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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Resolution #29: Respect The Intention of Your Resistance

This one may sound like a puzzler.  But a big reason we can have a hard time changing is because of that baby in the bathwater.  In other words, many of the harmful things we do have a positive intention or a pleasurable immediate effect.  It's the implementation or its aftereffects that get us in trouble.

We avoid something because it makes us anxious.  Wanting to be less anxious is a reasonable intention.  But when we have it hanging over our heads, we get guilt, shame, sometimes increased costs and troubles-- and in the end, more anxiety.  Identifying what we give up by changing, whether it's momentary anxiety or future unknowns, can help us address resistance factually or by developing new skills.

Many persons struggling with obesity don't fully recognize their intentions of holding onto excess weight.  Getting to a healthier weight can be about more than giving up the easy comfort and quick dopamine hits of certain foods.  It may mean facing sexual attention, dealing with anxiety around intimacy, or losing an excuse for avoiding life changes put off until that extra weight is gone.

Similarly, most things we say we want entail not only gains, but losses.  Sometimes the loss is just predictability.  Sometimes it is more.  Figure out what your resistance wants, and see if you can find a healthy way to replace the intention without the troublesome behavior. 


lynn g said...

Thanks for this.... it reminds me of the story of Pharaoh, who was willing to sleep with frogs rather than let the Israelites go. "please make the frogs go away... just don't ask me to change!"

Mitey Mite said...

Thanks for the insightful post. I also dig your featured Equisetum-inspired art. Like others, I will miss your daily posts come February. I bet you won't :)

Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...

You realize I had to look that up? Happily becoming more erudite. There is way more to that pic that I censored for this site-- but thanks for appreciating it.