Does this sound like you?
"I feel torn in opposite directions. Like one part of me wants to do one thing, but another part wants the opposite. How is it that I can want to be active and go for a run but also want to lay on the couch all day? How is it that I want to be alone but also feel so lonely/starved for connection at the same time? I find this inner conflict to be EXHAUSTING. It often can keep me from taking any action at all - getting tired out from the internal debate and eventually moving on to something else to distract from it. But this leaves me feeling like I am stagnant, living life in a state of paralysis, and I end up beating myself up over it. This does not help with the overall feeling of defeat but I do not know how to stop. The worst part is that I’m afraid maybe this kind of being at war with myself means I’m crazy.”
So many people are living with this going on in their internal world. So many people do not realize that this is something that others are experiencing, but that it does not have to be this way, and that counseling is a place where you can learn to work with the inner conflict and decide how to move forward.
The types of inner conflicts mentioned above can be seen as an internal debate between two polarized parts of the individual. The word “polarized” refers to the fact that these parts of the individual are currently holding on to sharply contrasting and even seemingly opposite thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Think about the North Pole vs the South Pole, up vs down, light vs dark, etc. Considering ourselves to be made up of different parts capable of holding onto different thoughts, feelings, and beliefs helps to make sense of why it is that one can want to be active but also want to lay on the couch all day. It is different parts of the individual trying to decide what to do next and disagreeing internally over this.
This is common and not necessarily an issue, but oftentimes it feels distressing to the individual if they do not understand that everyone is made up of different parts that are capable of this. Often clients express confusion to me about why it is that they can want opposite things at the same time, or why do they keep self-sabotaging. I frequently see my clients feel some relief immediately upon learning that it is not uncommon to have this experience.
Even if you do not choose to engage in counseling at this time, perhaps you too can find it helpful to know that this experience of being polarized is not uncommon and does not make you “crazy.”
Furthermore, you might find it helpful to consider areas of your life in which you currently feel stuck to see if there really are polarized parts at the root of that stuck-ness.
- Can you identify an internal debate that is taking place between two parts of you that is keeping you from feeling able to decide what to do next?
- Can you make space for both sides of this debate to be considered, instead of trying to take a side immediately?
- And what does it feel like if you do this? Who is the YOU that is listening to these other parts as they debate?
Developing your own Inner Guide does not have to be something you do with another individual involved, and in truth there are many different practices and disciplines that can help one to do this type of work within themself. There are many paths to the same place, and it’s a great idea to let your own parts help you decide how you’d like to navigate yours!
If you do decide that you’d like some external help while you are getting your own Inner Guide stronger and more active, engaging in counseling with someone who does this type of work is one way to assist yourself.
I love working with people who would like to learn how to mediate the internal debate between polarized parts of themself. My goal for every one of my clients is to be able to understand their own polarized parts better, to feel less distressed by the fact that they HAVE these polarizations in the first place, and to have confidence in their ability to help themself make a choice and move forward.
Does this sound like something you want? Contact me if it is. I can’t wait to meet you and get started.