Here’s another puppy parable for all you animal lovers. I’m sure you’ve heard the truism “That which we resist, persists.” Not sure who originally said it and don’t care to google it because I’ve heard it expressed in various ways so that is how I know it is a true principle.
Anyhow, this morning my puppy was chewing on the edge of my leather sofa and I kept grabbing his mouth and telling him, “No,” but the minute I removed my hand or diverted my attention, he went right back to chewing on the sofa. After about 5 times of me telling him no and trying to resist his efforts to chew up my chair, I remembered the maxim, “That which we resist, persists!”
That statement reminded me of a recent devotional one of my favorite spiritual gurus gave. Pastor Rick Warren talked about temptation and how hard and ineffective it is to resist temptation. He instead taught the powerful principle of “replacing” instead of “resisting.” In application, it looks like this: Say you are trying to break your smoking addiction. Every time you are tempted to smoke you resist the temptation. White knuckling and willpower will only get you so far for so long before you cave because let’s face it, white knuckling it is extremely exhausting. Eventually you will get tired of resisting the incessant waves of temptation and you’ll give in.
However, if you want to kick a bad habit, rather than resist the temptation (in this example the urge to smoke), you can distract yourself from the temptation or urge by replacing resistance with a positive behavior such as going for a walk, chewing a piece of gum, calling a friend, etc. Replacement works far better than resistance for “that which we resist, persists.” On the other hand, that which we replace, fades away.
So instead of resisting Thor’s attempts to chew up the chair, I simply picked up his bone and put it in his mouth. Sure enough, he went to town chewing up his rawhide bone and I was able to go back to reading my book, uninterrupted by the need to resist his bad behavior.
So the next time you find yourself struggling with a problem, look at the issue and see if their is something you are resisting that simply needs replacing. Remind yourself of the truism “that which we resist, persists,” and go to work finding a replacement instead. And for more puppy parables, click here, and here.