Last Updated on December 7, 2023
Peace through integrating objections
I sometimes struggle with telling people my real opinions about things.
Especially if I think they will disagree.
I do this “people pleasing” because I’m afraid.
Basically I’m afraid I will damage the relationship if I’m authentic.
No Bad Parts
I’ve been learning something lately though which has been helping.
Nobody has to agree with me!
Sounds obvious when you say it that way.
But what if it felt OK, deep down, if someone had an objection?
In fact, I’ve already learned this lesson inside myself.
When we try to change something inside ourselves, often there are objections.
We sometimes talk about this as “parts.”
Part of me wants to change, and part of me doesn’t want to.
Many people consider the change part “good” and the objecting part “bad.”
For example in Steven Pressfield’s popular book The War of Art, he calls the objecting part “Resistance.”
Pressfield rightly points out that whenever we go to make a big life change, or do some creative project, we often encounter inner Resistance.
But he says the goal is to go to war with Resistance and defeat it.
I think there’s a much better way.
The Path of Peace
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have inner peace than inner war.
The truth is, you can’t ever eliminate a part of yourself.
You can bully yourself or fight yourself, but you can’t defeat yourself.
No one wins in war.
Even the “winner” in war suffers, through what psychiatrist Jonathan Shay calls “moral injury.”
Luckily there is a better way to deal with objections and resistance.
Instead of fighting an inner war we can integrate the objection.
How? By treating all parts of ourselves as if they have a deeper positive intention.
When we look for negative intent, we find it.
We can always make up a story about part of us being bad and wrong.
And when we look for positive intent, we also find it.
It’s just that that one story leads to endless war and the other leads to peace and healing.
What positive intention does the “resistance” have for you?
Maybe it wants freedom, safety, or to just be.
What wonderful things!
Clearly it is a great part of you.
Then we can integrate the objection by thinking in terms of “both-and” rather than “either-or.”
Would it be OK if you could both change and have freedom/safety/just be/etc.?
You might not know consciously how to get both, yet.
But once you know what all parts of you are wanting, then you can set that as the outcome.
And then you are walking the path of peace.
Until next time,