How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you want to do something but a part of you is blaring the red alarms? Sometimes it’s life decisions and sometimes it’s as scary as challenging beliefs you’ve had since forever.
You know it’s right but why does it feel wrong?
You’re stuck in the chaotic internal conflict where your foe and friend are one of the same. How does one decide what to do? You’re already feeling your brain melt and retreating seems like a safer option because all you’ve been doing is collecting unnecessary emotional baggage.
Hold on! Before you go crazy I’d like for you to pause, close your eyes and halt the battle for a while. I guess it’s time you take a break. It’s time to resolve the matter and this article will help you reach the roots of your internal conflict.
What is Internal Conflict?
The phenomena of experiencing conflicting or opposing desires, feelings, and beliefs are often referred to as an internal conflict. In psychological terms, you call it ‘cognitive dissonance’ which means holding inconsistent attitudes and thoughts.
Be it in a relationship, religion, moral beliefs, or social implications, you might find yourself in an internal conflict. Sometimes you want to be with someone but you feel you won’t be emotionally available. Sometimes you question your religious beliefs you’ve had since birth and although it seems sinful you can’t seem to absorb it.
Causes of Internal Conflict
So who is on the opposing ends of this internal conflict? It’s your heart and your brain. More precisely put, it’s your heart’s intuitive and instinctual intelligence vs your brain’s rigid and pragmatic intelligence.
Our heart, study shows possess its own intuitive intelligence a kind that does not fear to interfere in matters dominated by the brain like our societal stereotypes. But when this happens, chaos is bound to follow. Believing blindly what others have taught us seems like an easier option.
But the subtle, abstract, and free nature of a heart’s intelligence is bound by no formula or set of rules. The voice of the heart is like that single radio channel you can tune into. It’s up to you to find that wavelength.
Up against the heart is our ever so practical, logical, and reasoning brain. The structure and direction of our life come from our brain’s capacity to analyze. But what’s any structure without life? The same as our life journey without our heart’s intelligence. Without tuning in with your heart, you’re living life without purpose – unsatisfied and soulless. But without your head, it’s utter chaos.
We can’t suppress our hearts neither our heads. What you need is balance. When you let either get the best of you, you’ve tipped the balance and all that is left is confusion and disorder. The internal conflict lacks equanimity where both sides are screaming their standpoint without even acknowledging the other until both exhausts. This is what leads to an inevitable sense of discomfort and uncertainty.
On that note, which one should you listen to, when, and why? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Roots Internal Conflicts?
At the origin of internal conflict lies not one reason necessarily but a number of factors that include:
- Beliefs that have been passed on for generations especially religious.
- Beliefs are given to us directly by our parents often called upbringing.
- Beliefs are adopted as societal norms.
These factors can be further divided into types of internal conflicts.
1. Moral Conflict
When your ethics are at battle weighing the pros and cons of a moral/ immoral behavior, you probably had a moral conflict. It’s like lying to save a person when telling them is also an option. It’s like opposing euthanasia while being a human rights activist.
2. Sexual Conflict
Often overlapping with religious and moral conflicts, sexual conflict is when you’re unsure about your stand with your sexual orientation. For example, being faithful Christians but possessing homosexual tendencies or valuing monogamous relationships while being more suited for polygamous relationships.
3. Religious Conflict
Probably one of the most common types of internal conflicts has also fueled many barriers amongst others. This is because religions are beliefs and beliefs that are mind-oriented. You might often catch yourself wondering why God who we all consider ‘merciful’ would send people to hell for eternity. It often occurs when you’re stuck between believing a proven scientific fact with contrasting religious sayings about the same thing.
4. Love Conflict
Have you ever hurt or distanced a loved one despite the love you have for them? You’re in what is called a love conflict. Similarly, parents despite the love for their children might hit them to make them listen but feel equally guilty.
5. Self-Image Conflict
We all have a perspective on ourselves. For example, I believe I’m selfless and honest. But then again I would choose the better thing when it comes to sharing or I would lie just to avoid an embarrassing confrontation. After that, I would feel like I have double standards – that I believe in what I want but don’t really implement it.
6. Interpersonal Conflict
An appropriate phrase to describe this would be “jumping onto the bandwagon.” Sometimes especially in a business environment with bosses and higher-ups, you find yourself agreeing with their beliefs or having similar likes even if you don’t like that thing personally. It’s could be to maintain social status or be their good books. Either way, you’re in an internal conflict where you probably don’t feel yourself.
7. Existential Conflict
The constant feeling of discomfort and dissatisfaction like you’re missing out on something is often categorized under existential crisis. Call it a negative mindset but an existential crisis can make you hate and love life at the same time. You may want to experience life to the fullest but you’d rather stay in your comfort zone.
Resolving the Internal Conflict
Whatever internal conflict you’re battling at the moment is because your heart and mind are as stubborn as each other. Your heart’s intelligence may be the confession you truly want but your mind thinks what it wants and what it’s taught to think.
Sometimes we take thoughts for more than what they are – simple electrical impulses. But if these thoughts aren’t a reflection of our identities what do they mean? Where do they originate? Lastly, do you have any control over them or…..is it the other way round?
That’s some food for thought for you. When you do realize where the conflict arises you’re going to have to read ahead. Sit down, close your eyes, and let yourself exhale out all the discomfort and shame.
- Intuition or Fear? Never mistake your fear as your heart’s intuition. Your heart’s intuition is strong, unemotional, and crystal clear as compared to the weak and emotional fear. The two voices may sound the same but there’s more beneath the surface. Learn to distinguish.
- Identify your Priorities: You’re probably conflicting internally because you’re juggling your priorities. Once you know your priorities, the battle dies down automatically.
- Toss a coin: Yeah, I know it sounds absolutely absurd. Life isn’t a game. But let me complete. Toss a coin but don’t catch it, don’t look at the results. Now tell me what was it that you truly wanted as the coin was in the air? That’s what you truly want.
- Weigh the advantages and disadvantages: In the long run, you’ll need your heart and head. So how about we wave the white flags. Go where your heart takes you but be sure to face the music. You should know what you’re up against and if you’re capable of facing it.
- Relax your Mind: Probably one of the most important steps to resolving an internal conflict is taking a break. For once, put the battle aside and concentrate on yourself. Maybe when you start afresh, you might have found some common ground.
Get started now with these 7 lifestyle tips to release all the stress.
So what are your internal conflicts? Honestly, we all have them, you just have to be brutally honest about it.