How To Deal With Toxic People and Other External Resistance
To Change

Self-Awareness 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change

In this episode Willard responds to viewers questions about maintaining their journey of self-awareness when they run into toxic people and/or resistance from family, friends and circumstances.

< EP 15: You Always Have Choices            EP 17: A Supportive Environment > 

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Today we're going to discuss what to do when you encounter external resistance.

Jerry and I have just come back from two months of not shooting any Self-Awareness 101 videos, because we wanted to get your feedback. We wanted to release three months worth of videos we had already filmed and then hear from you. We wanted to know what really impacted you , what led you to deeper questions, what you wanted to hear from us.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to be sharing with you videos that we've created in direct response to the emails and the comments we've received from you.

This one area got so much feedback, that we're actually going to be breaking it into two episodes. We believe this topic is very important because so many of you asked questions about it.

The first part that you're going to get this evening, is in response to people asking. "What do you do when you run into external resistance as you embark on this journey of self-awareness?" Then the follow up that we're going to release next week is how to create a support system to help you move forward in this journey.

Now, let's talk first about the resistance that many of you , probably 99.9 % of you are going to run into.

I don't want to sugar coat things here. Change is not easy. First when you decide to change, you start dealing with your internal resistance to making change. To even begin can bring up fears, doubts, limiting beliefs that you never realized you had. It takes a very strong person to even commit to making changes in their life. Whether the change you're looking to make is losing weight, whether its quitting smoking, whether its improving your relationship, changing your financial position; making that commitment takes a huge amount of courage. You become one of a small number of people who begin taking responsibility for your circumstances. Most of our society lives a life of quiet desperation because they're not willing to look inside or to take the steps that they need to take, to face the fears that they need to face, to move forward.

So I want to acknowledge you. You've already made a great step to committing to that journey. And now the challenge that a lot of you have emailed us about is that you're committed, you're making the changes, your dealing with the internal resistance that comes up. And now you're running into external resistance that is making the journey even more challenging. For many of you, the people around you, the people you thought would be cheering you on and supporting you in this journey, are not being the least bit supportive and in some instances it seems that they are actually trying to sabotage you as you work towards your goal.

I know what that can be like. For me, this situation showed up when I decided to quit drinking. Those of you who have been watching our series know that the beginning of my journey of self-development and self-awareness began because I had basically destroyed my life through drugs and alcohol; so for me , making a change was a matter of survival .

Now, I was lucky in the fact that by the time I decided to make a change, I had pretty much ruined every relationship in my life, so I didn't have a lot of external resistance from my family and friends. But I did encounter it from the people who were my peers at the time, the people that I would hang out with, that I would drink with. I would come into a club and they 'd say, " Hey Will, have a drink !" and I would tell them, " No. I don't drink anymore." And they wouldn't let up. They would keep saying things like, "Oh come on... you're fine. Don't let those people stop you. You're young. You can have one. Come on, just one for old times sake."

They were well meaning, it wasn't that they intentionally wanted me to destroy my life. But they were trying to get me to go back into an environment and a habitual way of living that they were used to. My not drinking was outside of their comfort zone.

Luckily, I was able to walk away without to much effort. I didn't have to deal with what many people have to deal with.

As I was progressing on that part of my journey, becoming stronger in my own Identity and beginning to handle life in a more responsible way, I surrounded myself with new friends. People who were looking to change their own lives in a positive way. This is when I began to see what would become a recurring pattern of external resistance for people who were committed to making a change.

People would come to me in tears, because they were really doing everything they could to 1) stay sober, and 2) to become a better person. They were working hard to integrate themselves back into their family lives. They were taking steps to be responsible be productive members of their community. And as they began to make some really impressive changes, some of the people closest to them would say, "You know what? I liked you better when you were drinking!" It made no sense, finally they were becoming someone they could be proud of... rebuilding their self respect and they were being told that this improvement... was worthless. That the person they wanted so much approval from wanted them back drinking again. Beyond making no sense, it hurt them deeply. So we would have long discussions where we looked at what was happening and we explored why these people were reacting this way.

When you make a personal change, you not only affect yourself, there is a ripple that extends outward and you affect the people around you.

As an example, with someone who is quitting drinking, continuing using that kind of experience as an example, one of the things that happens is that you start asking people to trust you again. You decide that you're going to be a responsible adult. You tell everyone that you're going to pick the kids up from school, you're going to pay the bills ,rather than gamble with it or do whatever. And you actually begin keeping these commitments.

Over the years, these people closest to you have been conditioned for however many years you've been drinking and using, that this commitment is not going to last. You're working hard at changing your life and you find that you don't have the trust that you want so badly. So you become even more committed and more responsible. As you become more responsible, you shake up their world. Now they have to adjust their responses to you and their whole approach to how they have been living. They've gotten used to life operating a very specific way. They are used to relying on themselves to cover for you. And when you make these changes, they become scared. People fear what they do not know, and they also fear what they cannot control. If they have been able to control the circumstances around your actions for all these years, and you change the game... the easiest thing for them to do is to make you go back to what they can control , what they can understand.

Now, for others it may not be that dramatic. You may be looking to just , improve yourself in some way. You may be looking to gain or lose weight or maybe just get in better shape. Maybe you want to quit smoking or change your diet, but you're still finding people resisting. Why is that?

