When we think about who we are as humans we can separate our worlds into two parts; our external world and our internal world.
If you looked at me from my external world you would see a greying woman, of a certain body shape who could be classified as a straight, CIS gendered mother, a teacher, one with an Australian twang, olive-skinned, semi-wrinkled, a wife (who cringes when you call her one), one who wears a variety of extremely comfortable (and unfashionable) clothes, and one who only wears old thongs or Birkenstocks (if it is a special occasion), who laughs when uncomfortable (possible people pleaser but don’t quote me on that). I could fill this all out on some kind of census form and it would all be true. It’s external.
But what of the inner world? This world we have discussed in previous lessons that is of our own making; our senses taking in what it will and shaping it to fit our reality, sending us thoughts that aren’t necessarily true, leading us to have feelings that impact the cells in our body in good and destructive ways, and strengthening or bursting our attitudes and beliefs about how the world works, which also may be based on falsehoods. Jesus, what a mouthful. What an existence!
So let’s think about this for a moment with an anonymous example. You wake up feeling good. You brush your hair, put on some lippy, dare to wear a sleeveless blouse even with those apparent “tuckshop lady arms” and you think, fuck it, I am looking damn fine today, and you swagger a little as you descend the stairs waiting for your family to admire how you matched your beads to your shoes. Then out of nowhere, your dear mum, who had slept over the previous night says to you, “Should a person your age really be showing that much skin?”. You recoil. To make matters worse your sweet little nuisance pinches your muffin top and tells you how much they love your squishy bits. Your partner runs in fear. Hell no, that was not the experience you were going for.
You wipe the sweat off your brow and your upper lip and smudge your lipstick. Fuck. You feel a little shaky now, the inner dialogue has begun, “You fool, what were you thinking wearing this, you must look like utter shit now, put your trackies back on, wear black to hide your shameful parts”. Your body heats up, your inner dialogue abuses you and you start to get taken over again by the thoughts that social conditioning has blessed you with; you are not good enough. Is any of this true? Fuck no. But go and tell that to your parts.
So many of our inner thoughts are just regurgitations, the same shit that we have been thinking since we were kids. They are out-of-date and you don’t even know it. Your software is like some old Commodore 64 bullshit which doesn’t know it needs an upgrade. Deep inside ourselves, there are parts of us that are guiding our ship, that haven’t emerged for years and realized that you are 45 or 87, not 6 years old.
The task for this week is to get to know our parts. Notice what comes up for you. When do you feel your best? What triggers a bad mood? A good mood? Think about something recently that brought on a strong reaction and start to break down the feelings, where you felt it in your body, your thoughts, what is the part telling you?
Remember the best way to get to know ourselves is to notice, and when we are triggered, that is clear time that something is going on; a part of ourselves has taken over.
In the book: “Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life” the author, Tom Holmes, uses the metaphor of our mind as a living room to describe parts.
So the top half of the circle is our everyday consciousness, and below that is a cast of characters who come up as the main players in our living room. You might have the optimist, the controller, the victim, the protector, the judge, and the miserable wretch. When something happens in our external environment, one of our parts comes into the living room and takes control of the situation. If the part that comes into the living room is the judge, then you are going to perceive the world as dangerous where people are looking at you and you aren’t safe to be yourself. If it is the perfectionist you will be reeling when a guest comes over and you spot a piece of lint on the carpet. Some parts come up and won’t fuck off, they make you feel depressed or anxious and don’t let you see the beautiful parts of the world.
So it is time to take notice of your parts. Try and create a map of your parts; how one may be connected to the other. What triggers a part to come up. What are the many parts of yourself? You can create a mindmap, or any kind of visual diagram, and just get curious about what comes up for you. Remember to notice what are your feelings, where are you feeling it, what are your thoughts and notice if the part has a shape? Nothing is too nuts when it comes to parts.
See you next week for a freaky conversation with one of your parts.
Here are some samples of parts map stolen from the internet