By Jenny Peterson
(For an audio version of this blog, listen to episode #9 of my podcast)
Here you are….you decide you want to heal.
You want to get back your life. You buy the DIY program and get started. Then all of a sudden a week into the work, you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. Or you find that doing the work makes you feel “bad”.
So, you put it all away and say, yup this is how it always goes, nothing ever works for me! Another chunk of money wasted.
Back to square one.
If this sounds like you, then I can guarantee that you're experiencing resistance.
It is super common anytime you want to make change in your life and it is no different when you're attempting to heal.
But there is a reason why it is happening and it's back to that one and only place, the subconscious mind.
Today, I will be discussing the top signs that you're experiencing resistance to healing, why it happens, and what you can do about it so you can get back your life and health.
First of all, let's define what is resistance: its a form of self sabotage that occurs when you undermine your own progress whether consciously or subconsciously.
In the case of healing, resistance is when you feel like you have hit a wall.
Here you are, you decide you want to heal. You want to get back your life. Consciously you say this is what you want. But for some reason you can’t take action. Or you take action and you don’t stick with it. It feels as if there is something inside of you that is not on board with your desire.
There is an inner conflict.
Now some people are not aware of their resistance to heal. They don’t see what is happening as resistance or a subconscious pattern. They just think that what is happening is out of luck or they accept it as truth.
As a coach, resistance will sound like excuses. But those excuses are not the real reason to why a person is resisting, there is always something deeper.
What You Need to Know About Resistance
When you start to make any kind of change to yourself you will come across subconscious resistance.
For example, have you ever tried to become healthier and started exercising and eating right with unlimited enthusiasm and motivation? But after a while you began to find excuses for returning to the old habits?
If you can remain true to your decision to stay healthy, you may find that you become ill or get an injury that prevents you from continuing to exercise, or you may find you experience an increase in stress that results in your being too tired to cook, ordering take-out instead.
This is a classic example of your mind throwing up resistance.
Your subconscious mind is like a child, and the beliefs you’ve formed from birth are supposed to keep you safe.
It doesn’t matter if those beliefs are beneficial or harmful to you – the point is that the subconscious mind will hold onto them for dear life when you’re trying to consciously change your habits.
Our survival, as far as the subconscious mind is concerned relies on maintaining the status quo.
Change is risky, and poses a threat to survival; so the subconscious mind is designed to do whatever it takes to keep things as they are.
Examples of Resistance
Let's go through some examples of resistance, starting with the resistance that I see before a person even decides to start a healing protocol.
Example #1: If you are saying “I don’t have enough time”.
This really isn’t true. We can make time for anything that we want in our life that’s important.
If you have kids, you make time for them. If you have ever wanted to get a degree, you made the time to go back to school. So why is time an issue now that you want to heal?
There are underlying reasons for this resistance and its not a time issue.
It could be that the person feels that they may fail or that on an even deeper level that they are not important. This will vary from person to person but in the case of not having enough time, it is not true and there is a deeper issue to this excuse of not enough time. But by saying it, it's definitely a sign of resistance.
Example #2: If you’re predetermining what will work for you and what won’t.
Questions like Does this program do visualization, thinking about happy memories, meditation, etc.? because that doesn’t work for me.
Now I know that everyone is different but this isn’t about everyone being different. This is about the assumption that these things have done something bad to them or that their brain is different. This usually comes from someone that has tried a certain technique like these and didn’t feel good afterwards or simply did too much too fast.
My question to someone that may be avoiding certain techniques would be how do you know that those techniques don’t work for you?
Most of the time the answer to that is because of a reaction they had after doing it. Which again always goes back to education about the mind body connection and the reactions that may happen when doing the work.
Most mind body techniques are safe and able to be done by everyone. There is very little exception to that. But what this really is about is lack of education. This lack of education before people start mind-body techniques give a bad rap to this kind of work. The truth is that when you start doing mind body work, you may feel worse after you start doing it.
And if no one educates you on why this happens, then you will assume that the technique is what is the problem when actually this feeling worse means that what you were doing in some ways may have shifted things. And if you did too much at one time, it may have shifted things too quickly which caused a reaction as well.
Not enough people understand the power behind mind body work. They don't think that it can cause physical changes like a pill can. But in fact it can.
You are doing brain surgery every time you start implementing mind body work and if you go in trying to rewire it all in one day, you are going to have reactions.
