When reading about the Internal Family Systems approach to psychotherapy recently, I was reminded of the idea that we each have a ‘self’ that has eight key characteristics. Here’s the list:
I don’t believe our inner experience is the same as that of other people, I believe we are each unique expressions of life. That said, we share far more than we don’t, and archetypes are useful because they do reflect common experiences. The metaphor of parts can be helpful in understanding our idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies, we are each a community of differing energies and aspects, and yet we are far more than the sum of our parts, we have a wholeness.
What resonated about this list of characteristics of ‘self’ for me is that they are ways of being that are natural, authentic expressions of us at our best. In my own experience I notice that when I am grounded and connected beyond myself, these characteristics come to the fore. When I am not, they do not!
I sense this is important. Our way of being is state dependent, we ebb and flow, we connect and disconnect and reconnect, how we feel and what we think varies. The way we express ourselves differs in different contexts and with different people. This is normal.
It’s good to watch out for the contexts in which you feel at your best, and to get a sense of what this specifically means. How can you describe the feeling state that arises? The state of mind? Your physicality? How can you replicate this in contexts where you want it but don’t generally have it?
We each have many, many inner resources. Often they show up when we need them, but sometimes they don’t. We can each build our flexibility and resourcefulness to bring ways of being to the fore when we want them.
If there are areas in which you feel unable to flex or grow, then perhaps psychotherapy may be of interest. If so, get in touch.