Loving All the Parts of Ourselves

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Artwork of a woman with face in two parts

You are a whole person. You are not broken. When we struggle to manage all the parts of who we are, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and forget about the importance of loving ourselves. If we make a mistake, for example, we might start beating ourselves up. I like to identify this as my self-critical part. She used to be pretty dominant, but with a lot of work she has settled down. She likes to make an entrance every once in a while, especially during developmental changes in my child’s life where it can feel like I am doing everything wrong as a parent. I’m learning to be curious about this part or role within myself by asking her why she’s here instead of trying to force her to go away. She is a part of me after all (even if she acts like that negative coworker that always has something to say).

As we look at the parts of ourselves that get in the way of joyful, mindful living, we can ask the strength parts in ourselves to emerge and help us out. This can be especially challenging during the moments that feel really overwhelming. Here are a few thoughts to help us prepare and move forward in accessing our strengths.

Take several deep breaths while pressing your hands against your heart.

This will help you self-sooth and ground so that overwhelm doesn’t escalate and you can begin to bring your awareness inward.

“Name it to tame it.”

This is is one of my favorite quotes by Dan Siegel, an expert in the field of interpersonal neurobiology. What part of yourself is most present? Take a moment to actually name it. Is it a scared part, a perfectionist part, a self-critical part? It’s up to you to decide. You’ll know by asking and listening.

Acknowledge that the part is present.

Sit with it. Get curious with it. Do you want it to stay present? Do you need it to be smaller? Does it co-exist with other parts? Ask it why it’s here and what you need from it. For example, when my self-critical part shows up I often feel comforted. It feels like a familiar friend, coming for a visit. When things feel a little chaotic, who doesn’t want a visit from a familiar friend?

If you are ready, ask your difficult part what strength part can help it.

Does your self-critical part need help from the self-compassionate part or your rational part or your humorous part? Allow that part to emerge. Let it be more present. There may be a bit of a struggle between parts, but that’s okay. The beauty is that you are composed of many, many parts. You will find what you need if you are open to it.

I would also discourage you from labeling the parts of the self as good or bad. This can easily become a rabbit whole of shame. Instead, think of this more as having a mindful conversation with yourself where judgement is not welcome and there is always tea.

Curious about exploring more of the parts that are showing up in your life? Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.

Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.