The old comic strip and cartoon character Popeye famously said, “I (y)am what I (y)am and (d)at’s all what I (y)am!” I’m not sure about you, but I sometimes want to say the same thing, and even use the same gravely voice as Popeye. My resistance to change happens because I really just want to be loved and respected for exactly who and what I am.

While resistance to change is normal, sometimes our opposition isn’t in our best interest.  

This topic is especially important to those of us who have been violent with our partner. We feel a lot of pressure to change, either to stay out of legal trouble, or to try to save a relationship. While resistance to change is normal, this is a case where our opposition isn’t in our best interest.

Why do we have so much resistance to change?

Fighting change doesn’t make a lot of sense when we step back and think about it. If we block all personal growth, we’d never move past being in diapers and eating baby food. It’s easy to see immature characteristics in others, but we have to embrace our own transformation if we want to avoid similar shortcomings.

Psychologists say that we struggle with change out of the fear of losing what’s familiar. A bigger fear is the unease of losing our identity. If I change, will I like myself, and will others like the new version of me?

We may also fight change out of a fear of failure, which can prevent us from trying. What if I’m not able to do the new thing? The Ananias Foundation exists to provide guidance and encouragement to anyone who seeks it—we’re here to help you succeed.

How to overcome our resistance to change

Let me share a few pointers that others and I have found to lower our resistance to change:

Adopt a learning mindset. This is a great place to start. Approach new information and new patterns of behavior with curiosity: “What’s here that I can use to get better?” Seeing change as a process of exploration and discovery is much more appealing than something we have to do.

Seeing change as a process of exploration and discovery is much more appealing than something we have to do.

Consider the upside, and the downside. This is an easy tactic to apply when domestic violence or domestic abuse has happened in our relationship. There’s a lot riding on successful change: our reputation, our relationships (current or future), and even our freedom. I was highly motivated to change, and I hope you are, too.

Get help. Sometimes talking through what’s holding us back helps us navigate around the roadblock. Having a mentor, coach, or counselor keeps us focused on the adjustments we are trying to make. They can also help us develop a plan, see blind spots we’d otherwise miss, and provide feedback on our progress.

Evaluating yourself

So what about you? How much openness, or how much resistance to change do you have? While some pushback is natural, is it preventing you from a better life? What is getting in your way? Which strategy can you use to lower your resistance to change? We want what’s best for you, and we’re here to help.

What is preventing you from a better life?

Faith note

God created you uniquely, with a particular personality and set of talents. And he loves you, just the way you are. His love for his children, including you, is unconditional.

However, he loves you way too much to leave you here, especially if your actions have hurt others. He wants you, his beloved son or daughter, to experience a full and abundant life that’s not possible if you’re harming a partner. In fact, he wants all of us to change as we become more like Jesus, because that’s how we experience the good life.