parts work (part 1)
I thought I would talk about one of the main ways I function in life since sometimes it sounds confusing to people when I talk about my ‘parts’. For me, the term ‘part’ makes perfect sense but I realize it might be a stretch for others out of context. So, here goes……
Many years ago I began to notice there were times when I felt completely at ease and without constriction and other times where I felt the opposite of that. I decided to see what I could notice in these shifting moments and the shades in between. It was within this exploration that I noticed threads of different aspects of myself. It’s all ‘me’ but I chose to recognize different emotions and thoughts as distinct aspects or parts (of me). This came from a time where the ‘volume’ or quantity of emotions and thoughts was too much when it would happen all at once. So, I learned if I could see distinction in the feelings then they were easily addressed and didn’t overwhelm me.
The cool byproduct of this approach was that I began to develop a deeper sense of relationship with myself and I have learned more about my ‘inner workings’ than I could have imagined.
Okay, let me try to describe the process more and move from the realm of vagueness.
In the beginning, I would aim to notice times when I went from feeling good to feeling less than good. As soon as I noticed this shift I would try to also notice all the qualities of my environment inside and out…..just notice them. There would tend to be a thought pattern/soundtrack/voice that had a conditioned response to some form of stimulus. For example, it might be I would read an article about someone achieving a grand ‘success’ in the newspaper and a litany of thoughts/voices would begin that were not loving but harshly critical of me. In that moment, I would address this unhelpful commentary direct and personally. This was a key tool in the process. If I simply noticed and made general statements to contradict it or just observed and reminded myself there was other ways outside this conditioned pattern…..it stayed sorta vague and distant for me.
when I addressed these thoughts direct and personally the game changed.
Imagine the difference between trying to have a relationship with an amorphous mass and a distinct entity. (For me, knowing myself is very much a form of intimate ‘relationship’.)
The process of how it went from amorphous to personal came when I simply asked questions. I spoke directly to the thoughts and feelings without expectation or concept of reply. In the instance of self deprecating thoughts……I would simply ask them what they need. That is where I started my relationship of getting to know them. I would continue to inquire until I heard something….anything from them. From there it would evolve and grow. The questions would shift and sometimes it took longer than others or there would be unexpected answers. There were also times I would simply wait and let them know I would be there to listen when they were ready to talk to me. I wouldn’t force anything or get frustrated with them.