Resistance Strategies – November 2017 Newsletter

After a long trip it usually takes me a week to settle back into life at home and this time is no different.  The good news is that the routines and commitments that were established throughout the year still feel right and balanced. So as the leaves fall and the shadows lengthen into lovely long blue twilights…home is exactly where I want to be.

Starting to write however has required me to overcome a bit of resistance. Since I know that the best way to deal with this is to simply plow ahead, that is what I did and now my topic seems to forming under my typing fingers.


Some might disagree but I find facing resistance from the outside a challenge, a test and sometimes even glory in overcoming it. We had a few examples of that while traveling last month. On the surface I made a silly mistake and we had to switch some train reservations and plan another hotel. The stumbling block was impassable and the only way forward was straight on through to new decisions and choices.

Under that surface was my own internal resistance to recognizing what I had done wrong.  This was a much stickier process, but luckily my husband has a sense of humor and knows how much I hate being teased for my mistakes. We carried on and incorporated the event into our running travel adventures instead of deciding it was a disaster.

This required setting aside resistance to reality, as well as my own internal denial.

While helping people deal with organizing issues I see a variety of such challenges.

Kinds of resistance:

  • Accepting actual conditions
  • Owning our part in the situation and how we hold it in place
  • Making real changes
  • Willingness to review and revise our behavior based on results
  • Facing the need for help and asking for it

I am lucky in my work because I get to work with all kinds of people with widely varied skills and attitudes towards creating order. That common denominator, attitude to order, underlies just about everything that I do, but how that happens falls along a continuum. The range reflects not only how much a person owns their reality but also how well they know themselves, and exactly where any resistance lurks.

It’s usually in one of the places listed above, and facing any sticking point can pave the way for positive changes in any of the others.

For example:

  • People who are realistic about their own actions and know they need help to restore order on a regular basis:  we set up a schedule and focus on maintenance.
  • Those who want to change habits but whose resistance is stronger than that desire:  I provide coaching and support whatever changes they are ready for.
  • Some Individuals are being forced from outside to confront a situation.  Some have insight and want to change, others do not and their resistance will overpower most efforts to help.

We can know with logic and clarity how things are supposed to be, and yet resist making changes with all our might. Getting help to recognize and face this dilema can  set the stage for success.

Another way to look at resistance is that it signals a conflict. That might be between my desire to catch a train and the actual date on the ticket, which has to be faced and managed in the outside world. But it might also be an entirely internal conflict. This situation is like an extra overlay on the problems of “simple” clutter. Not only is there a need to change reality, but some resolution has to be found for the internal struggle.

For example; the following things are both true:

1. You want to come home to a serene environment, not one where you trip over the mail and can’t get the door to the closet open.

2. You believe that the things on the floor in front of the closet don’t have anywhere else to go OR if you secretly know that they do, you don’t have time or energy to put them there.

This scenario is a type of internal conflict that many people choose to live with.  A shift can happen if you recognize that the problem is within you, not on the floor in front of the closet.

That said, another way around these kinds of choices is to get help from an outside source whose only agenda is to support changes you say you want. Organizing professionals are just one source, and any one worth your time understands the process.

The bottom line is that you have choices when faced with resistance. You can work through your own internal conflicts, you can get outside help to help you with this, or you can try my technique.

Throw yourself at the task, holding your nose if necessary and get it done.


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