“He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.” ~Abraham Lincoln.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a raging war inside me between the terrible twins within—head vs. heart. That is wrong and this is right. This will work out for the best and that won’t. I can make this choice to change things but that one will keep things from changing.

Don’t we all experience the turmoil of our terrible twins within? And the wake of destruction their warring natures often leave behind? To reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable ‘enemies’ we have to understand their authors. The head and heart battle involves the different directions we get from their two different sources—our heads are filled with all the complex thinking activities (especially the wants) of our psychological consciences, while our hearts seem to be full of all the intuitive feelings (especially the soul’s needs) of our simple yes-no moral consciences.

One can only assume that we learn all the content of our psychological consciences as we go, while the content of our moral consciences involves remembering the wisdom of enduring realities and truths, before we contaminate them by putting our own personal brainprint spin on them. But this is an assumption we have to validate ourselves from proof-positive type life experiences before we can begin to see their mutual purpose—reconciliation into single-mindedness and the abundance that follows.

Long ago I discovered the wisdom of learning some positive purpose to the adversity of uncomfortable negative events. It would have been nice to know this beforehand, but it was my own difficult learning curve—like listening to your heart over your head and ending up getting burned like in an intimate relationship or career choice gone south, or like giving your head more airtime over your heart on some critical choice and ending up with an unsatisfied longing deep inside. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, or so it seems.

The most difficult part of life is trying to deal with the catch-22 nature of adversity and problem-solving with the curve balls that are thrown our way. You have to muster up the strength of character that is needed before you have enough of it to turn the curse of adversity into its intended gift status. And you have to make the right choice before you are able to get the right results which is the only alignment that achieves complete satisfaction without the ‘what-if’ nagging, incompleteness that lingers with wrong choices and wrong results.

What is the resolution to this dreadful dilemma? Reconciliation—and the wholeness that it finally brings—requires great patience and understanding. But here again, you are in a catch-22 situation. You have to have enough patience beforehand to begin to see the purpose of the head and heart war going on between the terrible twins within. We can only know the real truths until we experience their opposites—the untruths. And because we have the affliction of too much pride, that can take quite some time and requires much patience that we don’t have.

One “untruth” is worth a side trip here. Thoughts aren’t coming from the mind and psychological conscience whereas feelings are flowing from the heart and moral conscience; they both make up the psychological conscience. And the head vs. heart false dichotomy itself may be responsible for the continuing war. The real battle is more between the thinking and feeling wants of the head and heart and the needs and wisdom of the soul. Or more simply put: Ego pride, judgment, knowing and unfocused doing vs. soulful love, obedience, acceptance and focused being.

The only way I have ever begun to resolve this internal battle of which to believe most—my head, heart and psychological conscience or my soul and moral conscience—is to give them equal airtime to find out which does in fact know best. At this point in my own journey, I know that remembering something important and following that direction is getting better results. I seem to be trading the pain of failure for the pleasure of success. But if it weren’t for the pain of all the past bruises, broken bones, bumps and bleeding along the way, the success wouldn’t taste as sweet and satisfying. Both serve a positive purpose.

Where are you in reconciling these terrible twins within? Wherever you are in your own journey between turmoil and peace, you are headed towards the Land of Simple whether you know it or not. Patience, with love, understanding and hope, will let you remember that reality. So will a little charity in sharing what you have remembered and helping others.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers). This article is an excerpt from an upcoming book Reality Repair Rx. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net