All emotional resistance usually can be grouped under these two types of resistances:
1) Denial of one’s feelings and emotions
Coping up and trying to escape the reality of getting in touch with repressed emotions and clearing them up. Because we are afraid of feeling our negative emotions, we devise strategies to bring us relief in the moment( drugs, drinking, sex, work, false personas, TV, overeating), because our Ego convinces us that the pain of facing our emotions is something we cannot deal with. In reality repressed feelings hold a big portion of our energy tied in them and give the Ego fuel to create more pain in our life by keeping us in a constant state of tension and fear of being hurt or losing something/someone. We don’t get to enjoy life to the fullest and take the risks that are necessary from time to time in order to advance 10 steps ahead.
2) Unconscious negative beliefs
Our beliefs are the basis for everything we do, feel, think and say, especially negative ones since they get stored in the amygdala and after that we respond automatic whenever we encounter a situation that seems to be dangerous in some way. All past traumatic emotions are stagnant energy in our emotional body and by feeling the need to protect ourselves, we play the same negative past experiences in our head always trying to see how we can protect ourselves and not experience the same painful situations. We start listening to our Ego’s scary stories and instead of living fresh every moment and embrace life, we perceive what’s in front of us and what is to come through filters of fear and need for protection.
There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear, every other emotion will fall under one of these two.Our limbic system also called the Emotional brain is where we store our emotions and memory of events, classifying them according with the effect they had on us, by the pain or pleasure principle. The associations that we make here form our unconscious beliefs and send signals of positive or negative feelings by scanning our environment and focusing our attention on what is mostly prevalent in our memory of events. The Limbic system is also responsible for our creativity and spontaneity, passion and desires.
The amygdala represents a cluster of neurons located within the temporal lobe and mainly dealing with emotions pertaining to survival instincts, as well as emotional responses in general such as fear, pleasure, hormonal secretions and anger.Another very important role of the amygdala is that it gets to choose what memories to store based on the degree of impact that an event had on us. Abnormal functioning of the amygdala can lead to depression and anxiety or any type of mental illness due to a deficient brain chemistry coming from neurotransmitter imbalances.(*1)
The neocortex is the modern brain, the conscious brain, latest one to develop where we find creative intelligence, holistic thinking, higher cognition, abstract thought, the ability to develop language and imagination. It is divided in two hemispheres, the right hemisphere being inclined to produce thoughts that are artistic, spatial and musical in nature while the left hemisphere produces thoughts that are linear, rational and fact oriented.
As you can see both the emotional brain and the neocortex have the ability to raise us to tremendous heights, especially the emotional because emotion motivates everything we do, if we don’t find pleasure and have passion for something we will never excel at it, but our task is to live a life based on the love and pleasure principle instead of the fear one and get to control the responses our amygdala has been used to send. That is why self awareness is the most successful tool in changing your life, because understanding your emotional responses and choosing positive, enthusiastic emotions we slowly come to take charge of our brain and achieve our full potential instead of living on auto-pilot conditioned by fear. We need to train our emotional brain to think positive thoughts and send signals of courage, passion and desires to be our best version, and integrate all that with the capabilities of the neocortex of coordinating, imagining and achieving all that we want to achieve in order to create the reality we want for ourselves.
Why do we develop emotional resistance then?
Our Ego’s biggest patterns are to “protect us against”:
1. Fear of the unknown – Ego does not like change, it wants to be in control and guide our every move because it is fearful of everything new
2. Fear of change – pretty much hand in hand with the above, our amygdala looks to keep us in the comfort zone and every attempt of risking a new way of being or doing is resisted. We are afraid of letting go of familiar habits( even habits that do not serve us) because we fear that getting out of our comfort zone and risk a new way of being will mean even more pain, or pain we cannot handle. Obviously all this happens unconsciously, because our Ego has managed to make us believe that we need protection,and going out of our comfort zone means risk and implicitly danger.It is an automatic response, not a conscious one, nevertheless one that holds us back from living.
3. Fear of being wrong – our Ego wants to be always right, to control everything and it will justify, rationalize and blame everything outside of us in order to keep us from looking inside and learning how we created situations and gaining our power back as deliberate creators. The Ego knows that once we get to understand how we attract reality with positive emotions then its reign will be over.
There is a strong belief in us that by facing our painful repressed emotions and living in a new way will bring even more pain than staying in present conditions, but actually this debilitates us and we live in fear every day, recreating the same old life circumstances because what we resist persists and actually gets even stronger and develops a vicious cycle of bigger fears and bigger disappointments. We have been taught that we should not feel or express our negative emotions because it is not appropriate. Everything in our environment taught us that we are supposed to be rational and fact oriented and disregard our feelings but then we wonder why is the world so crazy, why do good people behave so recklessly at times hurting themselves or those around them? We don’t know who we are anymore because we try to be somebody our parents, friends, co-workers or spouses want us to be, never really listening to our heart and understanding who we are and what would make us happy. All of us at the core of our being desire to feel good and love and be loved and because of that we try to fit in and do “the right thing” following norms that are not really aligned with our heart’s values and then get to live a life of disappointments, frustrations and confusion never achieving self-actualization.
Our tendency is to run from deeply getting in touch with our feelings and beliefs, and instead operate on auto-pilot most of the time by doing one or more of the below:
a) feeling powerless and blaming outside circumstances that seem to be out of our control
b) complain and criticize everything and everyone including ourselves,which is worst thing we can do because it takes away all of our self confidence and power
c) overanalyze bad events by obsessively going over the same negative scenarios and creating even more pain, trying to justify how much of a victim we are and perpetuating our Ego’s need for finding more things at fault so it would have more reasons to create even more complicated defense mechanisms to run our lives
d) telling ourselves depressing stories like how it will never get better, we are not the lucky ones that can be happy, we cannot change our life, etc
e) constantly worry and imagine worst case scenarios and then looking for past evidence to confirm our beliefs so we can believe those stories even more, and in this way perpetuating the same life experiences
f) ignoring our emotions until all that energy goes into our physical body manifesting as pains, stiffness, tension or illness as a last cry for our attention. All illness comes from an energetic imbalance in our system, first it manifests as negative thought, if we ignore it then it will translate in negative emotion, if we repress the emotion then it will translate into physical disease.
g) finding comfort in excessive food, drugs,cigarettes, alcohol, sex, work, TV- anything that can make us feel better in the moment while avoiding a real understanding of why we have these feelings that make us seek instant gratification in the first place. The worst part is that by becoming addicted to one or more of the above,we get to form a vicious cycle that grows even bigger because now we added more things to feel worse about ourselves or our life.