Resistance is Exhausting.

July 20th 2016

So many irritants, so little time. Cowardly colleagues, pitiful partners, mediocre managers. I could go on and on, but you know what I’m talking about. You’ve either said this or heard it more than once: “This guy is the WORST. His behavior is unacceptable. I can’t stand him.”


But here’s the thing: often, you must stand him, because there’s absolutely nothing you can do about him. You are stuck with his behaviors. Maybe you’re not in a position to fire him. Maybe he’s necessary for your firm at the moment. Maybe he’s sitting at the top of the ladder and there’s no one to replace him. These scenarios exist in many firms every single day.


Looks to me like the only thing we can control in such situations is ourselves. If you’ve tried talking to the Irritant, if you’ve gone to his or her overlord, if you’ve reviewed every possible angle, the only person left to work on is you. 


So what can you do? Well, you could become some sort of totally evolved being who just accepts everyone as they are in spite of their obnoxiousness. But most of us aren’t capable of that; we’re far too human. So what, then?


Here’s my idea: forget about total acceptance of the irritant. Don’t even consider going that far. Just lower your resistance to her a tiny bit. Simply decide that, while this may be the most irritating person you’ve ever had to deal with, she’s not that important to you. She’s still horrid, yes, but she’s not a big enough factor in your life to warrant your harshest judgment or your emotional energy. Let her be irritating without allowing her to take up space in your mind. Dismiss her from your thoughts. Stop the mental stiff-arming. Bend your metaphorical elbows a little. 


In short, stop resisting her. Stop resisting the circumstances that allow or cause her to be this way. While you’re at it, stop pushing yourself to be someone you’re not (saintly, all-accepting, unflappable).


Lowering your resistance allows you to burn your energy more productively, because you won’t be focused on negative junk that you can’t control. When you spend less time resisting someone or something else — no matter how well deserved that resistance may be — you have more time to do the real work of your life.

communication, happiness, professional development


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