Uncovering the Icebergs That Get in Your Way
Have you ever been faced with a fantastic opportunity, yet you struggle with feeling like something is holding you back or just isn’t quite right? This cognitive dissonance or doublethink is often due to what we call ‘icebergs’ or, in other words, hidden and deeply held beliefs that conflict with your actions or circumstances. When we are faced with conflicts like these, they can profoundly affect the health of ourselves, others, our careers, relationships, or any other causality that might get in the way.
When we run into these core beliefs or values, we must take steps to work around or resolve them in order to walk forward freely. There are five key steps that you should take if you find yourself in one of these situations.
1. Identify where you are stuck.
This identification is the first thing that you need to do to understand where the problem is coming from and what beliefs or values are conflicting. For example, say you want to spend Christmas at your new house with your husband as newlyweds. However, you also feel like you are a bad daughter if you don’t go home for Christmas, or perhaps it is something else entirely. Whatever the conflict may be, you cannot correct it until you have identified it.
2. Clarify the main issue and the emotions associated with it.
Really try to understand what internal conflict is raging inside of you and what emotions are connected to it. Perhaps you are excited about spending Christmas in your own home for the first time but are also overwhelmed by guilt. Consider what emotions are being associated with your iceberg.
3. Get to the ‘why.’
Once you have clarified what you are feeling, ask yourself from where that feeling comes. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Why is it affecting you so much? Is it because your mom keeps calling you and telling you how excited she is to have you home for the Holidays? Or perhaps you remember how upset your parents were when you sister didn’t come home for Christmas a few years back. Whatever the cause, understand the why behind it.
4. Ask questions to get to the heart of the issue.
Continue to drill down on concepts such as “what is the worst part of this situation?”, “do I believe it will change people’s opinion of me?”, “what if the worst happened? How would I handle that?”
5. Decide whether to keep your iceberg or to let it go.
After you have taken the time to assess how you feel about the situation, decide whether you need to hold onto that core belief or let it go. Sometimes we are holding onto beliefs that really are not necessary. Other times we run into real conflicts of interest, and we need to figure out what is more important. Sometimes this takes compromising and editing to find the perfect fit. With the scenario given, this might mean that you decide you should have dinner with your family on Christmas Eve, but that it is okay to spend Christmas day with as newlyweds. You shouldn’t feel guilty about that decision. To overcome the conflict that can arise from contradicting beliefs or values you must either accept, deny, or edited them to fit the life that you are trying to cultivate.