Rather than trying to dissect a program, and control what techniques you want or can or can’t do, I suggest you go in with an open mind. You don’t go to a mechanic and tell them how to fix your car. The same goes for how to heal.
If you are trying to avoid certain techniques that is a sure sign that there is resistance or sometimes just a lack of understanding how the brain and body are connected and why doing these techniques that your trying to avoid may cause the affects that you have experienced.
Example #3: The 3rd sign of resistance is if you are already thinking or worrying that a protocol will not work before you even get started.
A common question that I get is: What happens if I do this and after 6 months it doesn’t work? This is the subconscious trying to keep you safe because all past attempts haven’t worked. And although this may sound like it is about the program not working or a fear of it not working, underlying this is a lack of trust about themselves.
They possibly fear that they won’t do it right or possibly fail.
Also, this is a classic pattern of a fear based brain that is always looking to the future as being bad or scary. It's been wired to look for the negative out of trying to keep you safe. By already assuming that after you do the work, you are not going to be well or need additional help, your subconscious is resisting moving forward due to its past references of your past attempts and possibly other events in your life where things didn’t work out. It's also resisting based off of the underlying fear of the future that you’re sending it.
Example #4: The 4th sign of resistance is if your saying… I can’t start right away, I need for this (my kids to move out, another test from the doctor, my spouse to leave, etc) to happen first.
As if when that something else happens you are all of a sudden going to be ready. This is a true sign of procrastination, which is resistance. What we choose to procrastinate on has an underlying fear or belief connected to it.
There is a good reason your subconscious is not wanting you to move forward. It has nothing to do with its bad timing even though it may consciously feel that way. Have you ever said to yourself, when this happens I will be able to do this? For example… When I get a different job, I will be happy. That is saying that the job is responsible for your happiness.
Which isn’t true.
You are the only one responsible for your happiness. The same thing goes for your healing. None of these other outside things are responsible for your healing. You can start healing or doing the work today, this minute, without waiting for the other things in your life to shift or line up to make it feel more ideal…. because essentially that time will never happen.
Example #5: The 5th sign of resistance is that you are bouncing from program to program or starting and then stopping.
I see so much of this. People are looking for the next shiny object, the next best thing. The program that this person said got results for your specific symptoms. This jumping from one thing to another or starting and not finishing something is most likely a pattern that has been in your life for awhile.
Because how you do anything is how you do everything. If in the past you can identify patterns of starting something and not finishing it, this is how your brain operates. It's an automatic program in your brain. As soon as something makes you uncomfortable or bores you, you go to the next thing, never finishing what you started.
For some reason your subconscious thinks that finishing something isn’t safe. On a conscious level it might be that you say that the program isn’t working or its not the right one for you but really this is just the conscious talking. The subconscious is the one that is really directing this.
Example #6: The 6th sign of resistance is that you are blaming people or situations for what is happening in your life.
You blame your mom, dad, husband, wife etc. for why you do what do you or why your life/health is the way that it is. You use old memories or events in your life that happened as reasons for not making change, thinking that there is nothing you can do about your past.
This is coming from a victim mindset and if you want to heal, you must decide to take personal responsibility for your life and ultimately take the role of being the victor rather than victim.
You are responsible for yourself, your healing, your life and emotions. Only you can take charge of yourself and choose how to respond. Whatever has happened to you doesn’t have to define you or be your identity.
Those stories all have wisdom within them that actually will help assist you with your healing.
Now for the resistance I see when a person is doing the work.
While students are in the MBR program, myself and my coaches are able to see when a student hits resistance right away because of the system that we have for our students.
The accountability system lets us see when they get behind and when they do, there is usually resistance connected to it. That is the beauty of working with a coach. If you hit resistance, they can call you out on it and help you work through it rather than count on yourself to pull you through the resistance, which doesn’t have a very good success rate because the pathways of resistance are usually pretty strong.
You may be able admit that you are feeling resistance but moving yourself through it without help can be challenging.
Example #7: You find yourself not being motivated to do the work.
You find every reason not to do it or to put it off to the end of the day. Or you find yourself wanting to clean out the garage rather than do the work. This lack of motivation is a good sign of resistance and most likely has some deeper connections to it. I find that our students are very motivated in the beginning doing the work but then around the 25 day mark, when we get into doing projects, I see a shift in motivation.
It's a sure sign that the brain knows change is coming and its going to do its best to try and stay comfortable. The project time of the program is where we get into the deep work and the subconscious goes in kicking and screaming.
Again this is where having a coach has major benefits.
