July 2012 Newsletter: Internal Conflict Resolution

Life is challenging enough when we disagree with our neighbors, children, bosses and spouses, but emotions can get downright ugly when we are in conflict with ourselves and experience dissonance. If you have ever heard yourself saying to someone else: “part of me wants to, but another part of me doesn’t”, then you know exactly what it means to lack congruence. Sometimes there isn’t even anyone else in the room and we play the mental dance. We try to negotiate, bargain, offer incentives, treats or a shopping trip. (My favorite) It all seems up to chance as to which side of the fence we will land on. But are our decisions a matter of chance, or something else? How can we become more effective at internal conflict resolution?

Internal Conflict Resolution

In my opinion, conflict arises out of not having clear enough or strong enough goals. In addition to that, not using our mental ability to visualize the future that our goals we strive for will create for us. If we use these assumptions as our starting point then two obvious ideas come to mind that will enable us to easily line up with the future we desire.

1.Create more inspiring goals.
2.Picture the goal as if it were already achieved.

OK, so this is goal setting 101, right? You know, create compelling goals and visualize yourself having achieved them. But let’s take it a step further. How can we do some quick and dirty conflict resolution without re-evaluating our entire life and contemplating whether or not we need to change our goals to something more interesting.

The technique is simple. You have two conflicting ideas. Since sometimes we say “on the one hand I want to…” Let’s actually hold our hand out and picture that thing in our hand. Then, you guessed it, hold out your other hand and imagine the other thing that you want in that hand. Now go ahead and have a back and forth conversation about it between your two “parts” take as much time as you need to allow each part to expresses their opinions fully. When you feel that there is no more to be said from one part to the other, face your hands toward each other and imagine what it would look like if the two parts were actually one. Then slowly bring your hands together and see and feel what is being created by combining your two previously conflicting ideas into one idea that tends to the underlying needs of both of your “parts”. Do this whenever you start to notice internal conflict. It is a fun and fast way to get to a resolution.

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