Best of Back in Skinny Jeans: Originally posted June 26, 2008
I have a more philosophical question about the Inner Resistance Monster. Where does it come from? Mine feels like it's in the driver's seat lately, not the passenger seat, much less the backseat. It feels like it's in charge and despite my best intentions, it's hell bent on cookie binging and making excuses for skipping workouts. Can you discuss where it comes from, what it responds to and of course, how to get it out of the driver's seat.
Ah yes! Our friend the Inner Resistance Monster. In fact, one way to start achieving peace with your IR Monster is to start looking at him/her as a friend and not a foe, albeit on the surface, it may not look or feel friendly, but really the IR Monster is here to help you grow.
In a nutshell, the Inner Resistance Monster is that part of you that is the protector of your fears. All of us have fears about particular things, and typically fears are related to things like loss, pain, suffering, humiliation or heart break; things typically labeled “bad” that we want to avoid or never experience. Fears are also related to loss of power, control, and the known. If you notice, your fears will typically intensify when you start to venture into the “unknown.”
What is the IR Monster’s job?
The primary job of our fears really is to keep us in the safety of a small, known, and predictable life. It’s not the big life of your dreams, hopes, and desires, but the life of no pain, no challenge, and no unknowns. The Inner Resistance Monster was hired to make sure you stick to that “small yet safe” plan so he/she will provoke you to do things like procrastinate, self-sabotage, and self-hate. However, in order to grow as a person or to achieve the things you want in life, you will have to experience levels of pain, disappointment, suffering, and hurt. Growth and evolution can only be realized to a small degree through intellectualizing and study, the full course arrives through life experience and the feelings and emotions that come with it.
...The IR Monster is really a puppet of your fears, so it cannot do anything unless you pull the strings ...
Who hired your IR Monster?
Here’s the kicker, you are the one that hired the Inner Resistance Monster and gave them that job. That’s right, your fears said, “You’re hired!” But as equally as you created and hired that IR Monster you have the power to give it another job or the power to go tell it to go into hibernation. When your IR Monster feels like it is in charge or is in the driver’s seat of your life it is because you gave him/her the keys and said, “Please drive.” The IR Monster is really a puppet of your fears, so it cannot do anything unless you pull the strings.
However, on the upside, this is now your opportunity for growth and self awareness, and why I say that the IR Monster can be a friend to help you learn. Why did you give your IR Monster the keys? What is going on in your life at the moment that is making you feel like either you are not capable of driving your own car or that you do not want to be the boss of your life? If you can be still and be true with yourself without judgment, you can learn much and learn why your IR Monster is so loud & demanding right now, and why at some level you want him/her in charge.
One answer could simply be that you need extra help either from a medical professional, your parents, your significant other, or friends & family. There is no shame and weakness in asking for help, but I do know that for “do-it-youselfers” it can be a pride swallowing thing. I had this problem for years, and thankfully got over it. Life is so much better when you allow yourself the honor of other people’s help & support. In return, you can be there for them when they are in need.
How can I get to what’s motivating my IR Monster?
One of the tricks to getting to the real answer of why your IR Monster is behaving like a task master is eliminating the voice of your inner Judge & Jury. For those of us who have “Perfect Girl” tendencies, giving Judge & Jury a break can be like asking the paparazzi to stop taking pictures of Brad & Angelina, “Are you kidding me, not gonna happen.” So, if asking is futile, then just move yourself to a place where the Judge & Jury can’t go.
The only difference really between people who achieve their goals and dreams and those who do not is the degree to which they let their fears stop them. Those who achieve their dreams have the ability to tell their IR Monster to take a hike or to say, “Thank you for doing your job, but I’m moving forward anyway.”
What can I do right now to have some peace?
With body image or weight related things, the cookie binging or lack of motivation to workout, could be related to fears of success, unworthiness, failure, or self punishment because somewhere you feel “not good enough.” Right now, one loving thing you can do for yourself is simply to start looking at what you do have versus focusing on what you are lacking and say, “Hey, you’re alright. Things may not be perfect or the way I’d like them to look like or be like but that’s okay. I have [insert your “positives” list] going for me, and that is wonderful.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as well the evolution your relationship with your IR Monster will take time, but the more conscious and active you become in that development, the better your relationship will become with your fears and yourself.