We live in societies where the dominating perception is we hold a singular mind and identity.
The reality is different. Inside each of us is a web of sub-personalities that make up the whole of who we are.
Sitting at the center of the table is the part of ourselves that observes all the happenings in our lives. The thoughts, emotions, actions, and the ways it ebbs and flows. This is well described by Richard Schwartz in his book, No Bad Parts. His work being through the lens of Internal Family Systems (IFS). Which brings greater light to the truth of our internal worlds.
Imagine a time where you have found yourself saying, I don’t know where that came from. Following a moment in time where you said or did something that didn’t seem like the real you. Or, consider a time when you were experiencing conflict within yourself. I recently spoke with a man that wants to move his life forward in a meaningful way. But he experiences conflict because many parts of himself are in disagreement.
One part says, I’m ready for change and believe it’s possible.
Another part says, Change isn’t possible. I mean, look at these examples where this is true.
And another part says, Even if it is possible, this seems like it may be a lot of work and not worth it.
I feel for this man. Because I have lived this experience countless times. This is where feelings of being stuck emerge. Within this experience of being stuck, we may also see emerge the statements that say,
Why am I still having a hard time with this?
I say I want this, why is nothing changing?
What the hell is wrong with me?
Get over this already and move forward.
In essence, we use parts of ourselves to fight other parts of ourself.
To live from our greatest potential, that is a bit like taking off down through the hills of San Francisco in an old Honda on three wheels with the E-Brake on. While the gas is pushed to the floor.
It’s important to note that it’s not our fault. I don’t recall a class in school or a conversation with my parents that taught me how to work with my mind. To understand perception, or the various ways conflict arises and is resolved within.
You may be reading this and wondering how turning this lens towards yourself may support you. You may also read this and think I’m nuts. That’s possible. Though, it doesn’t change that there are parts inside of us that form and shape the way we see and live our lives.
The achiever/all-star part
The inner child
The inner critic
The Lawyer (A client of mine has her own inner lawyer)
Some of these exist depending on cultural context, and there is some overlap that spans wider. Though, it is still unique to the individual. In this world it is on us and only us, to turn and tune in to work with our own minds, bodies, and hearts.
No one can do it for us. The next time you find yourself feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost, confused, or off, stop.
Put the phone down.
And ask this…
What’s the part of me right now that is struggling?
What other parts of me may challenged too?
What does this/these part(s) of me need me to see and hear?
Given this, how can I support these aspects of myself?
It will likely feel weird at first having a session with yourself like this. If you will continue, you will begin to see the different belief systems, emotions, and perceptions each part holds. You will become clearer on how you stay in conflict with yourself.
When your sessions are over, send yourself an invoice as a thank you for the service to yourself.
Message me if you are stuck.