Resistance to Relaxing?

Is it curious that even though we know that “what we resist persists” …

… and that allowing is the best way to let in good stuff,

… that we still get anxious at the thought of giving up “hard work” and struggle in favor of doing what feels good?

I continue to be amazed at how many people ask for help getting over anxiety at letting go of struggle.

Are we that strongly programmed for struggle?

I have to admit I know the routine, though …

Years ago in corporate world I hated not just my job but my entire life. Rather than stop doing what I didn’t like I drove myself to a mini-meltdown in the backyard.

That’s what it took for me to let go of what wasn’t working – a mental collapse.

Only then did I honor what my heart and soul screamed for: an end to the work I hated, an end to pretending everything was okay, an end to trying to keep it all together. I let it all go in one feel swoop as I retreated to the bedroom for good.

When I tell this story, I credit a short scripting session (where you talk about what you want as if it’s already happened) as the trigger for a turnaround, but I underemphasize the importance of doing nothing in bed for four days to allow a transformation.

Giving it all up like sounds extreme, doesn’t it? It seemed so to me, anyway.

But relaxing and letting go of resistance doesn’t have to be that dramatic.

If you want to baby step your way there, you can begin by just taking a deeper breath right now.

Already there’s less resistance. That’s how easy it is.

You can also loosen your shoulders right now, too. Soften your eyes. Unfurrow your brow.  Maybe roll your head gently to relax a stiff neck.

The body is a great tool to kickstart the releasing of resistance. (Thank you, Abigail.)

Then perhaps you can let this tension-releasing process start to spill into other areas of life, little by little.

  • Maybe by relaxing boundaries. (So you’re a few minutes late for your lunch date?  It’s be better than showing up stressed and on time.)
  • Or maybe it’s to strengthen a boundary with a delicious “no thanks” where a reluctant yes would ordinarily prevail.
  • Perhaps it’s to reconsider an old habit. (So what if all the dirty clothes aren’t in the basket before bed?)

Whatever you’re wound up about, consider loosening up a bit. Notice what that extra room does for you physically and emotionally.

Contrary to popular opinion, I predict your world will not come crashing to a stupendous halt when you give up the struggle of hard work and that rather the opposite will unfold:

you’ll recognize it not only feels fabulous to release the resistance but also realize how nicely it opens doors for cool things to manifest.

Spouses get sweeter, traffic gets smoother, cashiers are friendlier, great deals pop up, good news is announced, lost items reappear, new job offers come in, surprise money appears, and more smile-inducing things unfold.

So if you find the thought of only doing what feels good too impossible to embrace, start small. A deep breath, relaxing the body, and very soon the Universe will meet you in the sweet spot you’re headed.

  • January 26, 2011
  • It is almost like we have to give ourselves permission to relax. Why is that?
    I don;t think many of us ask permission to go to work or do other things that are demanding of our time and yet relaxing is something that I, for on, have to consciously give myself permission to ‘let go’.
    At last I do it but it is strange now I come to think of it.

  • Amanda42 says:

    It was not natural for me to take a whole day to relax (I can relax for an hour or two without much guilt, but until now, not a whole day). I just knew that if I stayed in a funk, nothing great was going to happen. Now that I’ve seen what it does for my state of mind, I will have less resistance to do-nothing days. A day to myself really turned things around.
    And thank you! I’m glad you liked “relaction.” 🙂

  • Yay for having such a great example in your midst, Alexandria! Kids do make great teachers of these principles, don’t they?
    I’ll join you in that intention: to go through life as effortlessly happy as your brilliant grandson does.

  • Alexandria Barker says:

    Hey Jeannette, just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for this fabulous reminder! So right on!
    I’m building a new business and have several irons in the fire, but fortunately I’m also blessed with watching my 18-month-old grandson 2 days a week. Talk about knowing how to enjoy life –he’s the best LOA teacher I know! This precious little being brings a smile to the face of everyone he meets, and has taught his Nana a thing or two about the beauty of simplicity. My main goal in life is to be as effortlessly happy as he is!
    Keep up the fabulous work!
    Namaste, Alexandria

  • I know exactly what you mean, Nancy! I think that’s why it’s even more important for those who love what they “do” to be very conscious about not “overdoing” it. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt! lol
    And yay for relaxing into relaxing, rather than working on it! ha

  • Jeannette, I really enjoyed your most recent BodyTalk call on GVU with Abigail. Listening to the archive, I found myself easily being able to let go and relax. It felt great, and afterward, something I had been waiting on had finally fallen into place. 😉
    Rather than *work* at relaxing more…I’m going to ease myself into it! Not as easy as you would think when you adore the work you do and it feels like play. Sometimes it’s even important to rest from playing!!! 8)
    Many blessings,

  • Oh boy, Pam! That’s quite a situation! (Having been raised by a farmer.)
    I love that you’re conscious about not passing along the programming. Kudos to you for that!

