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What is Inner Conflict and How to Handle It
We all have inner conflicts. If you have ever heard yourself say I struggle with my weight, saving money, parenting, expressing my feelings, or with just plain having fun then you know what it means to experience an inner conflict. Inner conflicts are similar to a tug a war between your brain, body and spirit. It is almost as if your mind wants to keep running old scripts and habits while your spirit is eager to create new ones. Without awareness your body is likely to get caught in the middle of this heated exchange. You might experience this as a push, pull feeling. Part of you may want to allow change while another part of you resists it. In daily life this dynamic gets played out through conflict, frustration, insecurity, tension and reactivity.
Sure you could blame it on your circumstances. If it weren’t for the holidays I would have never eaten that chocolate cake or if only I had more support I could have done better on that assignment. You could also project it on the people around you by focusing on their faults and weaknesses. However, as you might have already noticed this rarely does the trick.
Inner conflicts and how they impact our lives
Inner conflicts typically begin with statements such as I am sick of, I always or I am so tired of and it is not unusual for them to be accompanied by some jaw clenching, an occasional rant or stomp of the foot. They can also be more subtle for example you might ramp yourself up with excitement about your plan to exercise and eat right. The moment you miss a few exercise classes you automatically succumb to defeat. Inner struggles weaken your self esteem by strengthening your ego. The ego is the part of you that buys into failure, mistakes and brokenness. Your spirit on the other hand, doesn’t need to buy into anything because it already see’s you as having everything you need.
The key is to align yourself in mind, body and spirit. This alignment allows your spirit to enter fully into your body which inevitably impacts how you see and respond to your environment. Below are some insights and tips which can help you break free from this cycle of separation. It is the separation which feeds the struggle. As you becoming connected you no longer have a need to be something different. Instead you are guided to love who you are and with that often comes internal as well as external shifts.
Ways to manage your inner conflicts:
1. Conflicts are based on illusion. Illusion happens when we become attached to what is not real. You may think well this body fat is real to me however, science proves what you see is only a fraction of what is. You are far more than your appearance or body. Struggles are your bodies attempt at reminding you of this.
2. Inner struggles often indicate the areas of your life you are putting unnecessary pressure yourself. Consider putting yourself at ease by engaging your body more than your mind. One way to do this is through conscious breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose while placing your feet firmly on the ground, do this for a few rounds until you feel more centered.
3. Surrender your will. It is when we attempt to push through our struggles that we end up feeling exhausted. Surrender doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you are giving yourself permission to embrace the energy as is. Energy serves you best when it is in motion. Holding on through sheer will, will eventually clam up your energy. Very often the struggle happens because your mind is expelling quite a bit of energy and your body is becoming depleted. The struggle is actually your bodies attempt at getting it back.
4. Struggle happens when we are giving more than we are receiving. For example, when you give all your attention to someone else’s needs or you attempt to take on extra responsibilities eventually your body is going to have something to say about this. This is because giving without taking time to receive is like telling your spirit to keep away. Your spirit is the part of you which illuminates your resilience, strength and potential. To connect with this aspect of yourself it is important you exercise your ability to receive. Receiving is how your spirit becomes integrated into your physical body.
5. To be become more skilled at receiving it is essential you give yourself permission to feel. Your feelings show up as sensations in your body. Consider taking a slow, deep inhale through your nose (inflating your abdomen) and an exhale through your nose (deflating the abdomen). At the end of the exhale, pause and observe your bodily sensation. This is what it feels like to receive.
6. Give up the good vs. bad mentality. This mindset sets you up for gaining relief from the good while being drained by bad. See everything as a choice even your perceived “mistakes” or mishaps.