Breaking muscle builds muscle. Hard work is the thunderstorm you must suffer to grow a capability: at the piano, writing, pinball, whatever. Artists go through years of shame at their work not meeting their expectations because they're unrealistic about how much resistance you need to push through to be that good. I know that each broken heart I've had has taught me a new way to love. Resistance is inescapable. In fact, each resistance is an opportunity, despite how tall the hill looks when we first encounter it.
Thank goodness resistance isn't something you can escape. Viva la resistance! is now a phrase that can multitask. Boy do we try though, to escape it I mean, through sleep and booze and yelling at people and opiates of all kinds, not to mention emotional defense mechanisms like denial and projection and rationalizing (which cause more or lessresistance? hmm...). Yep, resistance takes all shapes and sizes, but it's always there. The roots of a tree must grow through the soil, a baker throws away ruined batches, every marriage encounters instability. Even the slickest substance has the slightest friction against ice. Resistance is a byproduct of having more than one object in a single reality: some of them are going to bump into each other. This fact makes it an inherent aspect of being alive. Your life is a story, and every story needs conflict or else it isn't a story. It's stasis. But we can judo-flip resistance by flipping our mind: resistance should not be avoided, but embraced. Our inward resistances are signs pointing to challenges we can accept or decline. The path of least resistance may get you somewhere, but it isn't going to bring you there with many tools to work with.
In the same way an athlete puts on muscle and strengthens their speed and endurance (or maybe the way you are I are happy after ten morning push-ups), we can use non-physical resistance to grow. By that I mean our dislikes, our aversions, our biases. "I haven't tried that, but I don't like it" becomes "I'm going to put myself through it and see who I am on the other side."
Maybe you hate jazz, avoid your mailbox, think Indian food stinks, or can't stand Aunt Mertle. Great. The first step is acknowledging that resistance. The second step is assessing whether or not this is a resistance you could lean in to. The third is deciding whether you actually should lean into it (you know, making a grown-up decision), even if it's only a slight lean, like a drunk guy using tall bushes for balance. Maybe that thing you were resisting wasn't as bad as you thought. You might even like it. On the other hand, some resistances might be too difficult or painful; you lift whatever weight you can. The fourth step is doing the leaning. Work with the resistance when possible and take breaks. Maybe a half hour of listening to Aunt Mertle talk about Joan Rivers and Barbara Streisand is good for you once in a while, but you don't need to stay in her guest bedroom with those six cats all weekend.
Some people practice confronting resistance by doing charitable work, following a routine or code, pushing themselves into unique experiences, or just accepting the commonplace frustrations of life. That stuff's like hitting the gym hard. I'm not always consistent with my physical exercise, though I'm getting better at it. What I will say is that I find it useful to look for similarities between the physical and metaphysical aspects of the human being. At least it makes it easier to talk about this stuff. And maybe I can't do a pull-up (even though I really want to do a pull up), but not many people meet their end because they are unable to pull themselves up off the edge of a cliff. Life doesn't always test those muscles in that way, but there are a different set of muscles that it can work like a masseuse with the hands of a farmer. And it probably will.