Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Exploring the Ambivalence

We feel ambivalent about everything.
We both love and hate our parents.
If we get a promotion and a substantial raise, we feel both elated and scared.
If we go through a break up, we feel both sad and relieved.

What usually stands in our way when we want something, is our own ambivalence.
That's why listing the pros and cons of a thing is such a good idea.
Both sides of our ambivalence need airing and recognition.
If not, the dark side of our ambivalence will seek to sabotage us.

Regardless of the nature of the decision to be made, explore both what motivates you AND what fears, worries, doubts, concerns and questions you have.

We want to lose weight.
We feel better and more confident when we are fit and healthy.
We are also scared of change and the consequences of change. What will we lose as a result of this change? What challenges will we face as a result of this change?

We want to go back to school.
Education opens up our options, especially when we feel stuck.
Going back to school also means losing status and financial opportunities in the short-term.
Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Are we ready for the costs?

We want to raise healthy and happy children.
Being a parent requires being firm about making rules and enforcing them consistently in order to teach children responsibility and self-management.
It sucks being the enforcer if we are afraid of being disliked. Also, we give in to our children if we feel guilty or sorry for them for whatever reason.
Inconsistent parenting creates misbehavior. Children need parents that are consistent. Structured and predictable environments make us feel safe. What makes it so hard for us to follow through consistently? For most parents, it is feeling guilty as a parent or feeling sorry for our kids.

Whatever goal, decision, desire, wish or dream we have is at risk due to our own fears, worries, doubts, questions and concerns.
It's not pathological, it's just how we're built - like a safety mechanism.
Exploring our ambivalence frees us up to decide if we're willing to address the emotional concerns getting in the way of what we really, really want.

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