The Teenage Pack of Contradictions: A Taste of Dichotomies

As teens, we seem to be pretty contradictory. We want independence, yet we need support. We are engrossed in each other’s lives, yet we are self-absorbed. We create drama, yet desire inner peace. We cry to show great sadness, yet we also cry in great happiness. We want to reach the destination, yet we don’t feel any better off when we get there. We are continuously changing the very definition of who we are, yet we keep a very steady personality. My list stops here, but life’s list goes on and on and on.

These conundrums provide very little stable ground for most of us teenagers, and often leave many teens with more questions than answers. What’s the meaning behind all of this? Does this make us hypocritical? Is there even such a thing as truth?

It simply means that we, as spiritual beings, recognize that black and white exist simultaneously rather than separately. We recognize that our contradictions, in whatever role they play in life, are a part of our grand dichotomy. In a January 25, 2013 blog post, Neale described such people who recognize their own dichotomies as “people who embrace the notion that two apparently opposing “truths” can exist simultaneously in the same space. They call this a ‘Divine Dichotomy.’ Dichotomists do not see things in Black and White, but in shades of both. They do not see polar opposites, but a continuum. Where others see a straight line with each end representing This or That, they see a circle where This and That is neither here nor there.” Instead of continuing to live in a dualistic and monochromatic society, we strive to understand that the ‘bigger picture’ is a bit more colorful.

Popular singer and spiritual songwriter Jason Mraz wrote about these contradictions in the song, “Life is Wonderful”. A mere few excerpt verses underline the real message of dichotomies:

It takes a night to make it dawn

And it takes a day to make you yawn, brother

 And it takes some old to make you young

 It takes some cold to know the sun

 It takes the one to have the other

 And it takes no time to fall in love

But it takes you years to know what love is

 And it takes some fears to make you trust

It takes those tears to make it rust

 It takes the dust to have it polished, yeah

 It is so meaningful

It is so wonderful

 It is so meaningful

It goes full circle

Instead of disregarding our contradictions, we should EMBRACE them. Further, we should LIVE and LOVE them. As Mraz penned, our non-dualism is what makes life meaningful and wonderful. Knowing that we can live multiple truths, instead of a single steadfast path, may be the most reassuring guidance for a teenager anyone can give. Understanding that we don’t have to choose one label is another page in our New Cultural Story. Don’t just be a Rebel or a Conformer, a Republican or a Democrat, a Fundamentalist or an Extremist, but be more than that single version. People are simply not one-dimensional beings, but rather, multi-dimensional. As a single truth simply cannot capture the entire essence of their being or experiences, we create an even broader definition of Who We Are.  

So yes, you can be detached from the outcomes and the reactions, yet still share the same warmth and empathy with your fellow spiritual beings. Yes, you can experience gain, yet still give more than you ever thought possible. And yes, you can be on your spiritual path, yet still be interwoven in the grand design of the universe. Living out your truths, no matter how contradictory, is the only thing that matters. Life is wonderful, after all.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at

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