It’s important for us to be intentional in who we are becoming. The current political and social climate is evoking lots of intense and painful reactions in people. And, if we haven’t learned a different way, we tend to just go along with what our conditioned, pain-oriented identities want us to do. It can seem completely natural for us to identify with our agitated self-parts. Many of us have never known our self in any other way. Those parts of us who are feeling constricting emotions like anxiety, fear, anger, and self-righteousness can be so familiar they just feel like us.
Unfortunately, when we merge with our pained parts we’re prone to contribute more pain. When we identify with a self-part who is afraid, our understanding of who we are narrows. We lose access to our other capacities. When we act as if we are only the part in us who is angry, we guarantee there will be more anger in the world. It doesn’t have to be this way.
who’s in charge here?
For those of us who choose to live and lead toward more wholeness, we can take a more generative approach. We can choose to cultivate a strong and loving internal leader. We can learn to become less prone to act out our habitual negative reactions.
This starts by setting a clear intention of who we want to become. We can connect with and remember our desire to be of service. Then, we invite our good intentions to support us to bring gentle awareness to what is happening within us. If we are going to cultivate a strong and loving internal leader, we must become sufficiently self-aware. This gentle awareness is necessary for us to observe, acknowledge, and accept our self-parts without merging with them. When we become skillful at being with our self-parts in this accepting way, our sense of internal brokenness and conflicts can heal. As we heal, we can support more healing in others.
step back and step toward
A necessary skill for us to walk this healing path is the ability to notice and be with our various self-parts. In order to notice and be with a self-part, we need sufficient objectivity. We can foster our objectivity by learning to “step back from” intense emotions or sensations. And, “stepping back” doesn’t mean “stepping away” from. If we are too close to the intense emotions or sensations we can lose our objectivity. Our sense of self can become overwhelmed and get lost in the difficult experience. However, if we can “step back” far enough to have some breathing room, we’re more likely to be able to observe that the intense feelings are happening in a part of us, and not all of us.
When we have sufficient breathing room, we’re more likely to be able to remember and connect with a larger, more integrative aspect of us. This larger aspect can observe the self-part (or parts), and be with those parts in a loving and accepting way. Fortunately, when we’re connected with this larger aspect of us, we don’t have to try hard to be with an upset self-part or it’s intense emotions. Connecting and identifying with this larger aspect of us allows us to “step toward” the agitated self-part with curiosity and gentle acceptance. When we can be with our self-parts in this way, they often begin to relax. As they relax and feel supported, the wounds fuel their reactivity can start to heal. This healing facilitates our life-forward movement.
a more generative way forward
No matter how you’ve been feeling about what is unfolding in our fraught world, perhaps you can see how we’ve all contributed to what is happening today. And, we’re all contributing to what will unfold next. Who will be leading your participation going forward?