Last week I wrote a post called 5 tips to Un-Clutter the Mind and focus on What's Important. This one goes a little deeper and describes how to let go of mental resistance.
What is mental resistance?
The mind is where thinking originates. When combined with our ego we develop opinions, beliefs and judgments about ourselves, other people and events. Our thoughts, ego and emotion when combined cause us to take action. Action that flows from a positive state of mind is better or us, especially if our goal is balance and alignment with the natural flow of life.
Mental resistance occurs when our opinions, beliefs or judgments cause internal conflict; the result is negative emotion. Negative emotion can trigger negative thinking, can hurt the quality of our relationships, closes the doors of opportunity and sometimes causes us to take action that is not in alignment with our desired outcomes or goals.
Letting go of mental resistance is a good practice wherever possible.
Here’s an example,
A person you’ve known for years has just got engaged to your sister. You’ve never been close to him and in your opinion he’s arrogant, egotistical, demanding and too self-centered. He has a lot of money (more than you) and likes to flash his money, car and all his toys for everyone to see. Although you have known this person for years you never really liked him and now he’s marrying your sister. You’re going to be related!
What would you like from this situation?
Ideally to create a good relationship; but it's actually more important to let go of your mental resistance first.
Here are 6 steps for letting go of mental resistance:
Step 1 – Take Responsibility
Become aware that YOU are the one carrying the resistance or any negative opinion or emotion – it’s not them. We often like to blame others for our negative emotional states and some of us live our entire lives blaming everybody else.
Your emotional state is your responsibility and you have control.
Step 2 – Become aware of how this person triggers you.
What beliefs, insecurities or judgements about do they trigger in you? Write down how this person makes you feel.
Joe is always such a jerk. He’s always been arrogant and hard to deal with. He never listens to anyone and always wants to be the center of attention. Even though he’s a jerk the girls still seem to love him. They must love him for his money. In my opinion people should be respectful, trustworthy, spiritually minded and not so arrogant. Joe pushes all my buttons around what I would call proper behavor. Joe brings out my insecurity that says I’m not good enough and makes me doubt my abilities. He makes almost twice the money I make and I always compare myself to him. I feel resentful about Joe and his success.
When you start getting to your core issue then you can begin to re-write the story in a more positive tone.
Step 3 - Re-Frame or Write a New Story
You know you have to hand it to Joe. He’s always driving that blue T-Bird and has the women eating out of his hand. Now he’s engaged to my sister he’s obviously in my life for a reason, might as well make it positive. There’s a lot that I can learn from Joe and although we’re not alike there’s part of me that in some ways wishes I were more like him. Perhaps he can show me how to make more money. Sometimes Joe makes me doubt my abilities but in reality I’m doing pretty good. I’ve got a good job, a nice house, nice family… all is well.
Notice how the re-framed story has a more positive tone.
Step 4 – Meditate or Contemplate
Meditation is about letting go of thought however what I do in this situation is take the re-framed positive story and read it before I meditate. By doing so your meditation should guide you to the more positive thought. If there is still negative feeling then there is still something unresolved; you can use meditation to find the negative belief, judgment or feeling and then go back to step 2.
Meditate until it feels good or the feeling is better than it was.
Always move towards the positive thought.
Step 5 – Action
Observe what happens when you meet this person. Is your feeling more positive? Do you feel less intimidated? Have you let go of some of your judgment or rigid beliefs?
If so celebrate that you’ve been able to change your mental focus and improve the quality of your experience of a relationship. If not then go back and see what triggers you.
Often by flipping the switch from a negative to a positive we can see real changes in how we respond to events and people in our life.
Step 6 - Check-in Periodically
As events unfold and relationships evolve it’s always good to check in periodically. Do I still feel positive about this person or are there new negative feelings?
Sometimes relationships are not meant to be close but we can let go of our resistance.
These techniques can be applied to any area of our lives and I’ll cover this topic again.