Have you ever looked at yourself and realized how many times you get contradictory thoughts within a 24 hour time period? How many times you think about one thing and go ahead to do something else? How many of your principles have you been able to uphold in the face of pressure? The funny thing is, that is just the way we are wired. Contradictions are part of the inconsistent things humans are made up of, and it is something we all have to deal and live with. In a very real way, it’s part of what makes us all human. Simply put, people are full of contradictions.
Humans are wired to be able to compartmentalize the various parts of their lives so it’s easy to live with two different sides. Sometimes peacefully, at other times not so peacefully. We all tend to be able to manage our inconsistencies as we grow to one degree or another. Sometimes they are obvious, at other times they are suppressed. Contradictions in people are evident in so many areas, and it is funny how we push for one thing and unconsciously act directly opposite that, that we are pushing for. For instance, theft or stealing is considered a serious offense, but then a large percentage of us download movies and music illegally. A lot of people go on about how much of a private person they are, and these people are the first to share photos of their vacation and family gatherings on social media.
Think about this the next time you are whispering something about someone and you’ve always said how much you dislike people who gossip.
The famous American psychologist and one of the founders of the humanist approach in psychology Carl Rogers came up with the theory of congruence. He stated that the personality is like a triangle made up of the real self, the perceived self, and the ideal self. According to Rogers, when there is a good fit between all 3 components, and they are aligned, then that person has congruence. This is a healthy state of being and helps people continue to progress towards self-actualization. I tend to think of it as what you project externally is what you feel and think and hold true internally. Same inside as out.
Even as we work towards being the same outside as we are inside humans still have contradictions. The right use of contradictions could serve as a stepping stone to becoming whoever it is we want to be. Highlighted below are four important contradictions that can help any person edge close to perfection and become strong mentally.
- You may be vulnerable, but there is a strength somewhere within you
There is a salient fact about life, and that is the fact that being vulnerable is part of what makes life, life. One does not have to be uptight and always on-guard. Strength comes from weakness, and one moment you may be weak and the next you are waxing strong and breaking barriers. You may think to be strong and being vulnerable are mutually exclusive, but no, they are intertwined. People who tend to broadcast false bravado and overconfidence on an ongoing basis tend to not be that confident. This works the other way around as well.
- Life is fragile but precious
The saying life is short holds strongly here. As much as we all know this, another fact is that that shortness is the longest of life that we are ever going to experience and thus it should be valued. Once you realize this and are consciously reminded of the fact that life can fizzle out at any time, then you would stop bothering yourself with unnecessary things. You will begin to appreciate life and all that it has to offer even more.
People can be unpredictable and sometimes where you expect good, you may find the opposite. So also, in places where you least expect, you may find surprises. Those are the dynamics of human behavior. Hence, the reason why some people find it hard to trust people after a few disappointments and some people have also experienced positive surprises from people they did not expect. The bottom line is to be cautious and appreciate the people that can be truly depended on.
Back in my Kinko’s days I managed up to 65 people. This was in Las Vegas, a city know for people who kind of flow through and don’t really settle down there. My fellow managers and I used to say that we loved managing stores…..except for the people aspect. Why? Because people are so darn unpredictable!
- There is a limit to the things you can do, but your possibilities are quite unlimited
As a strong human being, you should know there are certain things you cannot do. You should know what you can do and cannot do. Do not delude yourself. Accept your limitations, give enough room for improvement, and go forth with all the world has to offer. Your strengths can help you achieve most things you want to but you have to be smart enough to USE them and not focus or worry too much about your weaknesses.
Examples Of Contradictory Behavior In Humans
Aggressive behavior is many times a reflection of feeling inferior and/or weak inside. This is done to overcompensate for a feeling of powerlessness and many times (in particular men) is show through aggressive behavior externally and displays of dominance. Think of a bully situation here.
Being sexually promiscuous many times covers up inner feelings of high levels of insecurity. So in order to feel more desired and to show a false display of power someone will have ongoing “conquests”. The vicious circle here is that the more times someone sleeps with other people it will reinforce the feelings of worthlessness.
Sometimes the funniest people are also the saddest. This is especially evident in professional comedians. They can be very good at making other people laugh while inside they are very dark and sad. Examples include Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, both of whom suffered from depression.
Bottom line is contradictory behavior in people is the norm, it’s part of what makes us human.
I’d love to hear you thoughts.
All my best,