“Rule of thumb; The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” — Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Being our real, authentic selves is easier in front of strangers than those close to us. Strangers don’t have reference points of our past. They haven’t seen us fall down over and over again. They haven’t seen where we struggle. Those intimate to us, such as family and friends, have witnessed the foibles, fumbles and meltdowns. When they don’t see the path of light we are called to follow as we do, well…
They can reinforce our own doubts and fears without trying. All it takes is a questioning look to send the message of who do you think you are? swirling around the brain of a budding creative. One innocent asked question can send many running for cover.
I want so much to believe in my abilities, my talents, my inner voice. I want to believe work can be both fulfilling and make enough money to support me. I’ve done so much work at the expense of health and sanity, all in the name of money and the scales don’t balance. I don’t want to be one of those stories where I ignore the path I know I’m meant to follow until a doctor hands me a death sentence. I am a writer and an artist. Period. I am choosing to trust the process wherever it leads.
We are hard-wired for hope.
In truth, I think those intimate to our walk want us to triumph, to win in our struggle. They want to see us overcome resistance, even if they are unaware of it. Heck, they may struggle with the same thing. Their own fears may come to the fore as sabotage, but I believe there is a part of them that wants us to win. It’s that part within us that roots for the underdog. The one that cheered for David even though it looked like Goliath had him beat. We are hard-wired for hope.
Ignoring our path costs us more than the joy of doing the work we’re called to do. When we give in to resistance and ignore our calling to keep others happy (read: comfortable), we sacrifice not only our personal happiness and peace, but we also rob the world of our light. Even those close to us will ultimately suffer. Maybe if we allow them and ourselves to be uncomfortable for a little while, they will move past resistance and embrace their own path. When people become aware of their prison and the fear of making positive change no longer outweighs the pain of staying stuck, they will move.
We cannot continue to enable just to keep those around us comfortable. This doesn’t mean we need to get all “tough love” on them. It means loving ourselves. It means respecting ourselves and our boundaries. It means having compassion for ourselves and others. It means stopping the cycle of self-sabotage and taking responsibility for our choices and decisions. We own our experiences and open up to the possibilities of our life.
What is curious about self-sabotage, whether in the form of food, alcohol or other medium of choice, is once we start waking up to the life we are called to live, the numbing no longer works – not even in the short term. We cannot undo growth or positive change we’ve made, nor can we tolerate discontent with staying stuck. After a while, you reach a point of being so over the shame and guilt that follows self-sabotage. Like a rerun of a bad show you’ve seen too many times, you know the words forward and backward. You’re done with it.
We have to deal with the discomfort that comes with making positive change in our lives and doing work we’re called to do. We have to face the “shoulds” head-on and say NO. We have to be willing to let others be uncomfortable.
I’ve determined comfort is overrated. Comfort equals safe. Cozy. Predictable. Stagnant. As I create positive change in my life, I aim directly at the barrier of my comfort zone. I am uncomfortable. But given the choice, I would rather be uncomfortable. I’m breaking down the barrier.
What about you? How has resistance shown up in your creative work? How have you dealt with it? Let’s start a conversation…