  • Pam says:

    Thank you Jeannette! I always learn from and enjoy your posts! My father was a farmer so my sister and I were taught that you are not worth much if your aren’t working hard for what you have. I still find it challenging to give up the notion that I can have all my heart desires without working hard. I even catch myself repeating my fathers “hard work” script to my own children. I know just letting go of past programming will be the best thing for me. So here’s to getting all I desire without the hard work attached!

  • Yay for grandsons (and for me, dogs) to remind us to enjoy the day whether it’s productive or not, huh? And truly, when we know how things work (vibrationally, energetically) then enjoyment probably IS the most productive thing we could do. ha ha
    Thanks for posting, Lois. 🙂

  • Lois says:

    This post was exactly what I needed for today. I have a real hang up about not working hard. It makes me feel that I am not being productive and worthwhile. This morning I was babysitting my beautiful 6 month old grandson. As we were getting ready to take a walk on this glorious sun shiny day, I felt a pang of anxiety as we were walking out the door. I started thinking, I really should be doing something else. This is not right that I am just enjoying this day with my grandson. I need to remind myself that it is okay not to always be working, that it is okay just to do nothing, but enjoy the day. Thanks, Jeannette.

  • You’re my hero, Julio. Thanks for being out loud with your leisure so the rest of us don’t feel so lonely as we embrace our relaxing habits!

  • Julio Blanco says:

    I have to admit I spent a lot of time as a closet lover of doing nothing. I kept that affinity hidden for years amidst the whirl and buzz of the corporate settings I used to work in.
    But Jeannette, you’ve helped me come out of the closet and into the flow on this one so I’m better able to just be my leisurely self. Why, today, I took two hours at midday and went hiking and, for a good part of that, just sat on a rock… doing nothing.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Leslie, this is perfect: “Sometimes you have to bravely let go of your resistance to your higher self and let go of your upbringing, even though you think there might not be a safety net.”
    It DOES call for courage to embrace new ways of being sometimes, doesn’t it? Maybe often.
    Kudos to you for employing it. 🙂

  • Leslie Richter says:

    I have been undergoing a huge shift around boundaries, in fact actually establishing some. To tell you the truth this goes against my upbringing and so it has brought up fear. You know nobody is going to love me.
    But I have drummed up my strength, assured myself I would love myself, phoned my brother for courage and then got my husband to make the call. Ha Ha Yeah for being kind to myself.
    Something that started out 7 years as an act of kindness to my sons has run it’s course. I finally got it. My younger son quickly got out of the phone plan and has dealt with his bills ever since. The older boy has never payed a dime and racks up the bills. I tried to quit the plan a year ago but bit the bullet paid off the $900. bill and got him on a better plan. The whole thing being his credit is so bad that he couldn’t get a phone by himself – can you spell dumb-ass Mom.
    So here it is, as scared as I am – I see that it’s a bigger love to have boundaries with the ones you love. How better to have a container for your love, how better to be a happier camper and benefit those around you.
    By the way the phone call went well as I listened on. My husband is practical and good with the boundaries and we all know it will be more empowering for my son.
    Sometimes you have to bravely let go of your resistance to your higher self and let go of your upbringing, even though you think there might not be a safety net.

  • Indeed, Anna, there is most definitely an appropriate time for action, and our guts/intuition/inner guidance will tell us when that is!
    Sounds like you got that message loud and clear. 🙂

  • Anna Diehl says:

    First to Brigitte – congrats! The most effective and efficient way to absorb information for keeps is…
    “I read, I learn, I take interest in my subjects, I attend my classes”
    At least it was that way for me. I always did well on written assignments until the day I heeded the stringent directions of one teacher – I put so much time and effort into that piece, difficult for me because the issue MATTERED to me. I went against my usual way to an A and ended up with a C-. After that, it was gut-city, satisfaction and A’s for me!
    As to the subject of this post: I find it amusing that I recently did something that felt REALLY good at the time, yet seemed rather un-LOA on the surface… and went against one of my time-tested rules (taking action in anger).
    But the higher-ups in my kid’s school district ticked me off (oh so much) and I knew I wouldn’t fully enjoy my birthday unless I spoke my mind – which I did – to the issue, to my interpretation of what was presented to me (hence the issue), and I can honestly say that while I essentially said “this isn’t right” there wasn’t a thought of anger toward an individual, nor did I dis anyone. And I just realize that now – so maybe it WAS in line with LOA… because I sure felt better! And what’s come about as a result has left those directly involved with my son acting empowered, clearly and very happily inspired to go outside the box that so many of us don’t fit into.
    So I’m taking it as a YAY that releasing resistance may at times mean allowing oneself to act, even if anger is present. Because – I’m choosing to see – even when we’re feeling anger, we can still take inspired action.
    And that’s the story I’m sticking to!

