Values Based Conflict
Values based conflict has tremendous destructive power. Values based conflict tends to escalate over time.
How well we honour and take good care of what is most important to us, largely determines our happiness and well being. When we live to our values, our ability to achieve peace and happiness skyrockets. When we do not honour our core values we set ourselves up for inner conflict and regret. This in turn may contribute to anxiety or sliding into depression.
Is family time important to you? If so, then are you making sufficient time and opportunity to enjoy quality family time regularly? If not, ask yourself what gets in the way?
Do you work long hours at the expense of time with your partner or children? This kind of mismatch between priority values and how you spend your time and energy, is tremendously stressful. For both you and for every family member. How often do you find yourself and your partner arguing over this kind of issue?
The longer this type of values based conflict remains unresolved, the greater its’ destructive power. Deep and continual conflict around values may leave you feeling guilty, angry, frustrated and on edge. Such effects can then further reduce your ability to make the most of the time that is available outside of work. This in turn, amplifies the conflict and produces even more guilt and frustration. It becomes a misery mouse-wheel.
When we don’t live to our core life values, it is detrimental to both positive self regard as well as emotional well being.
If the value conflict is around weight loss for example, there are many flow on effects. The ripples can spread out to every aspect of your life. Usually, when losing weight is important to us but we don’t live to that, we immediately feel ‘bad’ about ourselves. Disappointed in ourselves. Positive experiences are often sacrificed. We feel embarrassed or ashamed, then avoid social and other situations.
Petunia was caught on this misery mouse wheel. She was too embarrassed to go to the gym (or even to go out walking) until she had lost 10 kilos. Then comforted herself with more carbs on the couch. She hated herself for eating instead of exercising. As the kilos inevitably increased, she felt even more unable to go to the gym.
A destructive process usually features a self reinforcing feedback loop. This is true for many areas where values are in conflict. Like Petunia, many people are caught in destructive loops around physical appearance. Other common examples are staying in a deeply unhappy or harmful relationship, or staying in a job that you dread.
The stress of ongoing values based conflict, might show up as avoidance, irritable moodiness, or being quick to anger. You may feel easily overwhelmed. You may feel caught in an out of control spiral. Self esteem and confidence are often eroded.
The inner conflict may manifest as a pattern of self medicating. Think alcohol, drugs or comfort food. If not resolved this type of chronic internal conflict can lead into depression and many common health issues.
We can always realign with our values. This can be done with radical adjustments or gradual adjustments. Even tiny tweaking can produce dramatic improvements.
Skillful Counselling can be a huge help in getting back in control. Counselling works towards solutions. There are some great techniques to help you live to your values.
Often this process begins with gaining clarity and certainty about what is most important to you.
Other posts in this series on values are The Power of Values, Taking Care of Values and Congruence With Values.
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