Many times, in life we are faced with conflicting feelings. A situation, event, or person may trigger opposing views that somehow are both true at the same time.
COMMON CONFLICTING THEMES:
- Wanting to be independent but also wanting help
- Wanting to be alone but also wanting connection to others, or being with people but also feeling lonely
- Wanting to share with others but also wanting to keep things private
- Wanting to accept yourself but also wanting to change
- Someone having a valid reason for wanting something from you but also you have a valid reason to say no
- Being mad at someone but still loving and respecting them
- Disagreeing with the rules but also wanting to follow them
- Understanding someone’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors but also disagreeing and asking for it to change
- Wanting to help someone else but also wanting to put yourself first
It can be stressful and difficult to know how to proceed when these conflicting feelings arise. It can be hard to understand how two seemingly contradictory ideas are in play at the same time. This conflict can be paralyzing and keep us from actually navigating the situation. Setting a foundation mindset to think about when faced with conflicting feelings can help you more easily work through them.
HOW TO NAVIGATE CONFLICTING FEELINGS
- Accept that there can validity to both sides of any situation. Understand that just because something seems contradictory, that does not mean that one is right and one is wrong.
- Step out of your perspective and look at all sides. Be open to seeing other points of view and changing your belief or opinion. Find the truth, validity, and understanding in the other side of things. Whether or not you change your original perspective, being open to, and exploring the other side will help you more easily navigate the conflicting feelings.
- Stay away from all or nothing thinking. Stop getting bogged down by extremes like always or never. Look at each situation on its own and think about what would be most effective now. Look for a compromise. Step out of one clear cut right or wrong. Find the middle ground between both sides.
- Embrace change. Often our ego and stubbornness get in the way of effectively navigating conflicting feelings. Not wanting to let go of how things are and how we feel adds stress to these situations. Instead, open yourself up to change and accept that it happens. Remember that it is ok for thoughts, feelings, and opinions to change based on the specific situation.
- Be ok with conflicting feelings. Allow yourself to feel confused. Often, in these instances, we use up our energy just focusing on the fact that we are conflicted. We spend a lot of time feeling angry and frustrated by the confusion. Letting go of that and just accepting that that is where you are at the moment frees up your mental energy. Therefore, you have more to exert onto finding the middle path and doing your best to address the conflict.
Navigating conflicting feelings does not have to be as stressful, as it often is. Keeping the above ideas in mind will help you be able to more easily navigate through the conflict. The above steps help reduce the automatic suffering and pain that conflicting feelings often bring. It also helps increase wisdom and reduce reactivity. Therefore, you are able to work through these situations with more ease.