannot control the thoughts of others, yet so often we turn ourselves inside out trying to do just that! What we can do is to allow them their own thoughts whilst sticking to our own values and ideas that feel good for us.
Karen was starting her own business in Landscape Architecture. All her friends and family kept telling her how hard it would be and how she would be much better off keeping her paying job.
The effect of this on Karen was that she found herself swinging between anger at their negativity and anxiety around her decision, even though she knew she was following her dream and confident that she would succeed.
Karen noticed that the more she resisted their thoughts, the more determined they were to push them on her. She then realized that she could not make them view the world as she viewed it and that they have their own reasons for holding those views. This led her to notice that she could continue to hold her views and that allowing them to continue holding theirs, need not affect her.
She was then able to go ahead with her business planning in a much more confident way, at the same time being able to maintain peaceful relationships with friends and family.
What keeps us in resistance?
Why do we sometimes feel that we need to push against the views of others?
We may feel that allowing others to have their views will cause them to think that we agree with or condone something that is in discord with our own values.
- We can be afraid that if we stop pushing against the opposing ideas that are being presented, we will be obliged to live by these ideas ourselves.
- We are afraid that the opposing ideas may enter our own experience.
When we stay in resistance:
- We experience anxiety about others ideas permeating our world.
- We hold ourselves away from others.
- We hold ourselves away from our own personal growth.
- We feel that life is difficult.
- We create the very reality that we wish to avoid.
We bring into our experience that which we focus on:
If you are resisting anything, you are focused on it, pushing against it, and activating the vibration of it – and therefore attracting it (Hicks J & E)
When we are allowing:
- We become open to the ideas of others.
- We give ourselves the opportunity to have satisfying relationships with a wide variety of people.
- We feel peaceful.
- Life becomes easy and enjoyable.
Think of a time when you have pushed hard against the view of another.
- Notice how you feel when you are in resistance. Do you feel anxious, tight, edgy, afraid, frustrated, angry?
- What is happening to your relationships, are you arguing a lot, creating judgments or withdrawing?
- How is this resistance serving you?
- Is it helping to change the views of others?
- What happens when you push against someone? Do they push back? Does your resistance weaken or strengthen their position?
Sometimes as coaches we may feel the need to resist the thoughts of the client. This may happen if we think an action they have taken or are about to take will lead to failure, or if they are expressing an opinion, which is contrary to our own. When you become aware that you are resisting your clients’ ideas, it will be necessary to pause and ask yourself how this is serving your client, remembering that you are here to support him to grow and develop his own life. You might decide to caution him, and give your reasons for doing so, in a way which leave him in no doubt that you will still continue to support him and not judge him in any way, even if the action does cause a set back. As coaches we recognize that even “failure” can be a huge growing experience!
If the resistance is to an idea, which is contrary to something the coach values, the coach will need to spend some time reflecting and asking himself if he can truly allow this, or does he need to end the coaching relationship.
When we observe that a client is in resistance some questions we could ask would include:
- What would the world look like if everyone held the same views on every topic?
- How do you feel when you are trying to make him see this the same way as you do?
- What do you get from pushing against his thoughts?
- How can you allow him to hold his view while still maintaining yours?
- Imagine how it would feel in your body if you could let go of this resistance
- Can you see how his experience has given him a different picture than yours?
And once your client begins to understand and grasp a real feeling of allowing:
- Is it possible that you can be grateful to this person for handing you such a wonderful growing opportunity?
Hicks J & E; (2006) The Law of Attraction: The Basic Teachings of Abraham. (Hay House) pp54
Tolle Eckhart; (2004) The Power of Now. (Hodder) pp188