Contradictions are one of the hardest things to live with in modern society. When there are two sets of facts or ideas or pictures that conflict but maybe true. When science has proven something, and then we hear that another scientist has disproved this, what do we believe? Contradictions can also be of a personal nature, when we experience the mental discomfort or anxiety when we have conflicting beliefs or values or emotions within ourselves. Often to cope with this we use protective measures, or psychological defense mechanisms to help reduce that internal or external anxiety. These measures can help us manage the situations better, and what is most important is to find your ways, guided by the ideas or thoughts of others, e.g. this article, but finding your way in the end.
One of the tasks of developing into an adult is to be able to tolerate contradictions. We all remember the times in our life when we needed things to be “either” “or”, and that it was too hard for it to be both! As we mature, usually, we begin to be able to accommodate differing opinions and these contradictions are less challenging to us. There are many ways to cope with contradictions, and the key elements are to tolerate difference, managing ambiguity and to be flexible. In examining traits mentally strong people poses it is their ability to live with contradictions that strengthen them, it is their ability to be vulnerable and yet strong. So putting down that mask or shield we have to protect can be a rewarding risk to take, allowing us to live more openly and honestly. Another wonderful contradiction to integrate and practice living with is that life is precious and fragile at the same time. Live in the here and now, but never lose sight of the past nor forget to look where you are going. Otherwise we trip over the same obstacle every time we walk on the path of life!
The ability to trust people and at the same time be wary of them is another contradiction that can build resilience emotionally. This helps us understand that people can let you down, no-one is perfect but with healthy wariness we learn to choose relationships which arte more trustworthy, and to confront those that are not. The celebration of difference, which is part of managing contradictions is the cornerstone of tolerating diversity and requires flexibility. The metaphor of “if the branch does not bend then it will break” is useful for us to learn from nature.
The emerging positivity that will grow with tolerating contradictions is beautifully captured in the idea that by recognising your limitations you are able to find the endless possibilities. In not hiding your limitations, you are then open to possibilities that you never noticed before, allowing you to seize the opportunities that are possible. Go for it!!!
SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. email@example.com
To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100
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