Resistance is a very important part of what makes us who we are. As I have gotten older I have noticed more and more how the cycle of resistance yields personal growth and change. When we look out at the world and see something that, in a sense, hurts us we often have a natural tendency to resist that, to fight against it. When I speak of “hurt us” here we have to take a very liberal approach to that word. We all need different lessons in order to be more in balance with our spiritual selves so we have to broaden our idea of “hurt” to try and include everyone.
I had a resistance, for many years, to people who were raised and lived outside of cities. That resistance caused me to not give them the deepest respect I could. In turn I probably over prided myself on my having been raised in a city, that was how I defined myself. Looking at the scenario I can say I felt “hurt” by those that were not raised in cities for some reason which made me stand my ground as a city dweller ever more firmly.
When we look out at the world we can see so much — other people, other things and interactions. None of that which we see or experience exists alone though. As the observers of the world we define it, and how we define it tells us a lot about ourselves. How we define ourselves as well can alter how we observe it, and how we define ourselves is not always a definition we created or even would agree with if under slightly different circumstances. These are all very important things to keep in mind while talking about how we resist and how we can approach letting go of some of that resistance.
Many writers talk about not judging, and it is true we are not outwardly doing ourselves any favors by judging. I would argue though that the judging that exists within us does have a lesson for us, like my judging of those who did not grow up in cities. The judgment was not good because I was placing it on someone else, I initially took no credit for it, the problem was not with me it was with them and for their experiences. The judging existed until I asked myself “Why?” Why was I judging them without knowing anything about them? Who was I to judge them?
In recent past I’ve discovered that how I define what I see is how I define myself.
Taking the next most obvious step in owning the lessons within my life. That is kind of an easy statement. For this case in particular I was hiding a lot for a long time, blaming others and feeling like I wanted to be different than them. Turning it on myself was a point of accepting my responsibility, but ultimately seeing where the root of the judgment was coming from allowed me to stop judging others and see that I am not actually lacking. The people that we hold resistance to are holding a reflection of ourselves in one way or another. To love them — and the lessons they hold for us — offers us a path to receiving our own unconditional love.
The interesting part within all of this is that without the resistance I find myself no longer holding onto my need to define myself as a city dweller. I see that today I do not require what the city has to offer. I no longer have any attachment to the definition that I live in Chicago. I enjoy what I do here, but it is not the place that makes it valuable, it is me. Not having this definition of being proud of being in Chicago releases any need to judge anyone by where they are from. I am able now to release that aspect of judgment from my life, but it had nothing to do with the person or people I was judging — it had to do with me.
Those people I never wanted to be or had so much resistance to, now I have no fear of being or not being. Those ideas no longer hold anything over me because I no longer have a definition to claim my own that someone can threaten. Why would we never want to be like someone else? Because we are afraid of something within ourselves.
Doing this work is not easy and takes a long time, as it should. After having done this work repeatedly for many different areas of my life I can say that which we resist are actually things that are calling us. That is not to say we are being called to be or do those things in which we directly resist, but there is often an aspect of those things we resist in which we will find a lesson about who we are. Don’t be afraid, you will only become more beautiful by doing that work to open yourself up to who you are.