Focusing Tip #848 – Working with Parts – Does your “self” need to be equal to your parts?

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How can you strengthen your sense of self so you don’t stay hijacked by your parts? Read on…


Roberto writes:

I am a relative beginner to Focusing, and am also learning to work with Internal Family System (IFS). I notice that my “Self” is often hijacked by other parts and somatic reactions. I would like to be able to give my “Self” an equal space at the table, so to speak.

Are there any particular resources that address how to strengthen the Self so that I can interact with other parts of my inner world?

Dear Roberto:

When you are hijacked by a part of you, that means that you’ve lost Self-in-Presence. So yes, it’s important to have a way to regain your ability to turn toward any part with compassion.

But I wouldn’t say use the metaphor of an “equal space at the table.” Self-in-Presence is the table.

When you are Self-in-Presence, you are not in competition with your parts, jockeying with them for space. Rather, you are the space.

Barbara McGavin and I recommend that you say, “I am the space where all my parts are welcome to be just the way they are.

We also recommend three processes for cultivating Self-in-Presence.

The first is Resourcing. That means engaging in activities that increase your sense of enjoyment, relaxation, and ability to be present. Anything from stopping to smell a flower, to a bubble bath, to yoga & meditation.

The second is Recognizing. That means being able to recognize that you have gotten hijacked, taken over by a part, and you’re now speaking and acting as that part instead of as your whole self.

It’s super important to recognize that you’ve gotten hijacked… and in fact, recognizing and acknowledging this has happened is actually your first step back to Self-in-Presence!

And finally there is Relating. That means that every time you recognize a part is present, you say hello to it and invite it into a relationship in which you will be the listener– to its needs, its fears, and its longings. By being the empathic listener in this inner relationship, Self-in-Presence gets stronger. And so does a feeling of connection and self-compassion. So beautiful!

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