“Resistance is Futile”, as Star Trek’s Borg love to say. I don’t buy it. It sure feels that way at times, though. I think there’s something more than the Borg taking over my mind to make me part of the collective. It’s not so much that if I don’t resist I’ll become part of the collective as I’ll quit being my best self.
Resistance and I have been battling it out over the past few weeks — more intensely than other times. Sometimes it seems to have the upper hand, and other times I know I’m winning. Even though I know I’m a determined and persistent woman, I know that Resistance is also persistent. I can never let my guard down if I want to keep Resistance at bay.
For me, Resistance stands up when I want to create. The creation may be a better version of me, an article or video, or a sewing project. I’ve been curious for years why I easily beat Resistance sometimes and lose to it other times. For example, decades ago I saw a picture of myself and was horrified by how heavy I’d gotten. Intellectually I knew my weight was up, but emotionally I hadn’t registered that new super-sized me. I decided on the spot to quit eating chocolate — my favorite form of sugar. It was easy! No chocolate for months, along with other careful diet habits, and I dropped the weight and shrank to my previous desirable size.
Years later, I decided to quit sugar again because I wanted to have a healthier body. Again, it was easy — for eight months. Remember I said I had to be on guard all the time or Resistance would step in? Well, I thought that one little slice of pumpkin pie would be ok to eat — I’d successfully avoided sugar for eight months, after all. Wrong. That one little indulgence spun into a three-month sugar binge before I got it under control and quit binging, though I still consumed some sugar. I didn’t succeed in going fully sugar-free again for several more years.
Ego vs Self
Before I dive into this topic, let me explain my terms. Ego, to me, is our base nature that runs our daily activities and seeks immediate gratification. It’s often the face we show the world. Self is our higher nature that creates health and beauty and strives to create a better future for us. Integrity comes from Self. Resistance is the force that Ego uses to override Self’s plans.
So, what was the difference in my experiences with sugar? My simple answer is that my Ego-drive was stronger than my Self-drive on the times that Resistance won. I have concluded that I didn’t have a strong enough Why to keep my Self-drive in charge and strong all those times I tried to do something for myself and failed.
Ego is like the Borg, sorta, in that it wants to be in control of your life. Ego likes the status quo. Ego’s job is to preserve its ideal of your world. It takes an incredibly strong Self with a clear and powerful Why to overcome the momentum of the Ego’s primary mandate — keep the status quo.
Ok, that was an interesting understanding for me to reach. That raised two questions: 1. How does that apply to projects I am undertaking, and 2. How do I bolster my Self to overcome the battle with Ego?
Understanding how that applies to projects was easier for me than figuring out how to overcome the battles. What I am realizing (yeah, it’s taking me a while to learn this to the cellular level so that I remember these lessons) is that when my projects align with my purpose and true identity, my Why and my Self are strong. Otherwise, Ego keeps the reigns. Even with a strong Why and an on-point purpose, Ego will fight.
To bolster my Self, I am learning there are several approaches to take so that my Self can withstand the barrage of Ego attacks. Maybe these approaches will help you when you are squaring off with Resistance in your life.
Initially, I thought the acts of sabotage that came from friends and family were my sources of resistance. You know the sabotage I mean: “I know you aren’t eating sugar, but wouldn’t (one donut, slice of birthday cake, scoop of ice cream — you fill in the blank) be ok this time?” or, “I know you are on deadline, but wouldn’t you like to (go on a bike ride, go to the movie, or come for dinner — you fill in the blank) tomorrow?” That’s not Resistance, that’s a test. Those tests are outside forces which are reflections of my inside forces trying to bring me down. Those inside forces, or internal battles, are my Resistance. I can’t blame those around me for my struggles — that’s all on me.
Somehow, for me, recognizing that the sabotage I, as Kit, experience is an expression of my Ego (base nature) has helped me learn to overcome it more easily. Now that I know that those are tests, I use them to bolster my determination to support my Self (higher nature). When I see sabotage enter my life, when well-meaning friends and family try to redirect my goal, I’m learning to be grateful for the test. That test reminds me to stay present with my goal so that Ego doesn’t step and take over. When Ego steps in, the battle begins. And each time it begins I’m in danger of losing the battle so that Self doesn’t meet its goal — either at all or “on time”.
Resistance isn’t futile. As long as there is a strong Why for my Self and the goal matches my purpose, Resistance doesn’t have much of a chance. But, it will always try.