Overcoming Resistance and Following Your Inspiration

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Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two, stands Resistance. ~ Steven Pressfield (Author – The War of Art)

inspiration

Imagine what your life would be like if you had followed through on every inspired idea you have ever had. I don’t mean those half-baked ideas like proposing a naked office day or taking a chainsaw to the roof of your car because you can’t quite afford that convertible yet! I mean the INSPIRED ideas that you were convinced would improve your life, or the lives of others, in a significant way.

Not only that, but imagine a world in which everyone else has also put all of their inspired ideas into action too. How many more businesses, books, charities, inventions, products, services, relationships would exist in the world if everyone felt truly compelled to turn their inspiration into reality?

Whether you’ve believed it or not, you are a creative genius with a powerful ability to manifest whatever you are inspired to imagine. But, because you are like every human being that has ever lived, many of your inspired creative imaginings are likely to have been safely filed away under ‘i’ for ‘if only…’

We may be very good at coming up with great ideas for making our lives better but we are also exceptionally gifted at finding ways to stop ourselves from following through.

In order to live your best, most satisfying life you have to get good at following your inspiration.

The reason for this is simple…

The feeling of being inspired is nature’s way of re-connecting you to your inner happiness.

Inspiration is a sign post to your most authentic self.

Inspiration is your innate Wisdom giving you instructions on how to become truly alive.

Inspiration isn’t there to offer you some interesting ‘nice to haves’. It is there to illuminate the kind of life you are supposed to be living.

Deep down, in your soul, you have always known what a life of purpose and meaning should look like, even if you haven’t been aware of it consciously, and inspiration is the tool that your wisdom uses to keep nudging you in the right direction.

But if inspiration is such important force in our lives, why do we work so hard at ignoring it? Why might a writer put off writing? Why would an entrepreneur not launch that brilliant new product? What would stop someone getting involved with their favourite charity?

It is because there is a counter force to inspiration and it is called Resistance.

Overcoming resistance and following your inspiration is the ultimate key to achieving authentic happiness and success.

Resistance is the primary cause of us getting in the way of our own success. Whereas inspiration embraces change and is excited about the possibility of creating something wonderful and new, resistance wants to keep things exactly as they are right now. Resistance’s one and only function is to do whatever it takes to stop inspiration rocking the boat and disturbing what would otherwise be a safe and certain life.

The consequence, of course, is that every time resistance wins we are left with a temporary feeling of comfort that quickly shifts back to dissatisfaction.

The extent to which we get to love our lives can be summed up by what I call the FIR equation.

 F = I – R

or

FULFILLMENT = INSPIRATION – RESISTANCE (to acting on inspiration)

Some people confuse resistance with procrastination, but these are two very different things. Procrastination is simply putting off doing something that you didn’t really want to do in the first place. Resistance is finding rational reasons for not doing what you have felt inspired to do.

Resistance knows that inspiration is both powerful and persistent and so it has had to learn to be cunning in the way it operates. Here are just five of the common ways you might recognise your resistance at work:

1 – Playing Yourself Down

This is where Resistance passes the mic to your inner critic, which will say things like, “Who is going to take little old you seriously?”, “Who do you think you are?”, “Haven’t you got more important things to do with your time?”, “Stop bothering the world with your silly dreams”, “Get back in your box”…

Getting you to listening to the voice of doubt is a highly effective way for resistance to snuff out the fire of inspiration.

2 – Excuses and Rationalisations

You try to convince yourself that there are many obstacles standing in the way of getting started. For example, the day you said you would sit down and write your business plan suddenly becomes the day you simply must clean the house from top to bottom. Or, rather than keeping your weekend free to immerse yourself in a creative project you offer to run errands for your neighbour’s uncle’s friend instead.

Believing your made-up excuses and rationalisations means you get to feel justified in busying yourself doing anything other than following your inspiration.

3 – The Guilt Trip

If needs be, resistance will play the guilt card. It will tell you that it is selfish to spend time and energy focusing on yourself when those around you need attention to. Or you’ll get a feeling that the people close to you won’t approve of what you want to do and so, for the sake of maintaining harmony, you decide not to go ahead. A symptom of this is that you feel a secret resentment towards others for standing in your way. That is a very clever trick of resistance; to make it someone else’s fault.

