To polarize is to divide into sharply opposing groups or sides. We sometimes see polarization as a problem, for example in politics. People have opposing views in the areas of gun control, abortion, gay marriage, and health care. The polarity that we see is not a problem once you understand that polarity is life on earth.

There is no up without down, no females without males, and no black without white. Life itself is polarity since there is no life without death. The myth is that we can somehow rid ourselves of our perceived negatives and only experience the positive. As long as you have a body and are living on this planet this will not happen.

We are polarized, both with other people and within ourselves. We think that we can shout down the other side or blow it up, or kill it, or argue it away. This false belief becomes the rationale for violence, war, and mistreatment of others. Internally, we declare war on ourselves, rejecting the parts of ourselves that we don't like, and causing ourselves to suffer from resistance to our own perceived flaws. Next we find ourselves projecting our guilt on others, hoping that will let us off the hook.

We demonize those who oppose us and deify our own point of view. The result is that the other side, rather than becoming weaker, becomes stronger. Except in the case of war where one side is eradicated by the other, the conflict continues. Where one side completely dominates the other, there are long lasting effects (Examples: A thousand years of unrest following the Crusades; hundreds of years of conflicts following Colonialism) Force leads to counter-force. Using force to eliminate polarity always has a cost.

If force isn't the answer, what is? The answer begins with acceptance. Acceptance doesn't mean agreement or support. It means that you accept the polar opposite. If you have a part of you that lacks confidence, accept it. Don't condemn yourself for it. It prevents you from accomplishing your goals, yet accept it. How does it make you feel? Accept your emotions, too. As long as you are resisting this inner lack, you are keeping it strong. What you resist will persist. For example, having a lack of confidence is painful, and resisting it creates suffering. You suffer when you resist.

Lack of confidence is not real. Darkness is not a thing. It is a lack of light, but you can't make the darkness go away. No matter how angry you get, you still have not enough light. So find a source of light and shine it. Likewise, find a source of confidence and build on it. Accept your fears, and celebrate confidence whenever it shows up. Notice what reinforces your confidence and repeat it. This is true of any area of self development. Build on your strengths, because beating yourself up for weakness only makes you weaker.

You cannot appreciate confidence if you have never felt fear. So feel the fear and feel it without telling yourself it's wrong. It isn't wrong; it just is. Then feel the confidence and tell yourself this is who you are deciding to be.

When we find ourselves polarized with others, it is the same. Accept the other side. Don't condemn or make them wrong. Don't think you are better than them for what you believe. Seek to understand their view. In terms of your view, express your passion and your vision. Include the other side in your vision. How will they benefit? For example, if you are anti abortion, you aren't going to convince anyone to join you by condemning them. It would be better to become pro-life. What does pro-life mean? Does that extend beyond the womb? Hating pro choice people is not really pro-life. Hating anyone is anti-life.

I have used the pro-life side of the debate as an example, and it applies to any disagreement. If you are pro-choice, then you would do well not to criticize pro-life people. Be instead, pro-choice. What does pro-choice mean? Where does responsibility along with freedom come in to play?
In other words, whatever side you relate to, have a conversation. Accept, understand, and offer your vision. Look for areas of agreement. Find ways to integrate each others' views into a combined solution. You cannot get rid of the other point of view, but you can shine your light. If your light is bright enough and inclusive enough, you will make progress.

Our current inability to understand and accept polarity in the world reflects our inability to accept polarity within ourselves. As we come to peace with ourselves, resolving inner conflict, we become capable of coming to peace with others. Anyone who activates negative emotion in you is just a mirror, reflecting back to you unresolved issues. Ask yourself who you are being when you feel that anger or pain, and accept it without judgment. What you feel and who you are being are created by you. Accept the truth that you create your own experience, not anyone else.

Imagine then, who you want to be. What would that feel like? When you change who you are being in a conflict, you give others someone different to relate to. You build influence. Since you are the creator of all of your experiences, what experience would you like to have? With polarity, you have a whole spectrum of choices. With awareness and acceptance of your opposing sides, you develop your ability to resolve conflicts and consciously choose your experience.

Author's Bio: 

William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of four books, including Adults at Work: How Individuals and Organizations Can Grow Up. Bill's new workshop is entitled: For Adults Only: Creating a Workplace Where Everyone Functions as an Adult. This workshop is presented to the public, within organizations, and at conferences. For information and purchase of Bill's books and workshops, go to: http://adults-at