I’m grateful to say that I’ve never experienced anything too traumatic in my life. Everyone I love is alive and well and for that, I am most grateful. However, we all have trials and mine seem to come in the form of internal “torment” if you will. It is something I’m desperately seeking answers for and trying to overcome. I wouldn’t classify it as depression, just a constant struggle in my head, an internal conflict. It is feelings of anger and frustration, bouts of low self-esteem, discontent, struggling to forgive and lacking tolerance of others’ actions. I have the tendency to obsess over the things I CAN’T change rather than the things I can.
As much as this constantly consumes my mind lately, I know without a doubt I will overcome it. When I’m struggling, I spend a lot of time reading, Googling, writing and praying. I’m desperately trying to understand these emotions, where they stem and how to overcome internal conflict.
As I’m learning and unveiling these truths, I feel compelled to share them in hopes it may reach someone who is going through something similar. I find great fulfillment when taking my MESS and turning it into my MESSAGE! It helps shift my focus to proactive measures rather than taking on a “victim” mentality. It brings me so much peace during my trials.
Here are three specific causes of internal conflict.
I feel like I’ve been so focused on achieving BIG goals that I’ve become completely dissatisfied with where I’m at and how far I’ve come.
One of my favorite messages is by religious leader Dieter Uchtdorf. He eloquently put into words the feelings I’ve been experiencing. He compares our tendency to be discontent in life to the classic “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory” story. He describes how in the beginning everyone was so concerned with getting the “golden ticket” that even the candy bar itself was no longer enjoyable.
“This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.”
– Dieter Uchtdorf
When reaching for goals and choosing to do hard, yet worthwhile, things like put on an event, run a marathon, homeschool, etc. I find myself at one point or another wondering why I CHOSE to do this in the first place? Why did I put this unnecessary weight on my shoulders? Then, I’m reminded that the easier road is much less fulfilling. It’s the hard things that not only enlightens us of our true potential and empowers us to achieve more, but uncovers little by little who we are. It makes us feel ALIVE!
2. Lacking tolerance and struggling to forgive
We’ve all been victims of people who are mean and insensitive. Recently, I was really hurt by the actions of another person. I dwelled on it for days. I realized I just can’t take it personally.
I’m learning that in order for me to have peace, I have to forgive and allow people to be who they are. Love and forgiveness are the answer to most problems.
A hard lesson we have to learn is not everybody is going to like you. I’ve spent too much energy making sure I’m liked by all. It took me a while to realize it’s an impossible feat. I can’t force people to like me nor can I force myself to like certain people. We all have our peeps, the ones we mesh with and the ones we don’t.
Take a break from social media. I believe it’s one of Satan’s sneaky ways of distracting us from fulfilling our purpose. He wants us to question our importance and lovability. He knows how to stop us from believing in our mission and living out our potential.
3. Low self-esteem
I read an interesting explanation of the human competitive nature from the book “Status Anxiety” by Alain de Botton.
“It is the feeling that we might, under different circumstances, be something other than what we are – a feeling inspired by exposure to the superior achievements of those whom we take to be our equals – that generates anxiety and resentment. If we are short, say but live among people of our same height, we will not be unduly troubled by questions of size. But if others in our group grow just a little taller than us, we are liable to feel sudden unease and to be gripped by dissatisfaction and envy, even though we have not ourselves diminished in size by so much as a fraction of a millimeter.
Given the vast inequalities we are daily confronted with, the most totable feature of envy may be that we manage not to envy everyone. There are people whose enormous blessings leave us wholly untroubled, even as others’ negligible advantages become a source of relentless torment for us. We envy only those whom we feel ourselves to be like – we envy only members of our reference group. There are few successes more unendurable than those of our ostensible equals.”
It’s interesting how competitive the natural man is. We compare ourselves so much to others and tend to feel resentment towards people who seem to be happier or more successful than us. This is something I hate to admit but I find myself experiencing over and over. Just when I think I’ve reached new heights and learned to be happy with where I’m at and happy for the success of others, I get on social media and I’m right back where I started. Social media is a blessing and a curse. The answer is not to abandon social media altogether, the answer is to learn the lesson.
How can we overcome our envious nature? How can we stay in a place of peace and love for everyone?
That is the big question. I’ve found plenty of tips and advice on the matter but I tell you, it’s no easy task.
It’s all about shifting our focus. We have to pay attention to all the gifts, talents and blessings that WE have. Each one of us is unique and wonderfully made. We are all loved equally by God, he has no favorites. Also, we must remember that nobody has it all. It may look like it on social media but God is a fair and just God. We all have struggles, we all have weaknesses, and we all have pain. Remember, there is no way around it in this life.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Wannabe Balanced Mom. It has been modified and republished here with permission.