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How to manage inner conflict and find wellness

stressed looking young woman looking up with blurred swirl around her head

Conflict is not a strange thing for people. Human beings experience it in their day-to-day lives – with their friends, families, and more so in their professional lives. Often when we think of conflict, it usually includes external individuals such as co-workers, bosses, friends, family members, children, spouses, etc. However what if I challenged you to go inward and consider inner conflicts you may have within yourself that are hindering you from achieving wellness?

What do I mean by inner conflict? Jacqueline T. Hill, writer and blogger, describes inner conflict as a constant battle that hinders us from making a smooth decision. It is our thoughts and emotions trying to override what we know is morally right or wrong. This feeling of conflict translates into fear, anger, disgust, confusion, and in some cases, loneliness.

Internal conflicts usually stem from our experiences – nature versus nurture. We develop our sense of identity from our backgrounds, and that in turn shapes our ability to deal with conflict. You must ask yourself whether the internal conflict is something inherited that we have learned to cope with, such as self-perception, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, etc. We must also consider whether the conflict in which we battle is a deeply rooted issue that stems from how we were nurtured by our family and/or experiences. Once we find the root of this conflict, we are to then address and develop more adaptive ways to cope.

When dealing with internal conflicts, behaviors that may arise include:

  • Inability to trust your opinion over others
  • Indecisiveness when making decisions
  • Doubting your credibility
  • Shame associated with true feelings
  • Constant comparison

These are steps that can be taken to manage our inner conflicts:

  1. Identify and acknowledge the conflict.

    “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” – David Foster Wallace.

    You must first identify who you are, acknowledge what you want, and evaluate how not acknowledging the conflict within yourself is hindering you from becoming your best self. Once you acknowledge there is a conflict brewing inside you, you are more equipped to resolve the issue and find a resolution.

  2. Explore the origin of the conflict.

    As mentioned, inner conflicts typically are deeply rooted, and some factors can contribute to our upbringing, our lived experiences, or the present moment. When we understand where and how the conflict was formed, we can compartmentalize the conflict to help us understand the root of our feelings and the basis for our beliefs.

  3. Calm your mind and find a solution.

    Now that you have identified, acknowledged, and explored the origin of the conflict, move toward calming your mind and finding comfort in what you really want.

    Calming your mind can look like:

    • Letting go of guilt and shame
    • Considering what you need to feel safe and secure in your decision
    • Investing in a counselor/therapist/wellness coach to help you process your feelings and support you as you develop new insights into your emotions
    • Practicing trusting yourself with the decisions you make despite what others may feel or think
    • Trusting your inner wisdom when making decisions

Like many things in life, shifting behaviors and doing a deep dive into our feelings can leave us vulnerable and uncomfortable. Inner work is a process that takes place over time; however, with the right tools and patience, achieving inner wellness is attainable.

Jaime Harry

Jaime Harry

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Wellness Program Liaison

About the Author

Jaime Harry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Duke Certified Integrated Health and Wellness Coach. Jaime's passion is driven in Diversity Equity and Inclusion and Mental Wellness for all people.

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