- withstand the action or effect of
The verb resist comes from the Latin word resistere, meaning “to take a stand,” or “withstand.” Resistance is all about putting up walls or creating boundaries be they mental, physical, philosophical, emotional, or otherwise — a means of defending ourselves against a threat.
Even in crafts such as silk painting, resists are used to create boundaries between the free flow of inks, to stop one colour encroaching on the space of another.
But what if that threat comes from within ourselves.
It is good to resist things that are bad for us e.g. temptation, speeding, conflict, breaking the law, over-eating, blaspheming, laziness, injury, sugar etc.
The problem comes we when try to resist things we think are bad (or uncomfortable) for us, when in fact they are important signals or indicators that something needs fixed or healed e.g. change, truth, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, love, pain, responsibility, commitment etc.
How often have I ignored my body’s signals to stop, rest, change direction, heal and in doing so have resisted the uncomfortable truth that something needs to be done differently, to ask for help, to make a difficult decision, to forgive.
‘What we resist, persists!’
This profound statement was first coined by the Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875–1961). It means the more we resist things in our lives the more they will continue to happen. Or as the evil robotic Borg enemy of Captain Kirk in Star Trek famously said ‘Resistance is futile!’
Sadly I can testify to this reality, through creative, emotional and physical burn-out at various intervals, not acknowledging the effects of increased demands and responsibilities on my physical and mental health, fooling myself into thinking I can just absorb more and push through, blindly and numbingly going through the motions not realising the motions where getting bigger and faster, ignoring the natural hormonal changes in my body as I enter ‘middle-age’!
It took the immediate ‘stop’ of a Global pandemic for me to fully realise and acknowledge that I was peri-menopausal!! For a year previous I couldn’t understand why I had lost my zeal, my passion, my stamina, my concentration levels. Things that used to be easy became harder, I had less motivation to socialise or do ‘extra’. My get-up-and-go had got-up-and-gone!!
I had been resisting listening to the signals of mind, body and soul and so it not only persisted, but increased!
Now that I had time to rest and reflect and really take time to listen to my body and mind and re-evaluate priorities, I started to feel better! I gave myself time and space to acknowledge this new season that I’m in and the changes it brings (some good, some not so good – what’s my name again!!).
Brene Brown calls it an unravelling (read the full article here):
“As it turns out, I was right about one thing – to call what happens at midlife “a crisis” is ?/@*!$*. A crisis is an intense, short-lived, acute, easily identifiable, and defining event that can be controlled and managed.
Midlife is not a crisis. Midlife is an unraveling.
The truth is that the midlife unraveling is a series of painful nudges strung together by low-grade anxiety and depression, quiet desperation, and an insidious loss of control. By low-grade, quiet, and insidious, I mean it’s enough to make you crazy, but seldom enough for people on the outside to validate the struggle or offer you help and respite. It’s the dangerous kind of suffering – the kind that allows you to pretend that everything is OK.
Struggling with being peri-menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal are not usually the topics of easy conversation outside of our besties! Historically, society has deemed them taboo! Which makes it a secret suffering, and like so many other secret sufferings, they expend much more energy and inflict more internal damage by keeping them secret.
And while we might not be ready to declare all, we can start by not resisting what our body, mind and soul are trying to tell us, to stop and submit to & acknowledge the season we are currently in, to confide in a trustworthy friend, to ask for help. Regardless of where life has you just now, don’t resist!
So I’m embracing the unravelling and reconstruction and trying not to resist it, giving my self permission to say no when I need to, not being so hard on myself when I forget something for the twentieth time that day (I recently spent 5 minutes looking around my bedroom for my glasses only to realise I was already wearing them!!), getting to know this new version of myself much better and redrawing the parameters of my emotional and physical stamina. Like most seasons, they come and go. But there is living in the now.
Make the changes needed to stop resisting and release the blessings of your new season.
“Victory will never be found by taking the path of least resistance.” W.Churchill