What You Resist Persists & How to Break Free

January 20, 2017
Tanja Alexandra Kern

“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung

Whenever we find ourselves feeling unhappy or discontent, the chances are that we are resisting or judging something.
And the more we dislike the circumstance, thought, our body image, or avoid feeling a specific emotion, the more we attract those things to us.
The more we procrastinate, the less creative we can be, because we carry all the things we need to do in our mind, leaving little space for new ideas.

Due to early conditioning our minds tend to filter things into the categories of good or bad, right or wrong. These labels then continue to be created and shaped by our belief system, life experiences, preferences, habits, perceptions, and judgements.
But actually, things are just they way they are; neutral, until we give them meaning by how we perceive them. This can be in regards to the weather – the weather is neither good nor bad – it just is what it is. Or it could be something that we don’t accept about ourselves or others. It’s not always easy to offer full acceptance, but it helps us clear the mind and focus on what we can do instead of wishing for things to be different.

Here’s a Taoist Zen Story called “Maybe” that reflects the practice of non-attachment, and full acceptance to what is.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

To overcome your resistance you may like to consider the following tips:

1. Cultivate Acceptance

There is a saying “It is, what it is.” Simple and yet profound.
The more you practice acceptance, the more you begin accepting yourself. The more you accept yourself, the more acceptance you have for others.
However, acceptance does not mean resignation. Acceptance supports us in centering the mind and figure out what we can do about the situation.
Some things seem to be too big for us to change, but remember, everyone can make a difference. Focus your attention on what you DO want and not on what you don’t want and take the first steps in that direction. Soon others will be inspired and may join you.

2. Let go of Judgement

Have you ever noticed how often you judge yourself or others?
Growing up we often integrate the critical voices from our childhood and then continue to direct them toward ourselves. We judge ourselves feeling angry, sad or lonely and think that there is something wrong with us. But there is nothing wrong with you. Emotions simply assist us in discovering what is happening for us in that moment. Listen.


3. Embrace Your Emotions

We all enjoy basking in emotions that make us feel good and try to push negative feelings away.
Distraction, deflection and addictions are common coping mechanisms to deal with deep negative emotions. Totally understandable. Unfortunately the unresolved emotions will stay with us and may be stored in the body until we are able and ready to deal with them.

The only way to heal is to embrace your emotions and let them dissolve. You literally have to sit with your emotions and feel them fully. This is a brave task and you may wish to get the support of a friend, life coach or therapist to help you through this. But only when we face our emotions and look them in the eye, will they let go and dissipate. Also, you will become more clear on what your needs are and can start meeting your own needs or making requests of others to assist you.

4. Act

Overcome your procrastination by writing a list. Prioritize and then get going. Don’t wait. Don’t allow excuses to take over. Once you start, you will already feel better and when you completed a project, reward yourself! You’ll be inspired to tackle the next item on your list when you are kind to yourself. Take breaks, play some background music, diffuse essential oils, and then reward yourself. You deserve it!

I invite you to ask yourself the following questions. Then close your eyes and really listen. Try not to judge, remain open and offer yourself lots of compassion and kindness.

  • What do you focus your mind on?
  • What thoughts are you thinking?
  • How to they feel in your body?
  • What emotions arise when you think those thoughts? Just explore without judgement….
  • What is holding you back?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • What makes you happy?

Be responsible for your own thoughts, observe them, change them, own them! You are in charge!

When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

I’d love to hear from you. How are you dealing with resistance in your life?
Know that I am here if you need some support.

Please share this with a friend who might also need to hear these words and invite them to sign up for my newsletters.

Sending you blessings from my heart to yours!


Tanja Alexandra Kern



Leave a comment