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How Inner Conflict Impedes Higher Potentials

The age-old adage, “you are your own worst enemy,” may be truer than you think. Studies show that inner conflict poses a risk to self-esteem and mood. One such study, published in The Journal of Self and Identity, monitored inner turmoil caused during a problem-solving exercise in which college students had to provide an example of a time when their own personal needs conflicted with the needs of a loved one. The outcome concluded that high levels of self-compassion and internal forgiveness decreased stress and improved overall well-being.

What is Inner Conflict

Inner conflict is defined as a struggle caused by mental opposition to a current activity, need, or demand. It occurs when one must decide something in which the outcome isn’t necessarily positive, and there are internal conflicting opinions as the individual deduces the best course of action.

Inner conflict occurs for many reasons, including personal, professional, and emotional. Here, we’re going to focus on emotional and relationship-based conflict. Some research suggests that there are four themes in inner conflicts that arise based on relationship issues, which are:

  1. Expression
  2. Self-worth
  3. Emotional freedom
  4. Acceptance

Let’s take a closer look at each and what they mean.


Expression is the act of letting your opinion be heard, whether it will be met with positivity or not. Self-expression can be made in many ways, but one of the most common is simply speaking your mind. Many adults feel the need to suppress their opinions, fearing that they will be deemed socially unacceptable, embarrassing, or negatively received. Expression allows you to free these internal musings, no matter the consequences.


It’s difficult to evaluate ourselves because the world around us is so chaotic and judgemental. Your self-worth should be determined by internal factors only, including how you feel about yourself and what you’re feeling emotionally inside.

Emotional Freedom

This is hinting at the concept of being emotionally free and not relying on external triggers to regulate mood and emotion. We have a tendency, as humans, to allow our moods to be managed by the people around us. We feel sad, happy, angry, embarrassed, and so on because other people in our life make us feel this way. Emotional freedom is the concept that you, and only you, can control the way you feel emotionally.


Finally, acceptance involves the ability to truly be yourself in the moment, despite what others say or feel. Accepting who you are, how you feel, what you want, and what makes you happy.

When these four themes are missing or being mismanaged, inner conflict reigns.

How Inner Conflict is Causing You to Miss Out

Finding an equilibrium in conscience and consciousness is important. Without it, you could miss out on amazing things in your relationship. Reasons dealing with inner conflict early is so important include:

Inner Conflict Causes Stress

There’s nothing more strenuous than arguing with one’s self. Inner conflict is a great incentive for stress and anxiety. This, of course, can create physical symptoms, causing you to miss work, social gatherings, or stop participating in a romantic relationship.

Inner Conflict Instills a Poor Sense of Self

Your inner conflict could be causing you to feel poorly about yourself without realizing it. We form many beliefs subconsciously as children. When we’re young, the things we experience are viewed as a direct reflection of who we are as a person. Whether this is something happening to us that we can’t control or an action we committed that has stuck with us internally. That inner conflict can detract from your level of self-worth and impede your life in a variety of ways.

Inner Conflict Follows You Everywhere

Since inner conflict resides inside a person, there’s no escaping it unless you face it head-on. So, you’re toting around all these feelings of inadequacy and anxiety without needing to. Dealing with inner conflict early is an important factor in successfully improving your life and relationships.

You can deal with inner conflict by employing skills such as mindfulness, conflict resolution, and intrinsic motivation into your life.

The Importance of Conflict Resolution

Resolving inner conflict is important to foster lasting relationships and encourage a positive self-image.

Interested in learning more about inner conflict and how you can defeat these negative life components to reach your greatest potential? Our Ascenting to Your Highest Potential Program helps you improve your personal and professional life. Contact us for more information today.

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