Inner conflicts that float under the radar of our awareness come from different aspects of our personality (primitive, social, and reasonable) that each have very different agendas from one another. Often times, when these conflicting emotions become muddled, it can make us feel crazy and out of control.
Sometimes your tumultuous and confusing emotions are indications of conflicting needs that are useful to keep you in balance. For example, when it is time to go to work and part of you wants to keep laying around at home, another part may not want to disappoint people to whom you have made a commitment and owe your livelihood. Ignoring your conflicting desires will leave you more vulnerable to the power of your primitive urges (to rest, in this case) that may be destructive to your other goals, perhaps leading you to procrastinate and be late for work. Indulging a primitive wish whether to feel pleasure may lead you to rest when you should be working, eat when you are not hungry, take drugs that are addictive, or spend money you don't have -- all to feel better in the short run. Giving in to primitive urges blindly can inadvertently hurt your body, relationships, work, or finances, contributing to future embarrassment, self-hate, or poor health.
Taking time to contemplate your conflicting inclinations as they are occurring leaves you better able to determine which set of impulses you really want to follow.
Acknowledging your many passions, weaknesses, and limitations becomes easier when you understand the many facets of human nature. Adopting a realistic model of your inner world makes it easier to accept some of your less admirable needs and desires.
Accepting and making mental room for these primitive urges actually makes them easier to control, leaving you freer to make real decisions about your life. It also can help you feel more "together" and less crazy.
What are your most common inner conflicts, and how do you tend to respond them?
In my next few posts I'll be sharing more ideas about our primitive, social, and reasonable aspects and how to think about their inner conflicts.