How to Avoid Conflicting Thoughts and Emotions

Three Methods:Finding Unity in Thoughts and EmotionsResolving Internal ConflictsTaking Action

There are times when the intuitive emotions of your heart and the logical thoughts in your head are not in agreement. You might think you should do one thing, while you really feel like doing another. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid having conflicting thoughts and emotions. By making a few key changes, you can find unity in your thoughts and emotions and resolve internal conflicts.

Method 1
Finding Unity in Thoughts and Emotions

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    Recognize when you are struggling with internal conflict. Before you can find unity in your thoughts and emotions, you need to acknowledge that they are in conflict with one another. Realizing that you are struggling with internal conflict is the first step toward resolving that conflict.
    • You might be experiencing internal conflict if your head tells you to do one thing, while your heart wants to do another.
    • For example, suppose your family wants you to work for the family auto business. Your head tells you to work for the family business, because they expect it. In your heart, though, you really want to pursue a career in music.
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    Accept your emotions in the moment. When you are experiencing a clash between your thoughts and emotions, take a moment to embrace how you are feeling. Emotions can feel intense, at first. Take a moment to observe how you are feeling. Your emotions should feel more manageable after you observe and accept them.[1]
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    Stop feeling guilty about the way you feel. Thoughts are often viewed as logical, while emotions are sometimes perceived as unreliable or irrational because they can be so intense. While your thoughts might be right at times, there are times when your emotions can be right too. Feeling guilty because your emotions are not in line with your thoughts will only make you feel even more conflicted.[2]
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    Stop second guessing your decisions. A sure-fire way to continue struggling with conflicting thoughts and emotions is to second guess every decision you make.[3] In one moment, you might think, “I should have gone with my head.” In another moment, you might tell yourself, “I should have listened to my heart.”
    • Even when your thoughts and emotions are not completely in line with one another, have confidence in the decisions you make.
    • When you stop second guessing yourself, you can begin experiencing less conflict between your thoughts and emotions.
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    Avoid being too easily influenced by others. Worrying about what other people think can lead to conflicting thoughts and emotions. Some people will give you advice that is in agreement with your thoughts, while others will recommend something in line with your emotions. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions.[4]
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    Determine what you really value. When you know exactly what is important to you, your thoughts and emotions should begin to align with those values. That should mean experiencing less conflict between those thoughts and emotions, as well. Think, act, and feel in ways that support your values rather than other people’s values. [5] Doing so make it easier to avoid conflicting thoughts and emotions.
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    Believe in yourself. As you develop confidence in who you are and become more clear on what is important to you, you should find that your thoughts and emotions become more unified.
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    Acknowledge the internal conflict. When you recognize that you are struggling with internal conflict, don’t avoid it or hide from it. It will only continue bothering you. Admit that it’s there so that you work to resolve it.

Method 2
Resolving Internal Conflicts

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    Confront the conflicting thoughts and emotions. The best way to resolving internal conflict between your thoughts and emotions is to face it. Pushing away challenging thoughts and overwhelming emotions doesn’t eliminate them. They’ll continue bothering you until you confront them.[6]
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    Stick to your values. If you are considering a decision that clashes with the values you’ve set for yourself, you will experience internal conflict. That decision might be based on your thoughts or emotions. Either way, if it is not inline with your values and what is important to you, then internal conflict is likely to develop.
    • When you are absolutely sure of your values, your thoughts and emotions should support those values and become more unified with one another.
    • If you do make a decision that is not inline with your values, just correct the mistake and don’t make it again. This will help you avoid having conflicting thoughts and emotions in the future.[7]
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    Set expectations for yourself. Part of setting these expectations is holding yourself to a certain standard. That standard should always include basing decisions on your core values. When you go against your values and do what others want or expect, you are likely to experience internal conflict.[8]
    • Set the expectation that you will not compromise or let yourself down by not meeting your own standards.
    • Your thoughts and emotions should both be in line with your values and expectations.

Method 3
Taking Action

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    Write down your values. Making a list of what is most important to you will help you be more in tune with what you stand for. Once you are clear on your values, your thoughts and emotions can better align with those values and with each other.
    • Values include things like honesty, empathy toward others, compassion, or consciousness in both thought and action.[9]
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    Review your list of values anytime you experience internal conflict. As you become more certain of your personal values, your thoughts and emotions should become more unified. If you do struggle with conflict from time to time, pull out your list of values. Reminding yourself of what is important to you and the type of person you want to be can help you understand where the conflict is coming from so that you can resolve it.
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    Modify your values as you grow and mature. Just as your interests and needs can change with time, so can your values. It’s a good idea to reassess them from time to time. Update your personal values as your life changes.
    • For instance, when you are a young adult and just entering the working world, you might value hard work and being devoted and dependable.
    • As you get older with more life experiences, you might begin to take on additional values like empathy and compassion for others.[10]
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    Be confident in yourself and your values. Being confident in who you are and what you stand for can bring about inner peace.[11] Developing a sense of inner peace will help you avoid conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Tips

  • Examine conflicting thoughts and emotions when they come up rather than avoiding them.
  • Establish your personal values and stick to them.
  • Be confident in your decisions.

Article Info

Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions