When Do I Need a Swift Kick in the Pants? / by Michelle Cowan

Where is the balance between honoring feelings and pushing boundaries? I often feel resistance toward doing certain things. Sometimes, I’m caring for myself by recognizing the resistance and saying no to the activities or behaviors in question. Other times, I push through the resistance, do the thing, and end up with a fantastic sense of accomplishment. How do I know when to push and when to let myself be?

I suspect that the answer has something to do with investigating the motives underneath the resistance. Why do I not want to try this activity, be with this person, or start this task? Am I afraid of something? Is this an instinctual hesitancy? Are my beliefs about this situation true? Am I resisting this thing just because of the unknown? Am I honestly tired now or not equipped for this? Do I really want to do this or not?

Those are some of the questions I could ask. And I could do the same when I feel enthusiastic about doing certain things. Sometimes, I life turns out better when I put the brakes on and consider why I’m running to do something. However, I’m less likely to advocate the slower pace when it comes to enthusiasm. It’s rare that I get overwhelmingly excited about something, so I generally feel that it’s okay to go with the flow when I experience a rush of that sort.

Still, it can be worthwhile to ask whether or I’m enthusiastic about something because it’s a comfortable habit or because I genuinely want to be involved with that thing or person. Is this really enthusiasm, or is it a rush to get things done? Am I in touch with my true feelings right now?

However, even as I write this, I wonder where the balance lies. I’m not sure if I can tell where my resistance comes from. Could it be that I don’t want to give up a habit or that I truly don’t want to do that thing or go to that place or have contact with that person? Can my desires lead me astray? I suppose they can when I’m not in touch with their underpinnings.

To get in touch—now there’s a goal. I still advocate doing the harder or scarier (more-faith-required) thing when faced with tough choices, but I also don't want to neglect feelings that could have a firm foundation.

In any case, good luck seeking balance, my friends. It’s a lifelong journey!