A Coaching Power Tool created by Leila Youssef
(Relationships and Dating Coaching, SPAIN)
Reading on the website www.answers.com they define resistance as the opposition to flow or movement.
In the Oxford dictionary it is defined as:
opposition to a plan, an idea, refusal to obey; a force that stops the movement or make it move slower.
Definition of resistance in physics:
Resistance is the opposition that a substance offers to the flow of electric current.
Flow is defined as the steady and continuous movement in one direction; to move or run smoothly with unbroken continuity, as in the manner characteristic of a fluid.
Although people may think of their bodies as a fairly permanent structure, most of it is in a state of constant flux as old cells are discarded and new ones generated in their place. The cells lining the stomach last only five days. The red blood cells last only 120 days or so on average before being dispatched to their graveyard in the spleen. Liver cells only have a life span of around 150 days. The epidermis, or surface layer of the skin, is recycled every two weeks or so. Even the bones endure nonstop makeover. The entire human skeleton is thought to be replaced every 10 years or so in adults, as twin construction crews of bone-dissolving and bone-rebuilding cells combine to remodel it. The taste buds themselves are a collection of cells on the surface of the tongue, each, housing about 50 taste cells. The buds renew themselves every ten days to two weeks.
In nature, everything is in constant change, constant flowing, eternal movement:
day followed by night, winter followed by spring, waves constantly run to the shores, weather changes from cold to warm to hot. Wind moves from east to west or from south to north. Nothing is still, nothing is stuck and nothing is static. Flow, movement, change and transformation eternally taking place all around us and continuously.
Flowing means to accept constant change as the law of the universe. But isn’t that constant change what we fear most? Hence the tenacious resistance to flowing in the river of constant change.
We live between two poles:
Avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. Neuroscience is starting to demonstrate that our tendency is more geared towards avoiding pain than focused on seeking pleasure. To avoid pain we have adopted resistance, in its many forms, as a way of life. It keeps us under the impression that we are in control. And this illusionary sense of control makes us feel secure and safe. Our life moves in constant alternation between resistance and flow. When we resist we don’t flow and if we flow we definitely have no resistance.
Everything we do is to avoid pain. We forget that the pipelines and circuits in our bodies that we shut down to avoid pain are the same circuits through which pleasure flows. That is the irony of this whole life game. If we get stuck in avoiding pain at any cost we are impeding the flow of pleasure by simply staying focused on avoiding pain.
Our main resistance to change is deeply rooted in the illusion that we will lose our identity if we allow ourselves to be in the flow, specially when it comes to those deeply rooted beliefs that create the foundation of who we think we are on a personal and social level. Who are we without them?
Stepping outside the known is perceived by our lizard brain as danger. While all our body cells are swimming in the ocean of constant change and transformation, our brain synapsis got stuck and stopped shooting electrical pulses because of how much we defend everything we know by resisting the unavoidable law of constant change.
Here is what John Pressfield tells us about resistance:
Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.
Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.
How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is telling us to? Resistance defeats us. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.
One of the characteristics of Resistance according to Pressfield is:
Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.
The term “peripheral opponent” was used by Pat Riley when he was coach for Los Angeles Lakers.
Any act which disdains short-term gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. Any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower will elicit Resistance.
In general we live our lives in resistance. For many obvious reasons:
- We fear experiencing pain,
- we hardly accept events that are beyond our grasp,
- we struggle with circumstances because our beliefs are contrary to their evidence,
- our beliefs are not always in harmony with the results we get and we react to that by closing up, avoiding, pretending, blaming, denying, etc. which are all different forms of resistance.
As a result of so much resistance our lives are repetitive, monotonous, uncreative, safe, secure but dull. Then we find ways to escape this dullness by being hyper active, drink, watch TV for long hours, etc.
This style of living converts our creative potential into “wished for dreams” which slowly and gradually corrodes our self esteem, diminishes our confidence in our capacities and creates a breach in our trust and belief that life can be nurturing and fulfilling.
- Identify areas of your life both personal and professional where you resist.
- How do you usually resist what comes up in your life?
- Is resistance adding value to your life or not?
- Remember incidents or moments in your life where you experienced flow and easiness. How did it feel?
Coaching is about assisting people to grow from their actual self to their bigger Self. Moving from the known skills to the journey of discovery of the hidden yet unexplored skills and talents of the clients. By encouraging clients to embrace change as an enriching adventure rather than a threat to security and comfort the mind can start to open up and be receptive to the benefits of flowing. This attitude dissolves resistance. Where there is flow there is no resistance.
Long term growth implies using skills and talents that are not usually in daily use. In our daily life we are too focused on securing what we know, controlling what we are and have and looking forward to the next short term gratification.
Let me give you an example to illustrate that how can coaching help clients to move from resistance to flow.
Michael and Cindy plan to have a nice intimate special dinner together at 20:00h when he comes back from work. Full of illusion and anticipating this time together she spends her afternoon shopping and preparing for their special dinner. At 20:00h he doesn’t show up. She gets upset and confused because he doesn’t even call to announce his delay. She feels uncared for and starts eating alone. He shows up at 21:00h and apologizes for his delay. He got trapped on the highway because of an accident on the highway and there was no mobile coverage to call her. He was feeling quite impotent for not being able to reach her because he was also looking forward to their nice intimate dinner together. Cindy is incapable of hearing him and she keeps accusing him for not caring for her and blames him for spoiling their nice dinner. It takes her two or more days to overcome her distance and anger at him.
It is obvious that Cindy didn’t accept the fact that outer circumstances delayed the dinner. Her disappointment was big enough to make her drag her anger and distant at Michael for a week. We call this resistance.
What is she resisting? She resists the reality:
A car accident on the road prevented Michael from being home on time for dinner and the lack of satellite coverage made it impossible for him to announce his delay.
Why did she resist the reality? She refused to “accept” what took place because it interfered with her plans and specially spoiled her expectations. If we add on top of that her “interpretation” of Michael’s attitude when he didn’t call (he doesn’t care for me), it becomes clear what makes her angry for a week. That is the choice she made.
What would be an attitude of acceptance?
Let’s have a total rewind of the situation and imagine the opposite scenario. Cindy starts eating angry and disappointed around 9pm. Michael arrives at 9:30 and he explains to her what happens. She realizes that it was not his fault and instead of staying angry she decides to ask him to hurry up to wash his hands and come to the dinner table so they can be together while he starts his dinner and she finishes hers. They spend the rest of the evening together and enjoy themselves and forget about the delay.
Coaching is a great process that can help clients identify areas where they resist, how they resist and what they can do to stop resistance and step into the flow.
If we take the above example, coaching can help Cindy in the following way:
- Realize that she could not hear that it was not his fault, therefore it is not true that he doesn’t care for her: Inner subjective perception versus outside present moment reality.
- Realize that “not being care for” is a subjective belief based upon past experience that stains the present situation and impedes her from being in the moment with what is truly happening: He could not call because there was no satellite coverage for his mobile phone.
- Explore this belief in other aspects of her life and become aware of how it affects her relationships.
- Help her become aware how difficult it was for her to accept the reality that the plans she made and had expectations about got altered by circumstances totally out of her hands.
- Help see how this resistance to the change of plans made her suffer for many days. Explore this type of resistance in other areas and aspects of her life.
- Assist her in exploring new ways to respond to the situation that could have created a totally different result.
- Encourage her to explore responding to situations by flowing versus resisting and becoming aware of the valuable results that this change of perception can bring to her life.