We’ve all been there. One part of you wants X, but another part wants Y and there’s just no way to keep both parts happy because X and Y just don’t go together. Such conflicts come and go in different situations throughout our lives.
Sometimes they are harmless and may sort themselves out or the situation may change to make them no longer important. But other conflicts may be causing long term problems which are holding you back from making the right choices to move on with your life.
These conflicts are most likely caused by different parts of your personality or differing values and beliefs. We are complex beings capable of holding conflicting beliefs and different needs and desires, which are often kept in check because there is no need to choose between them.
But once that incompatibility is thrown into a situation where one must override the other we are thrown into turmoil. And often, we are paralysed into indecision and inaction, while neither side will give way. And all the while we are likely to be troubled and unable to relax.
NLP also has a tool for conflict resolution which I will now outline.
- First, clearly identify the parts which are in conflict. One part may want to buy some luxury item while the other part is telling you to be careful with your money. Each part may be pushing negative statements and opinions about the other. Maybe one part is calling the other “reckless” and is in turn being called “scaredy cat”, etc. Accept that each part has something valuable to offer.
- Make a physical representation of them in your mind, e.g. you could hold one in each hand. See them. What do they look like? How do they feel? How do they sound? What words describe them well? Have both parts go back along their timelines to see where their views came from. Experience? Parents? Teachers? Or somewhere else?
- Find out where they want to lead you. What is their intent? It is almost guaranteed to be positive from their point of view. Your subconscious is there to help you not harm you. Get both parts to step back a moment and think more broadly. Both parts will almost certainly agree that they want to keep you well. If they are truly deeply conflicted this may be the ONLY thing they can agree on but, try to get them to find other areas of agreement. Imagine they are like UN negotiators trying to find points of agreement.
- See if each part can find ways to help the other. What trade-offs can they make? What things can they co-operate on? What does each want from the other? Both parts will start to realise that, their conflict is actually preventing the achievement of their aims.
- Ask each part if it is willing to integrate with the other so that they can achieve their ends as one? Do not worry if they do not agree. Ask them instead to agree on a signal to give to each other if they need something, e.g. more time, more appreciation.
- If they agree to integrate, bring them together into your body in a way that feels right, e.g. if they have been sitting on your hands, squash your hands together to merge them. Feel the new part inside you. Sit quietly for a while to enjoy the change. Let the new part review its timeline and go about reframing past events with its newfound understanding.
As you’re going through this process you may find that other parts, which are also in conflict emerge and you may want to repeat the process.
But accept that you will never completely banish conflict and nor should you try to. Sometimes those “inner voices” stop us from doing foolish things. It is only productive to remove conflicts when they are holding you back in some way or causing you anguish.