In my book The Prosperity Game I have identified 21 core forms of resistance that prevents us from moving forward in the directions of our dreams. There are probably more but these will give you some idea of what internal resistance is all about:
1. Over Achieving – Fixating on a goal and forgetting that life is a journey. This is where life gets a bit like a tick box of things to achieve experience or accumulate. This kind of living means plenty of doing and very little being. This tendency drives the rat race and leads to achieving at any cost, usually ending in burn out.
2. Anxiety – A dwelling on problems and worst case scenarios. This is not only depressing it stops any real feeling for what is actually going on in a situation. It is possible to worry about anything even worrying about worrying too much. This type of thinking is a kind of loop with no seeming way out. After a while it will adversely impact on our confidence, health and self-esteem.
3. Approval – This tendency prevents free being, thinking and doing. It creates a pleasing kind of behaviour which ties us into what others think. This leads to conformity, where we behave, dress, think, and speak, according to other people’s standards or values. We may feel afraid of straying too far from the herd and seek safety in numbers.
4. Busyness – This is the tendency to fill up the day with things to do. Busyness leaves no space for change. Busyness is an avoidance of real living. It is a habit that squeezes the joy from life. At the core of busyness is the idea that people only love me for what I do rather than who I am.
5. Clinging – This is a tendency to hold onto the past no matter how painful or difficult it is. Often people confuse holding on with love. Clinging is a childlike reaction and a malingering. As children we may clutch mother’s skirt when we are afraid but as adults it is a rather poor strategy. Clinging is an avoidance of the present moment.
6. Comparison– This is a tendency to make value judgements in terms of good and bad, right and wrong. We may compare our behaviour, achievements, relationships, status, dress sense, earnings the list is endless. This produces feeling better or less than other people. It fuels the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ mentality. Comparison is a joyless way to live.
7. Complacency – This is a tendency based on the view that success or failure continues or goes away on its own. Complacency has no sense of responsibility, no urgency to act. Complacency means we do not really see reality. It is a killer and many an individual or company has slipped under because of complacency.
8. Complaining – This is a tendency of seeking to get needs met through pointing out mistakes and problems. Complaining seeks compensation, and it tends to drain vital energy for the person doing it and also for the people hearing it. Scarcity rewards the loudest or the weakest. Scarcity rewards complaining. Complaining is painful. It keeps us stuck thinking about the things we do not like.
9. Control – Control manifests internally and externally. Internal control is about the repression of certain thoughts and feelings. External control is about creating and sustaining rules and regulations for how other people should behave. Control creates unnecessary complexity. Control freaks cannot bear disorder or chaos of any kind; it threatens their sense and need for order and stability. Control is a painful aspect of perfectionism.
10. Disappointment – This is a dwelling on all the mistakes, pain or traumas of the past. It is a holding onto the past with tremendous force. Disappointment is a resistance to living truly in the present or looking to the future. Wherever we have felt our heart broken by what other people did or did not do and we will resist moving forward out of fear of it happening again.
11. Guilt – This is the tendency to feel bad because of past mistakes. Sometimes guilt arises for no apparent reason other than the feeling of being guilty for just being alive. Guilt offers no solutions to past mistakes and it is a form of self-punishment. Guilt prevents real change from happening. Guilt keeps people locked in feeling valueless.
12. Identity – In the scarcity game we can go into what the spiritual teacher Ram Dass calls ‘somebody training’ where we start to live an illusion of who we think we should be. We become a persona, a mask, a shell and we lose touch with the centre of our naturalness and become locked into a role such as being a boss, a mother, a worker, a student, a coach, a high-flyer, a helpful person, or a drop-out. Identifying with a role means we are not being our authentic selves.
13. Martyrhood – This is the tendency to feel burdened, self-righteous and unappreciated. People in martyr seldom complain about their workload or lot although they may secretly feel very angry and self-pitying. Martyrhood is about suffering pure and simple. Martyrs believe that sacrifice is always noble, that it is right to work hard and wrong to enjoy life too much. Martyrs are good at punishing themselves and others.
14. Power Struggle – This is the tendency to fight for what is right. Competition is a form of power struggle where winning is thought to equal happiness. ‘What we resist persists’. However, people in this dynamic make being right more important than being peaceful or happy. The basic fear is that other people will dominate and we will lose if we do not fight. People get into power struggles over money, obligation, roles, sex, time, agreements and property.
15. Procrastination – This is the tendency to put things off for another day. It can come from being overloaded with too many choices, all equally difficult or unattractive. It can come from having no clear sense of direction or no real feeling of passion for anything. It can come from being motivated in life by too much stick and not enough carrot.
16. Resentment – This is the tendency of feeling forced into doing things. Behind resentment is silent and hidden anger that resists moving forward. Resentment is focusing on what others have done, are doing or are not doing. It prevents a person from escaping the limitations of their past.
#17. Self-Attack – The scarcity game is fiercely critical, it is not pleasant. This creates an inner critic that speaks to us 24/7 about what is wrong about us. This is the tendency to put oneself down with vicious force. This is a self-defence mechanism that seeks to pre-empt other people’s put downs. The idea is if we get in first then it will not hurt so much.
18. Self-Doubt – This is the tendency to create limiting thoughts around why things always go badly, why people should not be trusted and ultimately why we cannot be trusted. Self-doubt leads to a scattering of our energy and non-action. Self-doubt is the great destroyer of faith and trust, and self-belief.
19. Self-Sabotage – Self-sabotage can come in the form of accidents, drama and incidents. This one is subtle because it can seem that external forces are at work rather than internal self-sabotage. Self-sabotage creates the feeling of being unlucky and flirting with disaster. This is the tendency to trip oneself up in order to stop any moving forward. This is an avoidance of moving forward into greater levels of being successful.
20. Shame – This is a core feeling of being flawed and defective, of feeling bad and dirty, of feeling a deep lack of deserving to be alive. Shame can come from a core sense of abandonment. People who feel deep shame may seek approval and have a disabled sense of autonomy. People who have been shamed may adopt addictive or compulsive behaviour to escape from the core pain of shame. Shame is painful, it is a great destroyer of personal aspirations and dreams.
21. Victimhood – This is the tendency of feeling of being weak and helpless in the face of reality. Victimhood is a dependant way of living based on subtle blackmail and emotional manipulation. Victims present themselves as a burden to other people. They create drama and trauma for themselves and others. Victims are trapped in a pattern that stops then feeling able to take prevents them taking personal responsibility for their lives.