How to Win the Battle Within: Coping With Your Inner Conflict

By Linda H. Williams On February 8th, 2014 to itsallaboutwomen.com

How to Win the Battle

Have you ever asked yourself, “why did I do that” after you find yourself behaving in a manner that feels completely contradictory to what you want yourself to be?

Scattered or unpredictable behavior can sometimes mean that a person has inner conflicts that have not been resolved. Usually when you think of a conflict it’s between two people, such as between you and your boss, co-worker, spouse or children. More often than you might realize though, we experience personal inner conflict — those battles that you have with yourself.

This inner conflict arises when you’re faced with a decision between doing what you think you “ought” to do and being true to yourself. Most people dread conflict, as it can be stressful and uncomfortable. Conflict within yourself can not only be stressful, but downright unhealthy.

Sometimes you’ll experience a vague sense that something is not right; a feeling of discomfort or agitation. Oftentimes, you’ll feel this discomfort in your stomach or your chest. The problem with adults is that many times we’ll just ignore it or take some kind of medication to relieve the symptoms.

But as we all know, ignoring, suppressing or denying inner conflict does not mean that it goes away! Just the contrary, ignoring inner conflict can lead to other issues which can cause even more stress. Not only that, but failing to face this conflict and deal with it effectively means that we stay stuck in whatever the problem was that caused the inner conflict in the first place.

Too often, the way we deal with inner conflict is to do what we think we “ought” to do and not necessarily what we truly want to do. As long as what we “ought” to do is in alignment with our personal core values and not the presupposition of someone elses’ values, it’s the right decision. When you consistently opt for the safe decision, you increasingly disconnect from your true self. So much of life can be spent battling against ourselves that our inner struggles begin to manifest themselves in our outer life.

The turbulence in our lives caused by negative thoughts show up as blame, negativity, fears and a general poor disposition. It can be easy to identify if your inner space is in conflict because your life situations will create the “realities” where you can see these conflicts coming to the surface of your life. Do you have any areas of your life that are filled with stress, un-fulfillment or disharmony?

These might be just mirror images of the presence of inner conflicts. Those conflicts are caused by a state of confusion in your mind because you may have multiple inclinations and can’t decide which way to go.

You know, those situations where you ask yourself, “should I or shouldn’t I?”

The Causes of Inner Conflict

How can you tell if you have inner conflicts?

You might have a lot of inner conflict if you exhibit some of these behavior traits:

Are you easily influenced by the opinions and point-of-view of other people? Have you ever made up your mind about something and then a person who you trust comes along and tells you a better way “they” think you should do it?

If you start feeling a little uncomfortable, your spirit is conflicted as to whether you should follow your own mind, at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings, or just go along with what they have suggested to keep the peace.

Do you find it difficult to make decisions and then you question the decisions that you’ve made? Decision making can be very stressful if you lack the confidence in yourself and your ability to make sound decisions. The uncertainty that you experience may manifest itself in your inability to take a stand on something and stick with it.

You become like that weeping willow tree-when the wind blows to the right, you lean to the right. When the wind changes direction, so do you!

Do you find yourself seeking the support and validation from others because you lack the conviction of yourself? Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt really good about what you see? Then, the first person you see makes a comment like, “you’ve gained a few pounds, haven’t you?” Immediately, you begin to question whether you should have worn what you have on.

The definition of conviction is, “a firmly held belief or opinion.” Once you begin to entertain the opinion of someone else — especially when it undermines yours — you’ll have inner conflicts.

Awareness Brings Dissolution

Awareness of oneself typically will reveal dark places that need to come to light, such as it is with inner conflict. It is much easier to just ignore and distract yourself from having to face it, and hope that it will eventually diffuse itself. Unfortunately, with inner conflict, the more you try to run away, the more conflicted your mindset becomes.

This leads to more conflicts and you end up beating yourself up!

That’s the war that rages within. If you want harmony and stability in your mind and your being, you have to dissolve the conflict. Because an internal conflict usually results in unbearable emotions, it is important that you learn how to deal with it. Here are 3 steps to help you:

Step #1: Don’t push away annoying thoughts.

Think of the possibilities, your options and ways to get out of whatever you’re in instead of trying to push those thoughts away.

Step #2: Don’t violate your values.

When you move against what you believe in, your mind and spirit start fighting with each other.

Do your best to stick to what you believe and if you happen to violate one of your values, make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Step #3: Do what you’re supposed to do.

Your beliefs, goals, and values will always imply that you act in a certain manner. Failure to keep up with the expectations you have of yourself will certainly result in serious internal conflict.

When you can summon the courage to allow yourself to acknowledge and experience your inner conflicts and then have the courage to act in alignment with what you truly believe, the more enriching your life will become-both at work and at home.

It’s time to stop fighting with yourself… it’s a battle you just can’t win!