Effective self-examination for resolving internal conflict is about discovering the most foundational argument in your soul and working to become single-minded rather than divided. That kind of peacemaking requires clear Rules of Diplomacy—common ground that is firm and sure and won't change with strong competing emotions or the inevitable moments when throwing up your hands and walking away seems like the best solution.
Establishing common ground with yourself gives you a sure footing to navigate every test of integrity. When the pain is deep or the stakes are high, it's all the more important to be able to pass those tests as they come. (And they will. They so-so-so will.)
The Rules of Diplomacy in Self-Examination are simple. Not easy, but definitely simple.
1. Respect the chain of command in your soul. What you do is a reflection of all that you feel and think. What you feel is a reflection of all that you believe. And what you believe isn't always rational, but may be something you only assume is true or want to be true.
You can't escape the order of your soul, and denying it will lead to major crazy-making problems that have no solution. Learning to work with the natural order of things gives you incredible power for solving problems and resolving internal conflict.
2. Make your soul accountable to Reason. Keeping the chain of command in your soul in place eventually leads you to the conflicting beliefs that you hold. Sometimes merely by identifying an unconscious belief it will be clear which belief is unsound. Other times it won't.
Forging peace in our conflicted minds requires a commitment to only holding beliefs that are congruent with reason. But Reason isn't defined by what we think or feel no matter how confident we are or how passionately we believe something. Reason is objective. It exists first outside of us as logic, the Laws of Thought. This is what rational minds are accountable to.
To engage in productive diplomacy you have to agree with yourself that Reason Rules and that what constitutes reasonable is defined by the Laws of Reason.
3. Check Your Pride. Introspection always produces questions and with every question there is a trial of integrity that requires a deeper level of humility. Humility isn't a one-and-done affair when it comes to self-examination.
Humility is the ongoing discipline that takes us out of ourselves and empowers us. Humility makes us free to listen to our own reality. It gives us the courage to question our integrity at every turn. Humility expresses our hope that we will find the truth we seek. It doesn't neglect, avoid, resist, or deny seeking, but rather it perseveres in seeking, and in peacemaking with self.
When it comes to internal conflict, making peace requires accepting that you're at least partly wrong. It is humility that will give you the strength to yield to compelling truth once you find it.
True seeking is reserved for the lion-hearted. Committing yourself to the Rules of Diplomacy will keep you on the path of a true seeker.
Rules in place, let's remember what we're after. It's just One Thing.