The Judge, the Diva and the Taskmaster - the impact of inner conflict on creative work

by Hansrainer

Hello jungle people,

this is Hansrainer with a little article on the inner conflicts that block us from doing what we think we actually want or think we should actually want to do. I have been struggling with creating in quite a while - and I know that this struggle is not uncommon. Creation and creativity take time and energy - and in a busy life balancing family, job, pet and the increasing need to take care of ones health as the years pass - those seem to become more and more sparse ressources.

Last year I realized, that I had really let my health slide in dramatic ways and that I needed to focus on that, because frankly the issues that came with being overweight and the complete lack of exercise started to catch up and affect pretty much every aspect of my life: Family, work and not the least: painting, writing etc. in other words: creating.

Now, I could just spew a few platitudes like "healthy mind - healthy body" or vice versa and so on, but that is common knowledge and stating the obvious is rarely helpful. Instead I will try to share some of the more detailed and intricate insights I gained during the last years, that helped me get at least on the way to this better place. One of the major reasons why I stopped creating more or less completely, unless I was partaking in a painting class or other event like the MV family gathering in June, is that I felt/feel like I don't have the time or energy to do so.

In the last year, I changed Jobs, worked on my eating habits and lost a considerable amount of weight. I also started to get into the habit of meditation and going to the gym quite regularly. In order to do so and keep it up (to a certain degree - we all fail again and again...) I had to learn a lot about creating, forming and maintaining habits as well as breaking others. I also had to learn to become more aware or conscious about how I feel in a given moment, in the beginning to just understand when and why I want to eat, but also to understand what I can do to stick with things, which thoughts allow me to slack off and which thoughts and situations make it easier to stick with the new routine and so on.

This gets me to the core of thoughts for today:

One of the very first things I put my mind to, was to understand why I find/make the time for certain activities and not others, to identify the factors:

1. Priorities: I realized, that the usual "I don't have the time to..." argument is in and by itself rather pointless: Other people with jobs and children work out too, other people with busy lives find the time not only to paint but to actually thrive artistically and create wonderful pieces in amazing quality with impressive regularity. The reason why some people chose to spend their time one way and not another is conflicting priorities: It seems I'd much rather sit on my butt watching reels on FB instead of sitting at my laptop and write an article. I'd rather spend time with my son instead of painting my next bust.See what I did here? Putting a seemingly bad and an obvious good choice right next to each other? That lead me to

2. Choices: and accepting the result: From dealing with my aging mom and raising my young son I learned: You always have a choice what to do. Common logic dictates that making the choice is hard. But it is not. The hard part is learning to accept the consequences of the choices we make and that wishes are most often the desire to get to the outcome of a choice without having to endure the consequences. Fighting the inner fight and enduring the struggle between the wishes you have and the acceptance of the price and inner negotiations to get around that can take up a lot of time and energy. And very easily we are prone to skipping lanes completely and jump into avoidance behaviours so we can ignore and suppress the open:

3. Inner conflict: Once we understand and accept, that being unhappy is the result of an inner conflict, we can start working towards mediating and solving it. Because ultimately all these struggles are conflicts for ressources, two (or more) parts of yourself are struggling with each other for limited ressources: Time, Attention, Energy. If you can identify the parts of you that are conflicting and their goals, you can literally start to mediate and mollify them - but before that gets to abstract, let me try to give an example:

Situation: Its sunday morning and I know I should be writing a blog post for MV. But...


There are several reasons, why I think I should be doing this (Consider: Thoughts are just thoughts and neither facts nor the truth) :

    • One part of me likes to expose myself to the public and let the world partake in my insights (and a vain part of me hopes for acclamation and positive feedback to confirm my self-image of being smart and thoughtful). This is the same part that also drives me to publish pictures of my models on social media, where they are tied to my Name instead of just showing the anonymously at shows etc. Lets call it the Diva.
    • Another part of me thinks that writing down my thoughts on this subject will help me to structure and clarify them for myself and my own development. Thats the part that knows that applying my own intellect to my problems can help me overcome them and feel better tomorrow. Lets call it the Analyst.
    • Yet nother part of me thinks: Hey, these thoughts might be valuable to others, haven't read anything similar in this context, so lets share it and may it can help others on their way. That's the Teacher in me.
    • Yet another part remembers, that I promised to write an article for MV until next week and is committed to get it done. This is the part the exerts the most pressure overall to sit down NOW and do it. "don't be unreliable!", "stick with your commitments to others!" - lets call it the Taskmaster.

And now come the reasons why chose to sit another hour at my cell and watch FB-Reels instead of working on the article:

    • There is a part in me that is afraid, that writing the article will take too much time and I will not be able to fullfil other at least equally important commitments and so its better if I don't even start. This guy is the Hesitant.
    • Another part of me is worried that no-one is in the least interested to read this and it is a big waste of time anyways. And also everyone else on the team has better articles and more reasons to publish than I do - given that I am a mediocre painter at best and have no credentials to make my other thoughts worth of attention. Lets call it the Judge.
    • And last but definitely not least is the part that doesn't want to be told what to do! After all its MY time and I don't want to clean up my room - err, do my homework, ahm I mean write that article. It's a rather petulant Boy - I guess he is around 9 years old.


