MINDFULNESS AND AMBIVALENCE 

Ambivalence Means

Webster’s Mew World Dictionary defines ambivalence as “simultaneous conflicting feelings toward a person or thing, as love and hate”.  I noticed the concept at a very early age, before I knew the word existed. At first, I was curious and then I became concerned.

Accepting Conflicting Ideas

How is it possible to have conflicting ideas and be fine with it? It took years of growing up to learn that my intuitive childlike view of ambivalence was acceptable. Self-judgment was ok as long as it was accepted. Tara Brach’s (https://www.tarabrach.com.) Radial Acceptance (https://www.tarabrach.com/store/) is a wonderful book to read if you need to learn about accepting your ideas even if they are ambivalent.

Body and Mind

I’ve been involved in sports from an early age. My mom sent me to ballet school at the age of 4. I loved the physical exercise and working my body. I soon got involved in gymnastics, athletics, swimming, and team sports at school. I continued dance until my late twenties. I still run and walk long distance (10 K a day).

I needed to work my body, but also my mind. I began Yoga in my early twenties, Reiki, 15 years later, and Tai-chi about 3 years later. I currently practice Mindfulness. I’ve been involved in mindful living for many years, but only started my formal daily practice about 2 years ago.

Mindfulness and Ambivalence

Research seems to indicate that Mindfulness can have a positive effect on ambivalence. In a study called On the Attitudinal Consequences of Being Mindful: Links Between Mindfulness and Attitudinal Ambivalence conducted, the authors show that people who practice mindfulness benefit from ambivalence. The results of the study indicate a “strong potential of mindfulness in relation to how individuals evaluate stimuli in their social world” (p.450). Mindfulness paves the way to self and acceptance of people and ideas without having to stress over them. 

Reference

Haddock, J., Foad, C., Windsor-Shellard, B., Dummel, S., and Adarves-Yorno, I. (2017). On the attitudinal consequences of being mindful: Links between mindfulness and attitudinal ambivalence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(4), 439–452. 

 

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