Remember this line from Star Trek, the Next Generation? No? Here’s a refresher: there was this alien race called The Borg and they grew powerful by “assimilating” unwilling others into their Borg collective. Their classic line was, “Resistance is futile.” Turns out those Borg dudes were onto something.
I was reading this diet book last night (which shall remain nameless) where the author said “resisting” so many times, it started to make me feel a little jumpy. Resist overeating, resist cravings, resist your thinking. Just keep on resisting and those pounds will fall right off. Ugh.
My experience with resistance is more along the lines of “what we resist, persists.” Meaning the more you resist, the more you find yourself nose-first in nachos.
Try this little experiment:
Think about the color green.
Now DON’T think about it. Don’t! Don’t do it, stop it, no green.
Seriously I mean it, no green!
Have you just seen more green things than you have in a year?
That’s how resistance works.
Telling yourself to not do or think something is the same as telling your mind to put your full attention on it. So when you decide to resist that tempting Godiva bar (Or as I call it, Go-Diva), you have now created a traction beam to it. Before you know it, you’ve been assimilated into the chocolate-covered Borg.
So if resistance is futile, what now?
Flip from resistance mode to curious mode and dive right into it.
When you find yourself resisting something, it’s the fighting of it that makes it that much stronger. Instead of running away from the object of your resistance, walk right up to it and find out what the heck it’s all about. Be curious about why you’re trying to avoid the food/feeling/person/activity.
In the case of food, is it something you’ve told yourself you shouldn’t have? What if you truly allowed yourself to have it? Or, you might notice you want it because you think it will make you feel better. Would it? Once you’re in curious mode rather than resistance mode, you can actively choose what you want to do.
If it’s a feeling you’re avoiding. Spelunk right into it and see what’s there. Is the feeling as intense as you thought? Can you handle feeling it? How does it feel in your body, what does it make you want to do? Oh, the feeling’s gone already? Funny how that works…
When you stop resisting, you’ll find the intensity of the feeling or craving lessens or even goes away entirely. Resistance is like fuel for your negative emotions, it just makes them burn hotter. Once you remove the fuel, the emotion becomes right sized. You also feel the emotion all the way through so you can be done with it. Resistance just drags it out.
Whether it’s anger, boredom, Ho-Hos or the Borg, resistance is futile.