You can’t live with your whole soul if your soul is wounded.
If you've never thought of an internal conflict as a wound, now's the time to begin. Whether we have torn flesh or a divided soul, there is a breach and it needs attention to heal.
We don’t like thinking about our internal conflicts. In fact, we have a ton of strategies for avoiding consciousness about our own inconsistencies.
And when we become aware of them, we're really good at minimizing their importance. We excel in magical thinking: they will just resolve themselves in time, right?
That is, until the breach causes enough pain.
When the love we haven’t felt for our partner for a long time “suddenly” becomes an overpowering temptation to love another.
When the self-care we know we’ve needed, but have never managed to really establish, “suddenly” results in illness—or poundage.
When we’ve sacrificed our convictions and voice to be accepted, only to realize that we’re alone because no one has a clue who we really are.
When consequences strike, we become aware of our internal conflicts and their devastating power, and we begin to seek answers.
We're ready for new insight.
But waking up to dissonance and respecting its power after we've suffered painful (and often life-shifting) consequences isn't ideal. What's ideal is to wake up to it before the crisis.
Skillful self-examination when we're consciously conflicted but not yet in trouble is one of the most effective times for turning pain into power. It’s truly The Grand Opportunity for taking control before things get out of control. It's the grand opportunity for healing the breach.
If you're in that space right now—aware of a conflict but not in a crisis—excellent. If you're in what I call a "quiet crisis" where you're functioning now, but who knows what tomorrow brings, stay this course. Engaging the conflict now is vital.
If you're not in a crisis or really aware of any conflicts, consider if there may be something brewing on the back-burner of your mind. Consider how a current struggle or frustration is really an expression of internal conflict. Places where you feel tempted, despairing, envious or are keeping shameful secrets can be a big clue.
Next up: Don't be intimidated. It's just a conversation... sort of.