Why Resistance Is The Main Block To Creativity
We all have beauty ingrained in us that we would like to bring to the world. The Family. The Painting. The Book. The Song. The Movie. The Business That Serves A Humanitarian Cause. Etc.
Yet — what stops us?
Along my creative path, I’ve realized that the answer to that question can vary from time, money, knowledge, to connections, etc.
Truthfully, what stops us is only Resistance. All the reasons we could possibly invoke for not pursuing the most arduous desires our soul points us towards, all of that can be worked out with willingness, patience, inspired action and time. It is Resistance that is the biggest block to our creativity.
How does Resistance turn up?
Resistance takes many forms, but it has only one aim: that of stopping us from doing the work that calls most to our soul. It is the inner voice that creeps in and whispers “You’re not good enough”, “Who are you to do this”, “It is not safe to do it”, and so on and so forth. Resistance is the inner warden that wants to keep us from realizing our utmost human potential.
In some form or another, everyone experiences resistance. For me, it’s been showing up mostly as the voice of self-doubt, the fear of poverty, and trouble. I’ve heard the inner whisper of creativity ever since I was a child, yet too often I caved in to Resistance. I caved in to the voices of “not good enough”, “it’s all been done before”, I’ve compared myself to the greatest creators who have walked the Earth and felt I fall short, I’ve let destructive criticism get me down. I now see it for what it is and I don’t let it stop me from creating anymore. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been creatively.
How do you get over your Resistance?
There is only one way to get over Resistance, and that is to show up and do the work. It is much like the sauna practice where you sit in the hot sauna and then you plunge fully into the cold deep water. Resistance tells you to not do it, because it’s uncomfortable, it’s freezing, you won’t like it. However, if you do plunge into the freezing water, you realize you can do it and it is actually strengthening you. The next time, it will be easier. And easier. And easier.
In fact, you don’t get over your Resistance only once. You have to do it every single day. It is a dance over the long haul.
There are days when Resistance still gets the best of me. Luckily, I’ve come across Steven Pressfield’s The War Of Art, a lovely book that describes the inner creative battle with beautiful accuracy, and that has inspired this article. When I first read it, I was surprised how well the author articulates the artist’s struggle in the face of Resistance and how much I could apply his insights to my own creative journey. On the days when Resistance is winning over me, I re-read some fragments of The War Of Art. And then I just keep going. I plunge into the water. That’s the only way.
As final thoughts on this topic, I’d like to share a poem from Part III. Matters of Art from my poetry book Embraced by Love. I wrote this poem as a response to one of my struggles with Resistance: