It is important to deal with inner conflicts but sometimes it isn’t even easy to know exactly what parts are in conflicts in the first place. Confusion may be paralyzing. So the first step is to understand exactly what the conflict is about. Ask yourself what two main parts are at war. In the example above it boils down to a death-match between the need for variety versus that for stability. If you are not familiar with the six fundamental human needs and the concept of values I recommend that you read through some of the older posts about this fascinating topic.
Once this is understood you are ready to move on. This is how you can do it in a simple yet effective way. Doing this little exercise will help you access your subconscious mind without complicating everything with analytical thinking.
If you are ready I challenge you to take willingly suspend your disbelief and take a little step into the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
First imagine placing each part into each hand. Visualize and feel each part and everything it aspires to i.e. it’s positive intention.
Now close your eyes, breathe deeply and feel the weight of each part on each hand ad simply feel which hand seems to weight the more.
Just take in what your subconscious mind is telling you by noticing what happens to your hands. As soon as one starts feeling a bit heavier than the other you’ll know what your inner self values the most. It may manifest itself as just a slight feeling but if you care to pay attention you will notice it. Remember you are trying to break a tie here. So even a minor difference makes the difference. If you are sensitive enough you should be able to detect which part, literally, carries more weight. Now you know which need or set of conflicting needs is more important relative to the other and this will point the right way.
If this process doesn’t yield a clear winner of if you are finding it hard to let go of one of the parts you may want to take this another level. The harder it is for you to come to a clear-cut preference the greater the conflict because each part is important and needs to be satisfied. It has justly been noted the most intense wars are the civil wars, just as the most vivid and rending personal conflicts are internal ones.
If this is so you should be prepared to try to find a negotiated agreement. Just like civil wars inner conflicts are not about securing a one-sided absolute victory but rather to establish a new balance of power that respects both sides so that they can co-exist and cooperate for the common good. What is this common good? What is this higher-level meta-objective? What are both parts trying to obtain? As you go through this exercise you are focusing on the commonalities as opposed to the differences. As the Israeli statesman Simon Peres once said: “When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is to look for the third that you didn't think about, that doesn't exist.”
If you are ready to find this third way engage in an inner talk where you become the mediator between the two parts. Speak to them by ensuring that each part recognizes the positive intention of the other and broker an agreement by which each part will accept to reach a middle ground solution.
Although this may seem a bit strange as you go through this neuro-linguistic programming process you are creating the conditions for your subconscious mind to be open to a creative solution to manifest itself. The answer is already within you. A helpful belief to have is that there is always a third way possible.
Step 1: Close your eyes, breathe deeply and simply join your two hands slowly.
Step 2: As they approach feel the positive intent in each hand and visualize it turning into a magnetic field that progressively stretches out as it is attracted by its approaching counterpart.
Step 3: As you hands finally connect just let the two parts mix and become one. Keep on breathing, clear your mind and let any ideas or insights manifest.
Chance are you will come up with a third way that combines both parts’ positive intentions into a new greater solution that offers you at the very least a starting point to reframe your dilemma. In some cases you will see an embryonic plan or option shaping up in your mind. Take it and work with it. You are witnessing and experiencing a higher state of consciousness that will help you to get unstuck.
In the example above you may come to the conclusion that you can keep your existing job but become more creative at doing what you already do. Or maybe you may come to the realization that you can start doing some freelancing work in your spare time so you build up a customer base and experience before taking the risk of quitting your job. Or maybe you can speak to your employer and pitch your creative idea(s).
Whatever you come up with appreciate that each part has a positive intention. Using your criteria for a rational analysis and/or checking with your subconscious mind (using your hands as vehicles) can help you sense which option is the best for you. If the conflict is deeper you should leverage the belief that there is almost always a third way. Open up to let it in. Then give it a shot. You’ll be amazed by how powerful this simple process can be and the wisdom in can yield.
Try this process and let me know how it goes.
For those who are more analytical and less prone to ‘willingly suspend their disbelief’ I will explain how to conduct a decision-making comparative analysis where you assess options based on how well each satisfies your set of criteria.