In the TV series Star Trek: Voyager, the Borg told everyone they encountered that resistance was futile. Before that, Carl Jung said, “What we resist persists.” But no matter who said it or when, we resist accepting the limits of our resistance.
All we want to do is travel unobstructed along our particular garden path. So just as we move through life scanning the environment for what helps reinforce our self-concept and screening out what threatens it, we also put a great deal of effort into resisting what gets in the way on our particular path. Not only is such resistance futile, it also uses up an incredible amount of energy.
Scanning, screening out, and resisting are the triumvirate of activities that keep us assembling the world in a particular way. The more successful we are at them, the more comfortable we become in our well-worn ruts to the point where we can’t see or imagine any other way to be or think or feel. It’s like a narrowing of the arteries of the psyche. Yet all these behaviors seem so natural we may not even be aware we’re making choices or doing anything.
The other problem, of course, is that no matter how much we resist something, our resistance won’t make it go away. A great deal of what we resist persists simply because it’s an unalterable part of life. What we resist exists. Acceptance might be a more appropriate response. But whatever we resist may be so important to us that we go to enormous lengths to avoid confronting or dealing with it. That’s the biggest difference between what we simply screen out (ignore) and what we resist (actively work at avoiding).
- Type 1s are aiming for perfection—and if not that, at least correctness. They want to be irreproachable, at least in their own eyes. Therefore, they resist criticism from the environment. Continue reading