  • Michelle, I think you’re right in that it makes it easier to practice if we actually BELIEVE it.
    Very good point.
    In fact, I’d say those who believe strongly that action is required – it might activate so much fear to stop the “hard work” that relaxing may be impossible for them.
    Interesting how it works when our belief is sometimes contrary to what feels best, huh?

  • Michelle says:

    Love it. I have been thinking about this subject a bit lately. The first step is to believe that it is even possible to have more and work less. Like Vanessa commented, we are so conditioned to believe that we have to work hard for everything we have. Nonsense!
    I am glad to say that I now see that it is possible to do less and have more. As a beginner step in this fascinating journey, I am actively looking for evidence of individuals who have achieved what they want by doing less of what they don’t want to do – i.e. allowing.
    It’s like a treasure hunt kind of. I like having fun with it and watching everything I desire materialize! Most thankful for this blog as evidence of what is possible. Thanks Jeannette!

  • Nicole says:

    Brigitte, can you email me? I have something I want to give you… love your “no excruciating studying” decision! nicole dot radziwill at gmail.

  • Yay for allowing yourself a much better college experience, Brigitte!!
    That feels like a really smart thing to do, even though some people might not get that at all. lol
    Kudos to you, my friend!!
    Thanks for weighing in on this discussion. Very inspiring example you share!

  • Brigitte says:

    Oh thank you Jeannette. Sounds like a cliché, but your posts come ALWAYS right on time.
    So I’m going to state here, in your blog (that I love so much, btw), something that I decided that it has made me SO happy. Here we go…
    Yes. I’m a college student. I’m not studying anymore. Instead, I read, I learn, I take interest in my subjects, I attend my classes… But I’m NOT STUDYING HARD ANYMORE. It just didn’t work for me. The harder I studied, the more frustrating the outcome was. So there we go. The end. No more studying hard. No more working hard to get my dreams. THATS NOT THE WAY!
    Look, we human beings tend to see hard work (or action in general) like it’s the solution… AND I believe it’s not so bad! I mean, if we always seek action it’s only because we KNOW we’re powerful. Deep down, EVERYONE (even non-LOA folks) know that we have control over our life experience, that it’s not written before we’re born. We then swim against the current because we think we can do something about it versus *resigning* (as in, “oh well, I’ll never be a doctor, let’s be realistic and stop dreaming”). So it’s a good instinct.
    PS: I’ve tried and tested my new attitude towards studying (NO studying, I tell you) and the results have been AWESOME. :D:D:D:D:D

  • “Relaction” – that’s BRILLIANT, Amanda!
    Question for you: was it natural to give yourself permission to take a day for absolutely nothing, or did you engage that very knowingly that that’s how the system works best?

  • Amanda42 says:

    Jeanette, you always have a blog entry for whatever is on my mind. That’s so cool!
    My vibe had been kind of off recently, and one day in particular it was wayyy off. The next day I gave myself permission to take a day to do absolutely nothing. I relaxed on my couch for a whole day, and although at times I had some resistance (I should do something! I should feel guilty for being lazy!), I chose not to give in to the ‘shoulds’ and it was awesome. And it only gets better from there! It must have been just what I needed because since then I have been feeling great. I can’t wait to see what I manifest when my vibe is this high!
    I think that maybe for the ‘take action’ types, it might be helpful to remember that sometimes relaxation is the best action to take. I’ll think of it as ‘relaction!’

  • Thank you, Abigail, for bringing that point home to me better than anyone has before.
    Much appreciated!

  • Love it, Jeannette! Yay to the body helping us manifest!

  • Yay for spotlighting the power of massive releases, Ryan!
    That’s surely a comfort to anyone who might be in the midst of or on the verge of one.

  • Ryan Biddulph says:

    Every growth surge in my life was preceded by a massive release.
    Like yourself I’ve spent days in bed *doing absolutely nothing* prior to experiencing shifts in my energy.
    We forget that we are instant manifestors, plus blockages. Everything comes to us so if it isn’t here yet we are not light enough, allowing it to move into our lives. Relax, let go and grow.
    Thanks for sharing another spot on post Jeannette 😉

  • Agreed, Vanessa, that many of us have parental programming that make relaxing paradoxically challenging. ha!

  • I can so relate to this post Jeanette.
    I left the corporate world 10 years ago, live the life I want in Spain, yet still struggle and get anxious when things are going well and I am not struggling. I think it really is a case of parental programming in my case;you know all the typical phrases I heard from my parents such as “you can’t get by without hard graft….life’s not easy……life is NOT a box of chocolates, blood, sweat and tears is what makes people successful” etc etc.
    I’m learning to undo the programming-slowly but surely.
    Great post as always!

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