Seen through a structural lens, dilemmas are designed to oscillate. They are structurally indeterminate and prone to perpetual pendulum swings. Problem solving makes a dilemma worse by playing one side off the other. Dilemmas tempt us to manipulate our motivations and justify our intentions. We try to make ourselves want something we really don't desire. We hope to get over some feeling without feeling like that's a good idea. We fall into too much thinking about the dilemma which merely feeds it's persistence.
Dilemmas offer no solution at the level of the opposing sides. The components of a dilemma are positional stances that cannot both be right. The positions are formulated to be irresolvable and irreconcilable when taken superficially. There appears to be no way to bridge the distance between the polarized differences until their appearances seem misleading.
Dilemmas get resolved by stepping into a different frame. Coming from a place that transcends the opposing positions offers a vantage point where mutual satisfaction becomes available. Here are some ways to imagine that transformational possibility with any dilemma:
- Neither can get want they want when taken literally, and both get be satisfied by getting what they want in essence.
- Both are frustrated by the other's opposing demands and both can be gratified by getting lent a hand by the opposition.
- Neither can work a deal by finding fault in their opponent and both can reach agreement by showing each other genuine respect.
- Both pay a price for their misunderstanding and both can clear up the confusion by understanding each other's concerns.
Rather than trying to succeed at getting something to change, it's more effective to work on giving something to baggage it's gone without until now.