The Paradox of Human Nature: Why We Are All Walking Contradictions
Use Them to Your Advantage!
“Where there is everything people do nothing and where there is absolutely nothing people do everything. It’s never the availability of resources but of creative minds and people’s life philosophy.” — Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
We are a contradictory species.
We can achieve great things with kindness and love, but we can also commit terrible acts. We can create beautiful art to stand the test of time and cause unimaginable suffering.
We are walking contradictions.
Part of what makes us so contradictory is that we are constantly changing.
We are not the people we were a year ago or even yesterday. We are always in flux and evolving.
Our actions in the past do not reflect our efforts in the present or future. This is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because it means we have the potential to change for the better. It’s bad because it means we also have the potential to change for the worse.
One of the things that makes us so contradictory is our capacity for self-deception.
We often deceive ourselves about our true motivations and intentions. We tell ourselves that we’re doing something for one reason, but in reality, we’re doing it for another.
We act daily in ways that contradict our stated values and beliefs.
We say one thing but do another. We make plans that we never follow through on. We want one thing but end up doing something else.
What is a Contradiction?
A contradiction is two things that are opposed to each other.
In other words, they are mutually exclusive. For example, if you want to be healthy but then smoke cigarettes.
The term “walking contradiction” describes someone who says one thing but does another. They may claim to believe in something but then act in a way that contradicts it. For example, someone might say they believe in non-violence but then get into a fistfight. Or someone might say they want to lose weight but continue eating junk foods.
Walking contradictions are often unaware of their contradictions. They may sincerely believe that they are living up to their values and beliefs when in reality, they are not.
The Many Faces of Contradictions
We can find contradictions in many aspects of our lives, including how we perceive nature. The seasons are a good example. Winter is a time of cold, darkness, and stillness. But it is also a time of new beginnings, hope, and possibility.
In our personal lives, we experience contradictions all the time;
We may want to lose weight but find it hard to stick to a diet.
We may want to quit smoking but see ourselves lighting up again and again.
We may tell ourselves that we’re going to start exercising more, but then we never seem to get around to it.
We want to be independent and also a part of a group.
We want autonomy over our decisions, but we also want someone else’s advice.
We sometimes feel like life is meaningless, and other times, we see meaning everywhere.
We often crave connection with others but also need time alone.
We want to be successful but find it hard to take risks.
We want to be true to ourselves but also try to live up to the expectations of others.
Do you see? Have you identified yourself in these? This isn’t a bad thing.
Contradictions are not something to be ashamed of or to try to hide. They are a part of being human.
Living without them would be a less prosperous, textured, and exciting life.
Don´t you think?
Let us embrace our contradictions and use them to become more aware, conscious, and alive. Contradictions can be a sign of growth.
They can help you try new things and push you out of your comfort zones. They can also be a sign of resilience, of being able to pick ourselves up and try again after we’ve been knocked down.
The key is to be aware of the contradiction and to make a conscious effort to change it. If we don’t, it will continue to control our lives without us realizing it.
How to Use Contradictions to Our Benefit
To use contradictions effectively, you must first understand what they are and how they work. Once you have a good grasp on that, you can start to look for ways to use them to your advantage.
There are two main ways to use contradictions:
1.-To challenge your assumptions: By understanding that we all have contradictions, we can start to question our assumptions about ourselves and others.
Why do we believe what we believe? What motivates us to act in the way that we do?
Stop and think about the last time you were in a situation where you felt uncomfortable or out of place.
What were the thoughts running through your head? What did you assume about the people around you? Chances are, at least some of your assumptions were based on contradictions.
By recognizing that we all have contradictions, we can start to question our assumptions and become more open-minded.
2.-To create change: If we want to change our behavior, we must first understand our contradictions.
Are there any areas of your life where you feel like you’re not living up to your values? Once you identify these areas, you can start to make changes. There are different change techniques; find the one that works best for you.
What is a Paradox?
A paradox is a statement that, upon first glance, appears to be absurd or self-contradictory but may be well-founded or accurate.
The word “paradox” comes from the Greek word “para,” meaning “against,” and “doxa,” meaning “opinion.” A paradox, then, is an opinion that goes against another idea. For example, “All creatures are equal; yet some are more equal than others.” This phrase was coined by the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. This statement is a problem because something cannot be more equal to another. That goes against the meaning of equality.
In literature, a paradox is often used to make a point or to show that two seemingly contradictory ideas can coexist. For example, “I like change and routine.” This is a contradiction because change and routine are two opposite things. But it’s also true that many people like both change and routine in their lives.
The Paradox of Human Nature
We are multifaceted beings. We are constantly changing and evolving, and this contradiction is at the heart of what it means to be human.
We are social creatures who long for connection, but we are also individual beings with unique needs and desires. We often crave connection with others but also need time alone.
We have a dark side and a side of light. We can do both good and bad things. We are capable of love and hate, kindness and cruelty. We can find the good and the bad in the good.
We can be kind and compassionate but also strong and assertive when we need to be. We can be sensitive and emotional but also rational and logical.
When we embrace all sides of this contradiction, we can find a balance that works for us. We can connect with others without losing ourselves in the process. We can be independent and autonomous while still being part of a group. We can have meaningful conversations about life’s big questions while also enjoying the simple things in life.
This paradox can create a lot of conflict and confusion in our lives. But it can also be a source of strength and resilience.
We are walking contradictions, and this is what makes us human.
“The terrifying dilemma of humankind is to be aware of the magnificent gifts of our unique consciousness, which allows us to live a heightened state of existence while contemporaneously bedeviled with the knowledge that we must die.” — Kilroy J. Oldster
Understanding our contradictions is key to becoming the best version of ourselves. It allows us to question our assumptions, create change, and ultimately live more fulfilling lives.
So the next time you find yourself in a contradiction, embrace it and use it to your advantage.
What are some of the contradictions that you see in yourself? How do you use them to challenge your assumptions or create change in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
© Alejandro Betancourt, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
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