In life, change is constant. We know this. But sometimes, that doesn’t make it any easier to adjust to the changes thrown our way.
Flourish articles Adapting and Acceptance provide reasons to adapt to change and accept whatever circumstances roll through.
This article focuses solely on the idea of resistance, analyzing why we might resist change, the impact it can have on our mental health and the things we can do to combat it.
Below is a passage from a Calm guided meditation that explains the concept of resistance and offers ways such as meditating to negate our desire to resist change in life.
“We often resist things we can’t change. That resistance causes suffering. Often, our resistance to our circumstances does more harm than the circumstances we’re resisting.
When we meditate, we learn to be aware of our ever-flowing river of thoughts, emotions and sensations without judgement. We practice acknowledging and leaning into our experience as a way to soften and accept things.
And what’s true in meditation is true in life. A discovered tool to deal with resistance to change is to find the enjoyment in the changing reality. Look for the bright side of whatever you’re resisting, sometimes even the smaller things. Try to find appreciation for the upsides.
On days that finding appreciation is a challenge, simply remind yourself of the principle of impermanence. All things have a beginning and an ending. As you build up acceptance of life’s constant change, you grow inner strength and resilience. No matter how hard the world pushes against you, within you, there’s something stronger and better pushing right back.”
Simply put, resisting change will immediately paint it in a negative light. As the passage notes, as soon as we choose to fight the change, there is more harm caused than the actual change itself.
Resistance creates a negative connotation in the mind and puts you in a fighting mode, spending all your energy resisting whatever is happening as opposed to embracing it and finding a potential positive in it.
We resist change because we think of everything that won’t be the same, in addition to rummaging through the negative events that could be brought in with it. But what if there was another way to approach it?
Obviously, when we experience good change, like a promotion at work, resistance is not present. We are excited about the new opportunity and motivated to continue the upward trajectory.
It may be easier said than done, but if we took this same approach with more difficult, unexpected change, it would be much easier to find some good in the situation and create the best possible outcome for ourselves.
One way to teach this approach to our minds is through consistent meditation and positive thinking. By meditating and collecting our thoughts, shifting our focus onto positivity and tapping into the root of change, we can learn to accept and not judge.
It also provides the chance to calm the mind and think logically, which is very challenging to do in moments of stressful change.
Another method is tied to meditation. After meditating, break down the change in your head and mentally note or write down reasons you dislike the change. Then, think of every single positive thing that might come from it.
Avoid any negative thoughts pertaining to it, because they’re just as likely as the positive ones, but whichever of the two you choose to manifest will have a higher likelihood of appearing.
It’s important to realize that there have been plenty of situations in life where change had occurred, you disliked the thought of it initially, but in the end, it led to something better for you. It’s hard to see in the moment, but looking back, it’s validated.
Life goes on whether we resist the things that happen or not. Once something changes, we can no longer control whether or not the change arises. It already has. So why provoke worry and stress over it?
The Wrap Up
Resistance to anything in life causes stress and unsettling thoughts. However, since change can occur so frequently, it’s important to avoid resistance in order to limit its negative impact on our minds.
Be open to change and the uncertainty of life. There will be good change and there will be bad change, but nothing lasts forever, and we have the ability to control how we react to it and what we make of it once it comes.
Knowing this, it should be easier to avoid resisting. We often times CAN’T control the change itself, but we CAN control our reaction and attitude towards it.
Rather than practicing resistance, practice acceptance. By avoiding resistance, we extinguish all of the negative effects of change and absorb the upside as the journey of life continues.
“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful.” – Buddha