Well, at the first glimpse this looks like I could have a multiple personality disorder, but of course, that's not the case. The idea of an inner multitude is actually part of many schools of psychotherapy and is a common model used to explain and resolve inner conflicts (yeah, I had to read up on that ;) ). All in all, what we do have is quite a conflict thats raging in me and as it often happens, an ongoing conflict paralyses pretty much everyone involved: In my case thats my creative parts (Diva, Teacher, Taskmaster) as well as my analytical parts (Hesitant, Analyst and Judge) and even the more laid back Boy (which lets me enjoy Ice cream usually or just cuddling with my dog etc). BUT - now that I thought it through, I (the Adult-Me) can actually step in and start mediating the conflict:


I tell the Hesitant, that while this might be true, getting something done, even something less important but maybe more urgent frees up ressources later for the important stuff. Staying in the struggle only makes the overall situation worse.

The Judge can grudgingly accept, that after all I don't JUST do this for the Diva - and even if the Diva doesn't get, what the Diva wants, the Analyst and maybe the Teacher still get to profit. In other words: If I do it for me, its worth doing it.

I embrace the Boy and tell him that the Taskmaster doesn't just command him around for the sake of it. There will be benefits later - and hey, we might go and get some icecream when it's done.

Thusly I can restore balance between my inner critics and drivers. (By the way, the different actors take different roles in different contests and their individual strength seems to vary by the day). And that creates:

4. Resolution:

Today the resolution was, that this article has been written. On other days the resolution is that stuff is not being done. Sometimes the Judge wins and sometimes the Boy wants what he wants and the Taskmaster may be fine with it. The more important part is that the resolution restores my inner peace for the time being. I can be at ease and really accept the consequence of my choice. Because it has been deliberated and the conflict is transparent and resolved to me.

I think oftentimes the struggle to get going on a project or "just doing it" is a short, sometimes forced version of solving similar conflicts and when we try to "Discipline" or "Motivate" THROUGH it, it's like slogging through mud while the inner conflict rages in the background. For me solving it either way saves energy and makes it easier to do things - or to honestly enjoy the junk time if I take it. And of course, this is an ongoing development. Sometimes I succeed at visiualizing and resolving and sometimes I need my wife or my friends to point out that there is an inner conflict at all.

Soooo - what could you take home from this?


1. Blocks and Stagnation are often the results of unresolved inner conflicts of priority. If they were resolved there wouldn't be a block - we would just elect to not pursue the topic for now or just do it.

2. The causes and agency of inner conflicts are often not transparent on first sight. Sometimes we do not even realise the existence of the conflict.

3. Our personality can be (and is often) represented by a multitude of parts. Going into the details and specifica of this is unfortunately far beyond the scope of this article - I can provide some pointers into academic reading (or at least starting points) on the topic - but unfortunately solely in German - hit me at the mail adress given below. Suffice to say: Usually these aspects are a natural part of the psychological development of a human and usually serve to protect and guide us in unclear environments (much like biases, prejudices) or (more often) did so in the past. For example my Judge is a representation of how I perceived my mom when I was around the age 9-11. Its function was to avoid conflicts with her by preemptively anticipating conflict topics and preventing me from disappointment by lowering expectations. Naturally the attempt of a 9 year old trying to avoid negative feedback from his parents isn't necessarily a helpful way for a 45 year old professional to deal with the world... :D


Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or mental health professional. The following is not recommended as method for self-therapy. If you know of or consider being affected by a mental health condition, please see a professional mental health specialist.

Next time you face a struggle of avoidance, try to take a quiet minute with yourself. Try to determine if you feel an inner conflict. Verbalize it (write it down, talk to yourself, whatever works for you). Sometimes this can already be enough to make it transparent and make a more conscious decision. Accept this choice and the consequences - it often helps to verbalize this as well:

e.g."I don't want to paint now, because I prefer the immediate positive feedback from playing a game. I am fine/happy with the fact that my project X is not moving forward/is delayed."

If this not sufficient to feel more at peace, you might try to feel the emotions tied to the struggle: Fear, Anger, Anxiety or whatever else. Imagine the parts of yourself that feel these emotions. Verbalize acknowledgement of the struggle and conflict and engage in a discussion solution. Sometimes you might just need to comfort your inner child...


This is a tool I found and use. I hope it might be interesting to explore for some of you struggling with similar issues.

Initially I thought, this would be a one-off article on how I try to get back to create more (and I already changed other things) - but it seems this needs a bit more thinking and space to get through.

Here are some topics I'd like to adress in follow up articles:

  • Quality “me” time vs. junk time
  • Realistic expectations / time inventory
  • A little each day is lot better than a lot once a week

In the meantime, please feel invited to share your thoughts. I would be happy to hear any and all feedback and will gladly answer questions. Please drop them in the comments below – or contact me directly via Facebook or Email (Apokalypsetest - at - gmail - com).


There are 0 Kommentare for The Judge, the Diva and the Taskmaster - the impact of inner conflict on creative work

Post a Comment