“Resistance is a powerful motivator precisely because it enables us to fulfill our longing to achieve our goals while letting us boldly recognise and name the obstacles to those achievements”
Derrick A Bell.
It is two and a half years since my husband left me and I am still stuck in a transition world between my old and new life. Resistance has been a factor with obstacles that have either kept me stuck in my old world or sprung up to hinder my progress.
These are the steps I am taking to overcome resistance:
(i) Clarify my motivation for change.
(ii) Write down my resistance voices.
(iii) List clear obstacles to progress.
This is a summary of my voices and practical considerations.
(iv) Prepare a comeback to each level of resistance.
(v) Seek out supporters.
(vi) Monitor progress.
(vii) Keep going
This is the list I came up with as per (i) to (iii) above and my comeback for each:
1. No motivation to change.
Clearly change motivation has been difficult as change was thrust upon me.
2. Clinging to my old life.
In my old life I coped well in a crisis. I would focus my energy on recovery, integrate whatever change was required into my life and quickly bounce back to normal. The crisis of my divorce was different. My normal was gone. I craved normality. I coped by blocking out the reality of my changed situation by clinging on to as many remnants of my old life as I possibly could. In particular, I deliberately deferred some major decisions that would require major changes to my life.
This deferral was necessary to allow me time and space to process the emotional impacts of what had happened. In this time and space I grieved the ending of my marriage.
3. Fear of the unknown. I survived my grief period and in time learned to live with the level of discomfort that was now my new normal. Living with discomfort became easier than facing the unknown. Those deferred decisions remained in the “to be done later” box.
One day my fear of living in continued discomfort outweighed my fear of change. I had an epiphany. In a single moment of time I decided that I wanted to start a brand new life. This in itself overcame my first resistance. I had regained control over my choices and hence my motivation to change. My motivation is now simple. I want to make my own new life.
4. Fear of identity loss. My decision to change plunged me into an even deeper mourning period as I faced the reality of what the changes meant. I would need to strip away the rest of my identity by giving up my home, my work and my community.
I still have my inner core of my values and beliefs. That is my real identity. I can take that with me, wherever I go, whatever I do.
5. Fear of not being strong enough. “I can’t do it” is a loud voice together with.voices that give me reasons for not doing things, for putting things off, or for why I am struggling.
Yes you can. It will take courage, perseverance, and belief in yourself but you can do it
6. Legal and financial constraints Moving from my home, changing my avenue of work, and moving away from the community are all major steps, which will require careful financial consideration after I am legally able to begin those changes.
This is where I am up to. I am leaning on professional advisors to assist me through.
7. Practical considerations All these changes do and will continue to require a lot of physical, emotional and mental stamina yet I am tired, so tired.
Then rest if you must, but do not quit.
Writing this post has proved two things.
Firstly; the crisis of divorce is different from any other crisis I have faced before as it is not simply a change within my life, it is a change to a new me. I cannot bounce back. I must bounce forward.
Secondly; I am not stuck. I am through five of seven very difficult steps.
I continue to work on a clear vision for a new me and a new life and progress towards that.
“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” Peter M Senge