Friday, February 14, 2014

Resistance

My nephew is in the first grade and he doesn't like school. He refuses to participate in the activities and sometimes he will just get up and walk out of the classroom. The more they try to force him to participate, the stronger he resists.

While I can understand that a child needs structure and discipline to become a responsible adult, maybe my nephew has the right idea. His internal instincts are telling him that he does not want to be in this place, for whatever reason. On some level, I have to respect that. 

I can't help but draw parallels between my nephew and my situation at work. Even now that I have cut back to eight hours a day, it has not made work that much more tolerable. 

I have an ongoing inner dialogue where I remind myself that this job is 20 minutes from my house. And it pays my bills. And if I wanted to find another job, I would probably have to move or travel a lot. Then I conclude my argument with the promise that once I pay off my house in a few years, I will be free to pursue something different.

All of that makes sense logically. But just like my nephew, I have an instinct that defies all logic. I just don't want to do this anymore. I hate what the insurance industry represents and what it does to people, including the people that I love. I cannot stand my boss and how she continued to pile on the work until I finally collapsed under the pressure.

Of course, I am not the only person who feels this way about my job. One of my friends at work has been carrying around his resignation letter in his pocket since last November. Every time he meets with our boss, he brings it with him. Just in case he decides to tell her off and walk out the door once and for all.

My Dad was a university professor for 40 years. He recently told me that when he would get frustrated at work, he would write a harsh memo. Then he would show it to one of his colleagues in the office down the hall, who would politely talk him off the ledge and convince him not to send it.

How often do all of us put ourselves into positions that we don't want to be in and then wonder why we feel stressed, anxious or unhappy.

I have a yoga daily reader book, which I keep by the bed. It has a different inspiring thought for each day. Yesterday's message was this: When I am resisting, I am suffering. Resisting life is the root of all suffering. If you feel agitated, sad or afraid today, ask yourself, what am I resisting?

Usually the book is spot on with its advice, but yesterday I felt a little confused. If resisting life is the root of all suffering, then should I be embracing my situation at work? And even if I could embrace my situation, would it really make me feel less angry and resentful?

If I want to take the path of least resistance, then I guess I need to figure out what it is that I am resisting. Maybe my resistance is not in the anger that I carry toward my boss or the company I work for, because it seems to me that after everything I have been through it is completely natural to have those feelings.

Maybe the resistance comes from going to work every day and trying to reign in my feelings of contempt. Maybe the resistance comes from constantly talking myself into doing something that so clearly goes against my values and how I want to live my life.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. And you are exactly where you are meant to be. But I think there is a fine line between acceptance and complacency. Without some level of resistance, I wonder what would ever inspire a person to make changes in their life.

Today I was talking to my Dad and he gave me an interesting perspective. He was thinking about my nephew acting out at school and he said "You are always where you are meant to be. You just may not want to be there."

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how profound his words were.  Throughout my life, whenever I told myself "you are where you are meant to be" there was an implied statement that said "and you need to be happy about it."  But maybe that isn't the case at all.

Right now I am at a place in my life where there is great uncertainty. And in that uncertainty is a combination of anticipation and fear. I have been resisting both of those feelings.

Maybe what the yoga book was telling me is that I need to embrace my feelings about my situation, whatever they may be.  And by doing so, I will be able to make those feelings work for me instead of against me.  And that is the path of least resistance.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

“If you limit your choice to only what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself form what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
― Robert Fritz, Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life

Anonymous said...

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anonymous said...

This one is good too:

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” –- Lao Tzu