In my last post I wrote about the getting to know your Internal Family System.
Who is the you noticing you? In IFS we all it “Self” or “Self energy”
And I thought you might still be wondering who is the “I” that is listening to your inner parts. Who is this “I” that can listen to the best and worst of us and not be one of those parts; neither a managing part, nor a reactive-over-the-top part (a fire-fighter), nor a young part who holds strong fears, feelings & beliefs about itself and the world (but we don’t really know this part directly as it is kept hidden by our protective parts). Who is this “I” that is not caught up in our worldly goals, our deep fears, our desires but can be present with them all as part of the depth and breath of the human experience?
This our Self. In a nutshell Self is an innate presence in each of us that can hold a space with calm, clear compassion for us to be with our experiences without judgment, blame or criticism. It is more like an energy that we feel flows through us when we feel balanced, at ease, or we are in a peak experience.
This type of experience is expressed beautifully in these lines:
“Song of Myself”.
“Apart from the pulling and hauling (of everyday life) stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it”.
by Walt Whitman
How does connecting with Self make a difference?
When we have enough Self-energy in our system we can relate to our-selves with care and compassion, creativity, curiosity and calmness even when painful or difficult feelings surface.
It can bear witness to our experiences without becoming caught up in them, it can support releasing old traumas, pains, mis-beliefs as well as helping us develop a better relationship with all our-selves and the world around us.
Another poem speaks, to me, of how connecting with Self can make a difference:
LOVE AFTER LOVE
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
by Derek Walcott
Self is an ever-present energy (though sometimes it seems hidden behind our parts).
Self is who we are before we moulded ourselves to fit the world in order to stay safe, stay connected, remain part of our community but at the price to being who we really are.
If you are curious to understand more about how IFS describes Self, parts or sub-personalities I’d recommend watching this video by Derek Scott.
If you would like to experience an IFS session please call to book here.