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Don’t let emotional resistance make decisions for you; else, you will be unhappy your entire life. Have you experienced waking up one day and making a change in your life that is constructive, enriching, and positive? It was easy to come up with the change, but then you see your motivation fading away. Perhaps you decided to eat well, sleep better or start exercising, yet you feel compelled to behave in ways that sabotage your goals.

You may procrastinate, delay, or avoid doing things that you know can bring a positive change in your life until you feel stuck, feel to take a break, or give up. The habit seems doable at first, but then mind and body resist it.

It can be frustrating and disappointing when you try to improve yourself repeatedly, and then nothing happens. You think you are pushing yourself hard and doing the possible best to find returning to your old ways. You plan, get motivated and then push yourself hard, stop, and end up getting mad at yourself.

It seems to be a vicious cycle of getting unmotivated and procrastinating to make yourself better. But it is a normal response of your brain to change. In psychology, this phenomenon is referred to as emotional Resistance.

Just to let you know, you are not alone, and almost everybody in their lifetime has experienced it. So stop getting mad at yourself.

What is Emotional Resistance?

Emotional Resistance

Emotional Resistance is like the barrier between the person you are and the person you want to be. If you are not mindful, then this wall can be invisible. When it happens, you will keep on bumping the wall desperately in an attempt to reach the other side.

For instance, imagine that you have your eyes on something you really want and are eagerly waiting for the same like forever. You run into it hastily and then hit a bump that you didn’t see, and it strikes you back and makes you fall on your butt. If you are not patient and not wise, you will keep pushing the wall and get yourself hurt.

The emotional Resistance stops you from improving yourself, and besides, it can cause you to go against your best interest. As a result, you self-sabotage by gnawing at negative thoughts and not committing to your improvement.

Two Types of Emotional Resistance

When you introduce any change, good or bad, your brain triggers the fight or flight response. As a result, it leads to psychological discomforts, and it makes you come up with a different mechanism for coping to avoid discomfort.

No matter how badly you want to change and how good it is, the fear or pain of changing will be more. Your mind convinces you that it is easier to ignore the pain and resist change. But the fact is it’s easier to tolerate the pain and make the change than to avoid or resist it.

There are two types of emotional Resistance:

Emotional Avoidance

It includes denying your feelings. You dull the pain you are feeling by the usage of drugs or alcohol. You tend to design an action to prevent any emotion that causes discomfort to you, such as sadness, shame, or fear.

Unconscious Negative Emotions

It involves the negative emotions that come from the fear of change unconsciously and the pain it can cause emotionally. So, accepting the pain and becoming conscious of your feelings can resolve and eliminate them.

Different Faces of Emotional Resistance

Resistance is the psychological reaction to change, and it is like a self-protection technique where you struggle or oppose the change. Despite being highly motivated to bring positive change in the best interest, you fight the same psychologically.

You are not aware of the Resistance as it occurs subconsciously, making everything a lot more complicated. For most of you, Resistance can be seen as an internal conflict between the two parts of yourself- one part of you wants to bring a change, and the other secretly fights it. The secret or covert emotional Resistance can feel like a rebel in you.

Moreover, Resistance can also be physiological. As you need extra efforts, brainpower, and energy to bring the change, Resistance can evoke uncomfortable physical feelings such as lethargy, tiredness, and slow movement patterns.

When you combine both the physiological and psychological components of Resistance, you can see the following emotional and behavioral states:


It is pretty easy to get distracted by little unimportant things, especially when you have something important to do, like an unorganized desktop or a messy room. This is since your subconscious mind focuses on minute details that obstruct you from seeing the more significant scenario.


It is a problem of emotional regulation and not time management. Even though you want to get up and bring a change in your life for good, you still keep on postponing your development. You will always come up with some excuse or another that why you can’t do it already.


It is one of the main components of change. The change makes you anxious, and you have no idea about the same. Fear can be of anything. It might be what if you fail, get criticized, or get laughed at. It is pretty scary for you, but it is irrelevant and irrational if you see it from another person’s point of view.


Also referred to as paralysis-by-analysis, it happens when you overthink what you should do, whether you do it or not, what if it’s not good, and so on. This all can paralyze you. There are many things you need to think about as you want it to be perfect. But the real question that you need to ask yourself is that you are really thinking of such scenarios or just scared to start.


Whenever you make a mistake, you find something or someone else to blame on. It is never your fault. Perhaps this is your way of finding an escape route from your responsibilities.


When you are trying to change, you are doing things differently from your routine. Your mind gets overwhelmed with what all is happening. You want to take a step down, and this may evoke fear of not achieving your goals. So, you start making decisions that lead to sabotaging your life.

Wastage of Time

Another form of Resistance is wasting your time in doing things that are least necessary at that moment. For instance, when you know you have a presentation the next day, which can help you get near to your goal, but you are struggling with it, so instead of putting in the effort, you sit back and binge-watch on Netflix.

In addition, Resistance takes a lot of forms apart from the ones mentioned above like:

·         Delaying

·         Making excuses

·         Feeling stuck

·         Low motivation

·         Avoidance

·         Perfectionism

·         Giving up

How to Overcome Emotional Resistance?

Emotional Resistance

Resistance is the part of your brain’s defense system, but when it realizes it is for good, your mind will accept the change. You can overcome emotional Resistance with the help of strategies.

Recognizing and Acknowledge Resistance

The first and foremost step to resolve any issue is to find what is wrong and acknowledge it. To identify emotional Resistance:

1.      Be aware of yourself and your feeling.

2.      Be mindful of the pattern that you follow in your routine.

3.      Observe your feelings, thoughts, and behavior.

Make a list of the past forms of Resistance you have experienced, such as tiredness, overwhelm, self-sabotage, procrastination, or wanting to quit. Keep it handy, so you can identify it for what it is whenever you feel Resistance creeping in.

Plan and Prepare

Emotional Resistance is going to increase whenever you face unexpected hindrances. So, always plan and be prepared for things that could get in the way of your goals. You must plan for all the possible obstacles that can come and have your strategies ready so that you don’t fear or find yourself an excuse and let your Resistance overpower you.

Don’t Lose Focus

A goal is crucial to keep you on track, and it should be to move forward. You will get your lefts and rights in the journey, but it’s important not to lose the Focus to achieve your goal. Whenever you get lost, remember why you want that change? What will happen after you obtain that change? With this in mind, you can push yourself to get over emotional Resistance.

Build Your Support Network

Change can be tricky. When Resistance strikes, it becomes more challenging, and you feel the need to deal with it by yourself. But, you can gain from others’ invaluable experience. Before you start, build your support team. It could be anybody- your trusted colleague, friend, a family member, or an online group, and they will help you to five that extra push you need.

Learn from Experience

Each time you encounter Resistance, you have the chance to learn from it. Instead of being frustrated or disappointed or judging your disabilities, you can take it as a learning experience. It will help you to plan better and enhance your optimism for the future.

Are You All Set to Conquer Your Resistance? – Conclusion

Change can be complicated, and emotional Resistance can be annoying and frustrating. You want to bring changes in your life to make it better and improve yourself, but instead end up ruining it more.

You need to remember that emotional Resistance is average, and your brain is just defending you. Try not to ignore or avoid Resistance. Instead, expect Resistance to change. But with little effort, you can train your brain to accept the changes. When you understand why it happens and how it occurs, you can positively focus on dealing with it.

Emotional Resistance is a valuable learning experience. Leverage it.

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