By Revival Ojedapo.
There are times when you find yourself caught between opposing views within your mind. It is similar to the scenario where you have to intervene between two conflicting persons, except, this time, the conflicting parties are inside you. Usually, the voices are calm, you feel a gentle back and forth in your head, and you finally make a decision. Your decisions are sometimes based on the POSITIVE result of these opposing forces in your head. However, there are times when these voices are raging, and it feels like you’re drowning in the frenzy.
First of all, you should realize that internal conflict is perfectly normal. Anyone who doesn’t have opposing voices in their heads is either apathetic or on a journey without reflection. Mark Lawrence alludes to this in his novel, when he wrote that “we’re built of contradictions, all of us. It’s those opposing forces that give us strength, like an arch, each block pressing the next. Give me a man whose parts are all aligned in agreement and I’ll show you madness. We walk a narrow path, insanity to each side. A man without contradictions to balance him will soon veer off”.
Secondly, you need to make sure you’re in control. Do not be given to panic, but rather handle the situation as you would when called upon to settle a quarrel between two kids. You know, the earlier you intervene, the more unlikely it is for the quarrel to become violent.
Internal conflict is usually a clash between what you know and what you feel. It could also be a conflict between two feelings or two sets of mutually exclusive desires. It is a mental struggle that involves your desires, beliefs, knowledge and feelings. Such struggle can come as a result of clashes in subjects of morality, religion, sexuality, politics and others. Sometimes, this clash may become very intense, such that you begin to manifest odd behaviours.
This can hurt you, or hurt those around you. Therefore, it is important for you to be in control. But, it is not always a straightforward exercise. These situations are not always about good and bad options. In some cases, you might be faced with conflicting choices that are equally relevant or powerful. When left unresolved, you may find yourself making an abrupt decision, or even worse, the internal conflict may linger in your mind and affect your mental health.
You need to quickly eliminate the voice of fear, whenever you hear it. Fear compounds your confusion. You don’t want that. You need to set up a comfortable atmosphere where you can easily work out your options. You don’t want to be given to panic. So, first of all eliminate fear. By doing this, you just might have found the complete solution, or half of it at the very least. Whenever you feel the conflict intensify, it is necessary you retreat into a place of comfort. For many, prayer and meditation is key. Music and exercising can also be very helpful in these situations. The point is to be relaxed. This way, you create clarity.
From this point of clarity, you’ll do well to weigh the options before you. Depending on the type of internal conflict, you have to measure their consequences and compare. You do this by learning from the experiences of those who’ve gone before you. There’s hardly any conflict you face that is new. Someone before you has faced a similar conflict. Take note of their decisions, and the consequences thereof.
This will only provide you with likely outcomes, but they’ll help you to make a decision, and cope with the resulting effect. Do not just leave your feelings and thoughts in disarray. Instead, sort them out and set them on a scale of consequence.
Do not hesitate to ask for help whenever you’re uncertain about the consequences of your options. It is not necessarily professional help (unless you’re having bouts of depression). Do this in an effort to inform yourself. Likewise, there’s need for inner help as much as the physical help you get from people or books. The forces within you may be immaterial, but there’s no denying their influences on your life. In similar manner, you need to take cognizance of the spirit of God that’s within you. It may be immaterial, but it can help you cope with conflicting choices. However, it takes humility to seek spiritual help, just as it takes courage to seek help from people.
Every effort we put into dealing with our internal conflict is never wasted. At the end of day, we may still make some mistakes. We’re humans, and that’s alright. But, with every effort, you build a resolve within you that would help you gain more control. Therefore, do not be driven to perpetual guilt because one wrong option won you over.