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.
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.
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.
At the origin of internal conflict lies not one reason necessarily but a number of factors that include:
These factors can be further divided into types of internal conflicts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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