If you are cruising along doing the work and all of a sudden don’t want to do it, you can bet that the subconscious is saying, oh shit, we are hitting the big stuff, let's get out of here.
But when I see this, I get excited because this means big healing is around the corner. We just need to take a little time to address the resistance and the student will be back on track, actually excited to do the work.
Example #8: Lastly, Laziness
The American dream of easy, just pop a pill simple solutions for complex problems can work against you if you let it. Self exploration and healing are not always easy. They require effort and discipline.
Paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and ideas takes patience, skill, courage, and mental energy. This feels like too much work for some, so it is easier to just keep doing what feels easier, staying stuck where you are.
If you want lasting healing, you must be willing to do the hard work. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone, but you have to be willing to do it. No one else can do it for you.
So these are all the signs of resistance that you might see yourself doing or that I see with people, but why does it happen?
Like I mentioned, your subconscious is keeping you safe. These examples are the conscious behaviors that you are doing that represent resistance, but there is an underlying subconscious benefit driving it.
These are called hidden benefits or secondary gains.
Hidden benefits are unconscious motivators that reward you for holding on to your problems. In other words, your subconscious thinks that staying sick is much safer than getting well.
For everyone their hidden benefits will be different, but some examples are:
Fear of losing the identity of being sick. They don’t know who they will be without their illness
Having to be intimate with your partner
Getting a job or making your own money
Feeling overwhelmed by getting back to life
Judgement from family or having to set boundaries with family
Fear of failing
No longer getting attention from family, friends etc.
People will come to me even after they have done the trauma/memory work and still have not gotten better and ask why? This hidden benefit is one of the reasons why.
Sadly there are many mind-body coaches/practitioners and DIY programs that are not aware of the hidden benefits. Many people try to heal emotional conflict directly without working through hidden benefits first. This is almost always unsuccessful because the hidden benefits will sabotage the healing process.
What can you do about your resistance?
You basically have three options:
Option 1: Give in to it .This of course will ensure that you maintain your problems as they are. You may try something else, but you will experience the same kind of subconscious resistance as soon as you get close to real change.
Option 2: Push through the resistance with force and determination. This will most likely cause an increase in the upheaval and may make things much worse for you before they get better. It is very important to be very gentle with yourself. Remember, your subconscious is resisting the change out of fear. You cannot force fear out of someone; fear needs to be calmed. So this option is not a suggestion of mine. The subconscious needs to be reassured and told change is safe.
Option 3: The third option is the most effective. Take action! Determine what is at the root of your resistance and do something about it. How do you do that? One way is to ask yourself “If I get well, what will I have to do that is scary or uncomfortable?” The answer to that is the subconscious resistance. Then you want to reassure the subconscious that doing that thing that is so scary isn’t so scary. I have a step by step protocol how to address resistance in MBR. Everything from the questions to ask to identify the resistance to the exact protocol to use to reassure your subconscious mind that it is ok to move forward.
Here is the deal….
Your subconscious isn't sabotaging you, its protecting you. It is doing its job.
But what IS sabotaging your healing is your conscious mind.
By not addressing the resistance, you are consciously making a choice to let those old programs win. If you want things to change in your life, its your job to figure out what is within the subconscious that is getting in the way of your healing.
It is your job to take personal responsibility for the programs that you are holding and do something about it.
Resistance is actually a sign that you are really on the right track. It is a sign that you're actually going in the right direction because essentially you are trying to change up old brain patterns and it is noticing so it is trying to go back to the old.
It is a true sign that changes are coming ahead.
Simply put, the closer you get to real change, the more subconscious resistance you may experience.
What would it look and feel like if....I dunno...you like...started today? What if it actually did work?
Listen, the reason you haven't started yet is due to resistance, it's not your fault, your brain doesn't want to do something new. But just because it's not your fault doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility to do something about.
By starting right now, you'll actually be starting your healing by stepping up and telling your subconscious who's boss.
We get it, you're desperate to have your illness be a thing of the past, not something that defines your days. But trying to heal WITHOUT a custom plan is costing you precious time, money and energy!
You are unique, your symptoms are connected to very specific patterns within your subconscious.
Without a plan unique to you, you will continue struggling and miss out on the life you deserve to be living! To help you get started on your long-lasting healing journey, we would love to provide you with a healing plan that is unique to you. Get your custom healing plan today!
You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.
Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those that are overwhelmed with trying to heal chronic symptoms how to simplify their healing by focusing on just one place, the subconscious mind. Learn more about MBR here.