Resistance originates in our reptilian brain.

In his book entitled Linchpin, Seth Godin refers to the resistance as our lizard brain. Consider his definition:

  • The resistance is hungry, scared, angry, and horny
  • Only wants to eat and be safe
  • Will fight to the death, but prefers to run away
  • Cares what everyone else thinks, because it is essential to survival
  • The resistance is afraid. Afraid of what will happen to you if the ideas get out, if your gifts are received. If the magic happens.

Some signs or reptilian brain is influencing our decision-making and action are survival orientation (body tension), sense of dread or doom, defensiveness, humorless attitude, and insistence on being heard. On the opposite side of the equation, we know we are coming from a place of internal wisdom when we have compassion towards ourself and others, can find humor in ourselves and the situation, are generous, spacious, and have a sense that all is well in our lives. As we raise our self-awareness, we kick open the door to understanding how we are showing up in the world. We can become aware. All we need is a little practice in identifying our resistance behavior.

Maria Nemeth, PHD  wrote a nice summary of resistance symptoms in her book entitled “Mastering Life’s Energies .”

1. Being Vague
  • I think I understand what I need to next time
  • Maybe I’ll do it sometime next month
  • I just want my life to be better. Do I really need goals?
2. Scarcity thoughts
  • Things are never going to get any better
  • I don’t have enough brains, money, time, creativity, etc., to do it
3. Talking about the past or the future as if it is the present
  • I’ve been down this road before
  • It has not changed in the past, why would it change in the future.
4. Defensiveness
  • What do you mean I am not trying? I am trying harder than you think!
  • I am not being defensive! I just do not like your tone of voice!
5. Taking things personally
  • I am looking for more clients, but I just heard no so many times, I stopped calling.
  • I cannot believe she talked to me that way.
6. Comparing yourself to others
  • I will never be as good as the other people in my department.
  • No one else could possibly have the same worries; they sail through this.
7. Resignation
  • It is just too hard, and I am not sure it serves people anyway.
  • This will not make a difference; things might as well just stay the way they are.
  • It is the same old same old.
8. Being the victim or martyr
  • I tried so hard or gave so much, but nobody responded
  • When you reach a certain age, no one will hire you
  • I wanted to go for it, but nobody helped me.
9. Either-or-thinking
  • If I do not have five clients by next week, I might as well just give up.
  • Either I get to use my credit card or I will feel deprived.
10. Making excuses
  • I could not make it because I had more important things to do.
  • I would have gotten that project in, but the e-mail system went down
11. Justification
  • I was not going to let going for this goal ruin my weekend, so that is why I did not make any calls.
  • I know I said I would write three pages today, but I am nurturing myself instead.
12.  Rationalization
  • I would like to do this, but you must understand I wear many hats and have a lot of pressure
  • Look, everyone speeds, so I am sure ten miles per hour over the speed limit is built into the system.
13. Fragmentation
  • There is a part of me that doesn’t have a clue.
  • If I can pull all the pieces floating around in my head together, then I will be okay.
  • I cannot help it: part of me just really wants to blow it off.
14. Deflecting: Telling a joke to derail a conversation or divert attention from you
  • Hey, I know I have money. There are checks in my checkbook.
  • I know I said I would cut down on sugar. I did not really want that hot fudge sundae. The devil made me do it!
15. Solidifying: Treating an abstract concept or metaphor as though it were an object in  physical reality
  • My opinion is rock solid.
  • I have a real bad case of low self-esteem.
  • I would write more, but I have writer’s block.
16. Impulsiveness
  • I want what I want, and I want it now!
  • I am quitting my job tomorrow to throw myself into starting a coaching business.
  • I just had to buy lots of new office furniture> I want to start off right!
17. Qualifying statements
  • Well, maybe if I could get enough time I could finish this project.
  • If it seems right, I could probably ask for some support to do this.
  • I think I might be able to call you next week.  I will try.
18. Complaining/Petulance
  • I do fine on my own. Everyone else holds me up because they are too slow.
  • There is too much pressure. That is why I am failing.
  • If I do what I am supposed to , why does not it turn out the way I thought it should? After all, I did my part, did not I?
19. The “Metafizzle”
  • I know why this is so hard: it is a sign from Spirit that I am not supposed to do it.
  • If I were meant to do this, it would be easier.
  • I guess I am just not in harmony with my life; that is why it is not going the way I planned.
20. Being paranoid
  • She does not understand what I am saying. She obviously does not care.
  • Nobody listens to me. They think I do not have anything to say.
  • Why am I out of the loop on that email? Don’t they value my input?