Week 51: Contradictions and Balance

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Contradictions are a part of human existence. There are contradictions in every aspect of human life, including our own minds. Before you start to ‘contradict’ this idea, think about all the things that are in opposition to themselves in your life. We are always arm-wrestling with our inner contradictions.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself (I am large, I contain multitudes).

Walt Whitman, Poet

You want to become fitter but you can’t wake up early for that dream run. You want to write but you are terrified of being judged, petrified of that blank page. You love that cheesecake but you are lactose intolerant. You lack core stability but you can do sit-ups effortlessly. Humans are social animals but we also hold individual freedom in the highest esteem. There is a continuing tug-of-war between our personal desires and societal expectations. Very few things in life are black or white and we constantly reside in the grey.

Light cannot exist without darkness, there can be no truth without falsehood. Determination cannot exist without contradiction. I recently read that we write best first thing in the morning when our brains haven’t woken up. The advice was contradictory to everything I knew. By putting it into practice though, by pushing against this apparent contradiction, I have found much merit in it. Here is my formulation of the 3 A’s of contradiction — Acknowledge, Accept, and Apply.

Acknowledge

The first step is to acknowledge that we are always neck deep in contradictions all around us. Perhaps, it is more so for some and not so much for others but it certainly exists. Do not deny its existence.

Accept

Say yes to contradiction. Accept it willingly, without prejudice, and without judgement. That is the most positive step you can take towards bringing more positivity into one’s life. Embrace it.

Apply

By applying pressure against the apparent (and not so-apparent) contradictions, we become stronger. How does a Kung Fu Master learn how to break a stack of bricks? By applying force against the resistance. The body and mind resist. But only through application can one break through those bricks!

Two opposing ideas can co-exist, like the glass of water. It is half full and half empty at the same time. Growth thrives in the interstitial space between opposing forces. If you want to bring more balance into your life, use the 3 A’s of Contradiction. Reflect on your internal contradictions because these destabilising breaches are the key to unlocking your potential. So, what are your paradoxes?

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