4 – The Disaster Movie

Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between something that is real and something that you vividly imagine. This is why resistance will often have you imagine disastrous consequences of what might happen if you act on your inspiration. For example, people will judge you harshly when it all goes wrong. You’ll be humiliated. You’ll let yourself down. You’ll waste a lot of time and money. With enough emotional charge each of these thoughts can start feel like inevitable facts, so it is no wonder that resistance gains the upper hand. But remember, they are just thoughts.

5 – Self-Sabotage

When inspiration does get a decent head start and you begin to see some positive results, this is when resistance really digs it’s heals in. It looks for ways to trip you up and sabotage your current and future success. It will find a way to make you late for an important meeting. It will convince you to follow through on a bad decision, against your better judgement. It will take you off track by distracting you with non-important matters. You might even get sick, for no apparent reason, at the exact time you are about to complete a major milestone, such as giving an important presentation or attending an interview.

But why? What is the purpose of resistance?

Well, you can probably guess that resistance is routed in fear. It is a sophisticated defensive mechanism created by your ego (or your ‘Learned Self’) as a means of self-preservation.

The ego is a very fragile thing; it bruises easily. In order for you to make a change in your life, such as acting on your inspiration to create something new, you have to make an adjustment to you self-image, i.e. “I am the type of person that does this kind of thing!” But your ego likes your self-image just the way it is. It hates change. It certainly doesn’t want you to do anything that will invite criticism.

Even if you are successful your ego is in trouble because its current dimension will inevitably have to get bent out of shape.

Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from an entirely different place. Inspiration is the name we give to the emotional energy that naturally flows up from your Unconditioned Self; the BIGGER you that exists beyond your ego; The REAL you.

Inspiration is a message from your unconscious wisdom telling you to go out there and be the fullest, most positive expression of you who you REALLY are. It sees an opportunity in the world for you to act in alignment with your authentic nature and it encourages you to grab it with both hands so you can live your best life.

Resistance wants you to:

• Play small
• Go through life unnoticed
• Not rock the boat
• Fit in or blend into the background
• Never take a risk

Your inspiration urges you to:

• Play big
• Shout from the roof tops
• Challenge the norm
• Celebrate your uniqueness and stand out from the crowd
• Take risks in service of becoming truly alive

Resistance is like an overly concerned parent. It would much prefer you to play on the lower steps of life so that you don’t have very far to fall. But inspiration is the birthplace of happiness. It is love in action.

Yes, it is true that following inspiration can sometimes feel like you are falling through the air with nothing to hold on to; no parachute. But the good news is there is no ground, so you learn to gracefully dive through the unknown and enjoy every moment.

So how can you eliminate resistance?

The truth is you can’t! As long as you are alive and inspired resistance will be vying from your attention and sometimes it will win. You don’t have to be hard on yourself; it just means you are Human. But you can learn to be vigilant and more masterful at recognising resistance’s clever tricks.

Just like when you learn a magician’s secrets you are no longer fooled by the illusion, recognising your resistance AS resistance will free you up to re-connect to your inspiration and keep moving forward.

The quality of your life will ultimately be determined by your willingness to make love more important than fear, or, to put it another way, to make inspiration more important than resistance.

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HOMEWORK
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Think about something that you have been inspired to do but have not acted on.

Make a list of all the ways resistance has been attempting to stop you taking action:

• What excuses has it made you believe?
• What limiting feelings or negative self-talk have you experienced?
• What rationalisation has it given you for why now isn’t the right time to start?
• Where has it been placing the blame outside of you?

As you recognise and accept the truth about your resistance in this area, bring your attention back to what caused you to be inspired in the first place.

Notice that inspiration has its own natural energy that surges through your being. Notice that the more you allow inspiration to linger and take hold the more you feel compelled to move in that direction.

Thank your resistance for whatever positive intention it had for you and decide to move forward despite its attempts to hold you back.

Know, with all your heart, that inspiration is the elixir of your life and the more you follow it the better and more vital your life becomes.

Please come and share what you are inspired to do at the Life Happens Facebook page.
Take great care. Namaste.

 

 

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