Overwhelm comes in different forms, ranging from too many items on your list to numerous stressful events happening at the same time. Contradictory messages and explanations can often lead to a feeling of overwhelm no matter how seasoned or prepared you are.

Here are some scenarios that can cause dissonance for us in subtle and obvious ways.

  • Differing perspectives – You completed a presentation and one person says you did great; another says it was awful.
  • Varied interpretations – A test result read by one practitioner indicates your forward movement is stagnant, and another says you’ve improved by 50%.
  • Mixed messages – A parent tells a child, “I love you,” and then turns around and says, “Why can’t you do anything right?”
  • External versus internal reference – You know in your heart of hearts that something is possible, but those around you say it will never work.
  • Inner conflict – You want to take steps towards your goal or dream, and one part of you is urging you on while another parts says – it will never work, why bother, give up.
  • Hypocrisy – When someone says they value something but acts in ways that are contrary to that value. For instance, if freedom is the value, you see ways the person takes away choices and options for others.

These examples illustrate a range of situations that can leave us wondering which direction to turn, feeling like we are going in circles, caught in a maze, or hopeless to find a direction forward.

Useful strategies that provide clarity when you experience a sense of overwhelm created by inner or outer conflict include:

  • Differing perspectives – Understand that feedback comes through the filters of the person giving it. What are the common elements? What can you learn from the feedback? Is there truth for you in both perspectives? Then, decide which aspects of the feedback resonate for you and adjust accordingly. Put the rest on the back burner.
  • Varied interpretations – This is another variation of differing perspectives, although it is based on more objective data than perception feedback. I’d suggest that the approach to reducing the overwhelm of interpretation feedback is to add another opinion, either your own or that of another expert. You can also look at areas of commonality, ask for further clarification, and focus on what makes the most sense to you.
  • Mixed messages – Mixed messages received at an early age can lead to inner conflict, leading us to become an expert at creating double binds, self-sabotage, and defining ourselves based on the opinions of others (external reference). To unwind mixed messages, the strategy that I would recommend is transformational work.
  • Hypocrisy – Holding a mirror up to the other person and highlighting what they cannot see would be helpful; however, shifting another person’s reality is not straightforward. This is an instance where taking a deep breath and walking away may be the best strategy.

Other examples of the chaos and overwhelm created by contradictions can be found in this blog – Insights – In-Consistent.

If you need support in working through the causes of overwhelm caused by contradiction, look at the options for the transformational support that I offer – Find the Pathway to the Truth of Who You Are.

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