I’m kind of all over the place, mentally, today. Too many thoughts swirling! One that keeps coming to mind is this quote from Carl Jung:

What you resist persists.

And actually, that’s not even the quote. That’s the abbreviated (easier to remember) version that someone came up with sometime after Carl Jung actually said:

“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

This makes me think of The Borg, in the Star Trek: First Contact movie.

“Resistance is futile.”

I won’t nerd out explaining the movie now. I have found that either people like Star Trek and will know the quote, or they don’t like Star Trek and my explaining it won’t matter. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen any of the Star Trek shows, but I enjoyed watching this movie “back in the day”. Some things just stick with me, I guess. So, before I digress (further?), let me get back to the point…

Whatever you do right now, don’t think of a pink elephant.

See where I’m going?

Putting mental energy against something still directs energy toward it. Focusing on stopping behaviors often leads to said behaviors.

In motorcycle riding, we call this “object fixation”. When riding toward an object, if I focus on the object I’m very likely to run into or over it. On a motorcycle, that’s deadly! Rather than focusing right in front of me, or at the object in my path, the better approach is to look as far ahead as possible, and turn my head (not just my eyes, but my entire head) toward where I want to go. I failed rider training the first time, at least in part, because I kept trying to focus on the object or just look where I wanted to go with my eyes only without turning my head.

When it comes to my unwanted addictive behaviors, I’m learning the truth of Carl Jung’s statement, and the danger of object fixation. I’ve definitely had my times of running headlong into the thing I was so desperately trying to resist. Or fixating on the negative thought while trying not to think about it. I’m learning the value of turning my head in the direction I want to go, and looking as far ahead as possible.

There’s another, possibly more powerful tool available to curtail persistent thoughts and behaviors.


I was a very curious kid. I wanted to know how everything worked, why it worked that way, who made it work that way, and so on. I was also told that my curiosity was unwelcome. Worse that unwelcome, I received the message that my curiosity was bad, and made me bad. Over time, I learned to hide my curiosity, and that alone led me toward some unwanted thoughts and behaviors. I’m learning to reclaim my natural curiosity now! I endeavor to look past the thought or behavior and into what’s behind it.

If you’ve seen First Contact, do you remember how the Enterprise crew ended up overcoming the Borg? (spoiler alert if you somehow haven’t seen the 1996 film and suddenly decide you want to see it). One of the characters in the movie stopped resisting, became part of the Borg, and took them down from the inside. This parallels my experience in some big ways! I am learning to ask myself questions. What is it about this behavior or thought pattern that is serving me in a positive sense? How has it served to protect me? What need – perceived or real – is being met? I’m even learning to thank that behavior or thought pattern, metaphorically, for how it has served me well – protecting me, providing my needs. But then I’m discovering it’s okay to let that behavior know I’m safe now, and it doesn’t have to protect me any more. I can determine a healthier way to meet the need. Or, I can determine it’s not a need at all. In doing so, I’m learning to avoided the trap of resisting.

Another important factor in all of this: Connection. Being able to share my struggle with others and seek their perspective is HUGE. I’m learning that instead of resisting in isolation, acknowledging in community will greatly improve my odds of proceeding past/through the issue without being assimilated by it (had to get one more Star Trek reference in there).

So, now I’m curious. Have you experienced object fixation and its results? How do you avoid the persistence of thoughts and behaviors you want to resist?

(The photo is not the Borg, it’s just me on one of the motorcyles I’ve owned – a 2015 Honda Grom. That little bike only had a125cc motor, but it was a ton of fun to ride!)

11 thoughts on “resistance

  1. Endless Weekend

    What an intriguing question! It reminds me of the 4 possible outcomes when 2 civilizations meet. They can assimilate, and resistance is often futile 🙃 I’m a fan of the Star Trek series (NG being the best, of course, but I’ve seen DS, Voyager, etc. Yes, even Picard, who’s the best captain, but the series, sadly, is not), though I haven’t seen the movies. They can annihilate, and there are enough examples of that in the ST universe, though the Daleks from Dr. Who with their “exterminate” motto come to mind 🙃 They can amalgamate, or just ignore each other. There are probably other potential outcomes, those are the ones I remember. One of the wonderful things about the ST series is that they explore those encounters, and their outcomes.

    You asked about resistance: the biggest resistance I’ve seen is to change, resistance of organizations, of individuals, and I wish I had a magical “fix” for it… Do you?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Stephanie Seven

        So, it is not just me who relates to the Matrix and Star Trek movies? Brilliant.
        (love the motorbike photo).
        Here’s my story – I worked in the supermarket many moons ago and there was a lady who worked there and she came across very nasty to everyone; always obnoxious – I was terrified to ask her anything. Then someone mentioned to me -‘why don’t you shower her with kindness – try and break that barrier? Step in to her world?’
        Ha? Is that possible But the next morning when she turned that scary glare at me I asked her how she was and how her weekend was – she made conversation ! But as soon as I went on my way she was back in her usual defensive mode….

        Liked by 2 people

  2. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

    That is a badass photo, I love it! And you’re right about all of it. To answer the question at the end, back when I was an alcoholic and trying to get sober in my 20’s, I would distract myself by doing any hobby, instead of fixating on “I shouldn’t drink,” which would inevitably turn to “drink.” So, yes, Jung hit the nail on the head!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. David Post author

      Thank you.

      I’m gonna use my curiosity here. I notice you wrote “when I was an alcoholic”, and you use only past tense verbiage in regards to that. Care to share a little more?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

        Yes, always be curious. I totally don’t mind. Well, it has been about 10 years since I struggled with drinking. I don’t think I’m “cured” by any means (I COULD NEVER drink again EVER), but the struggle is no longer part of daily life. I don’t even think about it much, except in the past tense. So that’s why I say that. More accurately, I’m a sober alcoholic 😊

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Emily Yvonne

    What a fabulous collection of thoughts! And fantastic ST references. I watch First Contact every year on April 5th to celebrate Zefram Cochrane successfully achieving warp drive and attracting the notice of the Vulcans and thus making first contact…….. Yes, I am that level of a nerd.

    Object fixation is definitely hard to fight. Whoops…I guess the whole point of this conversation is to point out fighting it doesn’t help. See, I’m already proving my weakness in this area. But I have observed and experienced the value of /replacing/ a behavior or thought. Reminds me of what I’ve learned about habits: you must replace a bad habit with a new one if you want to change it. i.e. want to stop doomscrolling? Use that time to read a book. ~etc~ I think the way I usually deal with avoiding persistent thoughts/behaviors has been resignation and disengagement. Dulling my mind. But I’m learning the dangers of small amounts of resignation over a long period of time. “…once you’ve resigned to small doses of toxins in your heart, your potential to enjoy the fullness of life is compromised.” Oof. Resignation is a slow killer. But that doesn’t mean you have to /resist/ per se… I don’t know. What would be the differences and connections between resistance and resignation? Are they opposites? Are there appropriate times for both? Now the wheels in my brain are gonna be spinning all night.

    I’m sorry your childhood curiosity was not praised. Those are the most formative years where curiosity is needed. I’m glad you’re able to embrace and chase it now. I’m learning to ask questions of myself and of others. Once again I’m reminded of the quote “the only thing stronger than fear is curiosity” — I’m sure a lot of big name people have said that, but I remember it from an animated kid’s movie that came out in 2018. Big truth, small package.

    Liked by 2 people

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