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How to Resolve Conflicting Emotions with Emotional Intelligence

When we think of our relationships, we tend to think of connection, closeness, and love—at least that's what we long for!  So, if we all desire connection with other humans, particularly our loved ones, what gets in the way?

What we often overlook is that to create openness and closeness in our relationships, we need to love ourselves first—much harder than it sounds. Secondly, we need to remove the blocks to loving, which go hand-in-hand with healing. As Rumi has said, “Your task is not to seek and find love; your task is to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built.”

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Couple stopping to take photos of a beautiful scene

Contradictory Emotions Guide Us to Different Aspects of Ourselves

Contradictory emotions within ourselves and resolving differences between people are problematic in many friendships, marriages, and partnerships.

Finding peace with yourself is the first step.

Over decades of coaching clients, both personally and in business, I have found the real culprit that consistently presents itself. This one challenge creates many of the disagreements, cut-offs, and fights in relationships, and very few escape its grip. It fuels anger and prevents conflict resolution that could enhance the connection between people.

The French essayist Michel de Montaigne is quoted as saying,

"There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others."

One of the more difficult things about being human is the difference between us and ourselves. We must first connect with ourselves before we can have an authentic connection with others.

Recently in my coaching practice, I have repeatedly come up against partners blaming their partners for the VERY THING that they themselves are doing. This is the mirror, the story of 

Many conflicting feelings and thoughts can be churning within us at any given time. For instance, I’m truly happy for my friend who built her dream home—and I’m inspired to fulfill my own aspirations. However, depending on the day, I might also feel frustrated that we live in a boring, practical ranch house squished between other houses in a small town.

Finding inner peace in the midst of seemingly contradictory emotions can stump us.

The wind blowing a woman's hair around wildly representing the wind of unregulated emotions.

Don't be blown away by the emotional winds within yourself or the many challenges that might greet you!

Growing self-awareness, emotional mastery, and emotional intelligence requires tools and practice. Check out our downloadable emotional fitness online course.


Emotional Intelligence:  Listening to and Accepting All Parts of Ourselves

Listening and acting on our emotions is harder than most people expect. Another difficulty arises when our spouse or partner says and does something that appears to override an earlier statement or action.

I once worked with a long-time married couple from out of state. The husband agreed to attend a formal party and awards ceremony to honor his wife, who was receiving recognition. He told her how proud he was of her and that he couldn't wait to stand by her side and support her.

However, a few days later, as the couple was getting dressed for the banquet, he started bemoaning the fact that they had to go and saying how much he despised parties and social events. His wife interpreted his momentary feelings as evidence that he didn’t mean what he had said earlier in the week. The situation ignited a huge argument. But he truly meant what he had said earlier and as an introverted fellow, he also loathes socializing.

One feeling doesn’t invalidate the other; both can be true.

What I’ve found to be very liberating is accepting the entire stew of feelings and contradictions inside of us and observing without judgment.

For example, a past client of mine was making her husband wrong and resenting his travels and adventures. These feelings were tell-tale signs that she needed a break from a demanding job and yearned for the same kind of freedom. After we unpacked her feelings and discussed them together, she made plans for an extended vacation abroad with friends, which her husband fully supported.

One of the common pitfalls of navigating tough emotions is the tendency to blame or make someone else responsible for what we feel, like the woman above, was doing. Only YOU are responsible for your emotions and how your respond.

Listen to the wisdom of your emotions!

Related reading: "What Is Emotional Intelligence?"

Young upset girl on her phone who needs emotional intelligence.

Self-Acceptance Paves the Way to Compassion

When we truly accept all parts within us, we can better show up for ourselves and participate in life with more aliveness. When we listen to the “difference between us and ourselves,” we can learn to close the gap. Then, we can choose to love ourselves more compassionately where we are right now, while also holding the vision more resolutely for the person we want to become and the life we desire.

When we can confidently navigate and modulate our emotions, no matter how much they contradict one another, we are then free to seek to understand others with curiosity and compassion.

Related reading:  "Why You Should Care About Emotional Regulation?"

Learn to honor all of yourself and you will transform conflicting emotions and the inner critic to allies on your path of self-discovery.

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Jennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence CoachJennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence Coach
Jennifer is the Heartmanity founder and an emotional intelligence expert. She has two decades of EQ experience and is the author of emotional intelligence training and courses. As an emotional fitness coach, Jennifer teaches EQ skills, brain science hacks, and a comprehensive approach that gets results. She is happily married and the mother of three incredible grown children.

Posted in Emotional Intelligence & Fitness

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