Many times it is because you're forcing them to go outside of their comfort zone. Meaning, if you can lose weight, if you can improve your relationship, if you can quit smoking, then they don't have an excuse anymore for not taking responsibility the things they're avoiding in their own life.

As you embark on this journey of self-awareness, you're going to be evaluating your belief system and all sorts of things. You're going to be evaluating your belief system about yourself, about other people, about the things that are important to you. You're going to be taking a closer look at what your core values are. And the people who are close to you many times are going to get very scared by you doing that. Remember, you're friends with them because you have the similar beliefs, similar values, similar interests. And as you begin to change, they're going to be scared of losing you.

A lot of times, very well meaning people, think they know what's best for you and try to pull you back to where they're comfortable with you being. They believe that you're being silly wanting to change and know what you should be doing to be happy.

So how does someone deal with all this external resistance? I want to ask you to take a look at something. There's a couple of parts of an exercise that we're going to offer you that will help you deal with this external resistance. And one of the first things that you need to do for this exercise is you need to get very clear on why you chose to embark on this journey.

For most people, it's because there is an area of life, there's something that's been going on that's been causing them so much pain that they finally said, "You know what? I can't deal with this anymore. There's got to be a better way . There's got to be a different way."

That's when the majority of people decide that they need step up and apply themselves. They decide it's time for them to begin making a change and start becoming more self aware. There is a smaller percentage, and you may be one of those people who just decides that you want to become more enlightened and it's something that pulls you towards it. But most of us, we started on this path of self-awareness because we're in a lot of pain.

And the reason that I want you to get clear on this, is because you are going to encounter resistance. 99.9 % of you are going to encounter a lot of resistance. It's just a part of the process. So you need to be clear on why you started on this path. For me, it was a case of survival. So ignoring the external resistance was a no brainer. You know the people that I mentioned, that when I would walk into the club, and they would yell, "Hey Will, here, have a beer .." I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that if I was going to change my life, I just couldn't. Giving into that resistance was not an option.

And for me, because giving in was not an option, I actually had to end some of those relationships. Now I'm not suggesting that as an initial approach for you. What I'm suggesting for you to do first is what the second part of this assignment is going to be about. When you run into that resistance from people, again, the first thing you're going to need to do, is have that certainty of why you chose this path. Because the second thing that I'm going to suggest you do, is that you establish boundaries with these people. You will run into situations where the first time that you talk to them about your new diet, or your new personal development journey, they're possibly going to joke with you. They're probably going to kid with you and make fun of your decision. Some people are going to be downright cruel and say things like, "What are you stupid? Who do you think you are? You think you're better than everyone else? What did you do, join a cult?" When this happens, I suggest that you talk with them. Say, "Look, I know you're not someone who is into this. But it is important to me, so I'm asking you, please support me. " And if they don't respect that boundary, you can get to the next point of saying, "Okay, here's the boundary on this subject. We don't agree on this. That's fine. I can respect that. I love you as a friend, and when it comes to this subject, we're just not going to talk about it."

That approach works in a lot of cases. And sometimes, you will actually have to go to the extreme. For me, that extreme meant actually ending some friendships. Again, referring back to the people in the clubs, you know, when I came in, they wanted me to drink. They told me that I was being stupid and that I didn't have a problem. And I believe that for some of them, they were saying that because if they admitted that I had a problem, they had to take a good look at what was going on in their life, and they didn't want to have to do that. We were hanging out in the bars together because we all loved to party.

As you progress on the journey of self-awareness, you will encounter all kinds of external resistance. Some of the people around you will tell you that you're selfish. That you're not thinking about other people. They'd say things like, "You know, what are you doing, it's all about you. Trying to change this, trying to do that, do the other... you don't care about how that affects me."

And I have to say that there is a big part of this journey that is selfish. You've got to take care of you, before you can ever take care of somebody else. You've got to heal your self before you can help heal others. You've got to be certain of who you are before you can help somebody else. As you become more self aware, as you make the commitment to focus on growing in that area, there comes a point of transformation where you then, become selfless. You become the example that other people can step up and follow. You actually desire to help others who make the commitment to change because you realize how liberating it was for yourself.

You are going to inspire people as you grow, that's another thing that I can tell you that I'm 99.9% positive of. Your success in becoming more self-aware is going to inspire others to make the changes they need to make in their lives..

Jerry's giving me the signal that I'm running out of time. We are going to have another episode that goes into more on this topic next week. I look forward to seeing you again soon and I look forward to your comments.

Take Care. 

< EP 15: You Always Have Choices            EP 17: A Supportive Environment > 

Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:

Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus

Introduction To Self-Awareness 101:  To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1:  The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness 
SA 101 Episode 2:  How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3:  To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4:  The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5:  Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6:  Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7:  Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8:  Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9:  Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10:  Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11:  The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12:  Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13:  The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14:  Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15:  Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16:  Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17:  Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18:  Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19:  Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20:  A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21:  The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22:  Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23:  Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24:  Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25:  Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26:  Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27:  Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28:  How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29:  Positive Affirmations 
SA 101 Episode 30:  Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31:  Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32:  Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33:  Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34:  How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35:  Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36:  Deepening Self-Awareness 
SA 101 Episode 37:  What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38:  How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39:  Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40:  How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41:  Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42:  How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43:  How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44:  Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45:  Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46:  Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47:  Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48:  Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49:  Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50:  Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51:  Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52:  The Final Episode 

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