It happens almost every day and it sucks. But I am often conflicted. I must admit it. I guess it comes with time, age, and experience. Sometimes, a thing happens and afterwards, I have a million questions. Did I say or do the right thing? Did I handle it well? Could I have done something better? Could I have said something different? Did I have the best or right argument? Did I simply fuck up? Do I look an asshole now? And yes, I also ask myself, “what would others think?”
Occasionally, I will stand there and ask myself questions like that. That’s where the conflict lies. I wonder if I did the right thing because I want to do the right thing and I want to be accountable for my mistakes or shortcomings. I am conflicted about many things; my writing, the way I express myself, the way I behave and carry myself, the way I could be perceived by others, the existence of God or not, my values, my set of rules, how I talk, the tone of voice, my gestures, my answers, my temperament, my emotions, my feelings, myself basically.
Moreover, as I grow and change, my opinions change. You could ask me a question today, and you’d get an answer. However, that doesn’t mean if you were to ask me the same question a few weeks, months, years later, you’d get the same answer. No! Hell no! I have changed my opinion on so many things; love, relationships, justice, vengeance, kindness, forgiveness, apologizing, honor, friendships, family ties, money, life itself in the end. And then I think back at all the moments I fucked up, and I must deal with the shame and guilt I felt. As you will agree, life ain’t easy sometimes, in that regard.
One could say that I am a walking contradiction, and I accept it wholeheartedly. I don’t even want to hide it. I don’t even bother disguising it, ever. Furthermore, I have accepted I know so little about the world and a bit more about myself. I have also accepted I am a work in progress and there is so much left to learn. I simply must find the strength, fortitude, and consistency to learn about life and about myself. I am not even afraid to make mistakes because that’s how we all learn. No one is born knowing anything, except breathing. Even that essential activity is done by our autonomic nervous system; it operates subconsciously, the same way the heart beats or the digestive system work nonstop.
I always saw the inherent conflict within me as a bad thing at first. I was afraid it made me look or that I was indecisive, hesitant, unsure, or weak. Yet, as time went by, and I accumulated some much-needed life experience, I have learned this internal conflict is a blessing. It allows me to ask myself questions, to rethink things, to reassess situations, to study my feelings and emotions, and then adopt new ways of doing things, if need be, adapt, recalibrate my brain and heart, and be a better person. Absolute belief is as dangerous as permanent doubt.
To be sure, I have missed the mark so many times, and I see those times as learning opportunities. A while ago, I wouldn’t go see people when they were sick at the hospital, for example. I always thought people wouldn’t want to be seen in their most vulnerable and weakest state. It was selfish of me, that’s a fact. I stayed away while other people kept visiting those in need. And then, I became conflicted about my own behavior, my refusal to go see people I cared about.
I later understood the reason I wouldn’t go was to protect myself because I was uncomfortable being in hospitals. I wouldn’t even think about those who were sick, which is a terrible thing to realize. Now I know, a visit, no matter how small, can help a person’s morale, mood, and perhaps help them with their healing process. Besides, being the way I am, the jokester in me, I always end up making people laugh in those tough situations and later, they would come up to me and tell me how much they appreciated my visit. Once I understood how important those visits could be for people, I have never missed a hospital visit when someone I know is hospitalized.
I struggled for a long time with this hospital matter. I had to realize I was conflicted about my intentions, what I wanted and what I did or did not do. Then, I realized I had to think of others now and then, and I had to stop putting myself at the center of everything. When someone you care about is sick, you must be there for them because their dire situation isn’t about you. I had to put my ego aside. I had to yank it out of the equation. Selfishness had to stop.
I learned that the hard way. By not going to see a few people, I altered my relationships with them forever. I must live with that. I know I must find a way to make peace with my lack of support towards those I care about. It hasn’t been easy to live with, but such is life. Part of growing up is being accountable for our actions. One must own their actions and live with the consequences.
Finally, I am also conflicted because we live in a world where we want to be perceived as being good, decent, and loving people. Who doesn’t want to be loved and appreciated? We all do, to various degrees, of course. The only unfortunate thing with that argument is that no one can ever be loved by everyone or have a unanimous accepted opinion. That will never happen. So, one must find a way to live with not seeking to be liked by everyone. That is another conflict I have thankfully managed well.
I am often conflicted. It’s been hard. Nonetheless, I have learned this natural conflict that lives in my heart and mind will never go away. I will always be conflicted. I will have to learn. I will have to improve. I will have to be a better man. I must find a way to be better otherwise, what type of man would I be?
Being conflicted, for lack of a better word, is good. Yet, one must admit that when one is always conflicted, then that is a problem. I have some values that will never change no matter what, at least, I hope. And then, there are some values that have changed along the years, either completely or partially. Constant and permanent inner conflict is hell, and one must find a way to get out of it. How? I am sorry boys and girls, there are some therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists who have profoundly better answers to those questions than me. I am a simple writer, and sometimes I can only ask questions. Sometimes the answers aren’t easy to find at all.
I wish you good fortune and Godspeed when you are going through your journey. Do not fear inner conflict. It is healthy, in the right dosage.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!