It is our nature to have inner conflicts come, but come to think of it, what do we think is conflicting with what? Some people experience a devil arguing with an angel, while others may experience an inner parent and cautioning a child. Some lucky folks feel blessed with a muse or wise homunculus. While these images can all be useful, I have another to suggest. Try imagining three inner voices coming from three separate creatures inside you, each with a distinct personality. Envision that these three creatures compete for control of you.
A local artist, Nicolette Wales, drew her imaginings:
Your imaginings may be quite different. Or you may not have any imaginings, or just a knot of indecision in your stomach.
Let’s call one of these creatures Primitive (top left), the next Social (right), and the third Reasonable lower left). Each is more evolved than the next, with priorities, skills, and inclinations true to their names. Each has a distinct personality and agenda that becomes modified gradually by time and experience.
These three creatures each have distinct perspectives, motives, abilities, and developmental courses. Our primitive aspect is our core animal nature, interested in survival and advantage, indifferent to the needs of others and reason. Our social aspect is very emotional, highly susceptible to influence, and focused on other people. Our reasonable aspect operates strictly according to logic. Although emotionally clueless, reason can think critically and plan ahead. Each of our three aspects influences the others to varying degrees at varying times.
These three inner creatures - primitive, social, and reasonable - inhabit our minds and bodies. They continuously struggle to coexist. Sometimes we can feel them vieing to control us. We feel their conflict. While jousting for position, these inner voices tell us what to do… and what not to do. This all goes on whether we notice it or not.
Our three aspects guide us through life, working largely below the radar of our awareness. Like three pilots steering one plane our different aspects must work together for us to be at our best.
Inner conflicts may seem to be your worst enemy, but they can become a source of important information about yourself. Adopting the right attitude helps you listen to each of your perspectives. Greater awareness of your mixed motives (and their sources) lets you question yourself to make better decisions.