There is a simple word that explains exactly how I feel a lot of the time lately. The word is AMBIVALENT. The dictionary describes it thus…’simultaneous existence of two conflicting desires, opinions etc.’.
For me, ambivalence means confusion, frustration and often despair, because I’m caught in the middle of me, where I can’t make up my mind what exactly I want. And when I do feel certain and decide that yes, this is the way forward, another part of my personality enters to talk me out of it. So annoying!
These are the type of thoughts associated with ambivalence….
* I want this, but will I really be better off there?
*I don’t want this relationship, but is there anything better out there for me?
*I want to go out to work, but will I be able to cope with the added pressures?
*I want to lose weight, but can I really be bothered at my age?
*I want to be healthy, but this life is so hard do I really want to be alive?
*I want to be successful, but will I still retain my freedom to do what I want?
Ambivalence has such a lot of power, as it stops us moving forward, making changes, and accepting who we. It is associated to our ego, which can fool us and lie, but the ambivalent desires are real. They hurt and confuse. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, ambivalence makes things a lot harder for us than need be!
This is a time when we need to be working toward clearing our minds and hearts, and dumping any unwanted baggage from our lives. But how can we be selective when we can’t make up our mind? How can we choose which road to walk, when we can see the benefits and pitfalls of alternatives, and there are payoffs for staying where we are and also moving on?
What makes it worse, is that when we’ve got the dreaded ambivalence, the more we think about our situation and try to work it out logically, the more we can see. Thus the more confused we become! We’re in a state of awareness that allows us to see what we’ve not seen before, or what we’ve tried to ignore. Ambivalence logic makes our pain reduce, not in reality, but in our mind. Ambivalence makes us believe an easy fix will appear and sort things out for us, which sometimes does happen, but often does not! Ambivalence can wear us down by causing so much confusion and self-doubt, that sends us running back to our comfort zone because we need to rest, where we end up repeating negative cycles over and over again!
We usually experience ambivalence when we’re contemplating making changes in our life. And in my own experience ambivalence arises at the action stage, meaning the thinking and decision-making stages have already been surpassed. Now it’s time to walk the walk – and that’s definitely the hard part isn’t it?
So in reality, ambivalence is just fear isn’t it? Fear of change. Fear of losing what we’ve got! Fear of making a huge mistake! Fear of hurting those we love! But if the time is right to make a decision, which will reduce the ambivalent state, then what can we do? As if we’re not sure which road to take, how do we know we will be okay? How do we know this is the right thing for us? How do we know that this, is better than that?
The simple truth is that we won’t know anything unless, and until we try it! We won’t know if there is a better partner for us! We won’t know if we’ll feel better about life! We won’t know how much we can cope with! We won’t know anything unless we let ourselves travel into that experience, in order to discover the benefits and pitfalls of that state!
So I guess the real answer to the ambivalence problem is to become aware that your confusion is caused by ambivalence. Then decide which course of action you are avoiding because it is in new, unchartered territory, and which course of action leads you back to your comfort zone. Then you can make the decision of how you want to proceed with your future. Do you want things to stay as they are, or do you want things to change?
I don’t know about you, but I definitely want things to change. Now what should I do next…if only I could make up my mind!!