Have you ever caught yourself “arguing” in your mind? A part of you wants to do something, and the other part has an opposing view or need. The positive voice tells you that you are “capable” and can do anything, while the negative voice uses emotions such as fear and doubt to instill thoughts of “you’re not good enough, don’t even try”.
This is known as inner conflict. Our thoughts and emotions trying to override what we know we should, or should not do, in combat against each other infusing doubt. A raging war within oneself.
One side is positive and optimistic, whilst the opposing side is limiting, skeptical, and negative about everything. This constant battle hinders us from making efficient decisions in our lives, reaching our goals, or living our lives fully.
Inner conflict presents itself in several ways in our lives. The more beliefs, ideas, expectations, and desires we have, the more we will experience inward turmoil. This conflict translates into feelings such as fear, resentment, anger, frustration, disgust, and confusion.
A man’s conflicts represent what he “really” is. – Erik Erikson
Negative or limiting beliefs like “I’m not good enough”; “I’m not worthy” or, “I don’t deserve good things”, are formed at an early age through our upbringing, belief system, doctrines, cultures, traditions, society, and the values that we learned or adopted as adults.
All these factors contribute to shaping negative beliefs, as well as opposing positive beliefs: “I am good enough”; “I am worthy” and “I deserve good things”. All our choices in life go through the process of being filtered through these “beliefs” and we end up living according to the strongest and overriding belief.
If you’re not sure if you are struggling with inner conflict, assess whether you are experiencing some of these behavioral patterns:
- Uncertainty about your life, purpose, and how to go about living life to the fullest;
- Always in doubt about your abilities and not open to taking on new or challenging tasks;
- Low self-esteem and not able to speak up for yourself;
- Finding it hard to make major decisions or, even minor ones at particular times;
- Valuing the opinions and ideas of others more than your own;
- You don’t accept your point of view as valid and will always seek validation from others;
- Susceptible to self-sabotage and procrastination;
- Being a people-pleasers and not setting healthy boundaries with others, and
- Compromising your own beliefs or values to comply with peers.
Here are examples of a person struggling with inner conflict or having limiting beliefs:
|You should be more assertive and outspoken to advance your career.||You would be ridiculed or dismissed if you attempt to speak up for yourself.||Fear Despair
Self-loathing Apathy Sense of Futility Passivity
|You believe that you must be healthy, eat right, exercise, and make better health choices.||You believe that you are undisciplined or unworthy to stick to a healthy eating plan or to exercise and that you will not be able to see it through.||Self-sabotage Self-criticism Procrastination Hopelessness
|You believe that you should set boundaries with a person in your life that is constantly challenging your self-worth and is bringing out the worst in you.||You believe that you are too hesitant to speak up and that you deserve to be treated this way.||Resentment Anger Hate Frustration Despair Sadness Self-loathing|
Many people struggling with inner conflict, will either suppress, deny or withdraw from circumstances or decisions that will exaggerate the situation or believe it does not exist. You might even struggle with your identity or the labels that you have placed upon yourself such as “good wife/husband”, “good mother/father”, “successful entrepreneur”, “good employee”. These labels can cause incongruency inside yourself when trying to achieve all the labels and not finding the balance between them. You might feel that you lost balance between your career or achievements and your family. This will evoke negative emotions when you do not reach your aim of being all those labels.
This leads us back to the conflicting opposing parts or opposing voices that we all have inside of us. Very often our parts cause us to act in certain ways that go against our best interest and even go against the protective intent of that part. Both parts have their own protective reason for performing their role. For example, if you don’t go after what you want, you will not fail. That is the protective role of the procrastination part in you. The opposing part will push you so hard to succeed and will not let up on you so that you won’t fail. Both parts have the same intention for you but are in such a great battle to oppose the other. Whatever the situation, this inner conflict can leave us with the feeling of angst, anger, frustration, insecurity, powerlessness, distress, or confusion.
As this conflict takes place unconsciously most of us aren’t aware of it happening. We may be aware of the one part or voice, but the opposing side that keeps on holding you back, is unconscious. Long-lasting inner conflicts are entrenched in deeply rooted beliefs about who you are. Some of the beliefs are so familiar and go unnoticed, that you can’t fathom to think who you would be without them.
Even though inner conflict is inevitable, it is possible to silence the strong negative voice that keeps on holding you back. Healing inner conflict is a process that happens in stages and can be facilitated through the assistance of a professional.
The first step is to become aware of your inner conflicts, getting to know and understand your limiting beliefs and how these are influencing your life. Through strategic interventions such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming or Inner Conflict Therapy TM, you will be able to silence that inner voice and bring both parts in alignment.
Unresolved inner conflict will drain your energy and stop you from becoming the person you want to be. Your mind is working overtime to solve problems that you are not consciously aware of. All your decisions in life will be clouded with your negative beliefs about yourself and there will always be something holding you back. You will be consumed with negative emotions as a side effect of this unresolved inner conflict. Once resolved, you will feel much lighter, happier and you will find balance in all aspects of your life.
Please feel free to reach out to me so I can assist you in resolving your inner conflict.
Debbie Hartmann, Life, Relationship and Teen Coach @ My Kinda Life Coaching.