Behind the door of Day 12 of the Build a Better You Advent Calendar is: listening.

Is there:

  • A critic inside you that won’t stop following you around?
  • An angry, resentful part complaining about everything that you have to do.

If there is: stop and listen.

Really listen to that part.

Hear what they are saying.

Is that part worried about you? Is it telling you there is something you want or need?

A Moment of My Journey to Self

One day I found myself stopping to consider my own inner life. Like everyone, there are parts inside me and sometimes, just like yours they bubble over.

When I did this, I discovered one of my favorite parts was living in the future.

This part loves planning the next trip or the next course I will take. This part is focused on the day’s events, family time, the spring garden, volunteering in Africa.

I do love this part of me. It gets a lot done, gets me places, gives me adventures.

But when it is too large I feel like I am that part and eventually swing out of it, falling into exhaustion and withdrawal.

The Part that Grows too Big

Any part that gets exaggerated in its role or character is just like that funny friend that is too funny.

Or that overly careful friend who is always envisaging the worst case scenario.

Sure, you need her sometime. But not all the time.

Anyway, back to the planning, striving for something part of me.

As I looked towards her with curiosity, open and non-judgmental, I saw she was a rich wealth of information, an abundance of energy: however, it was not until I stopped and really noticed these thoughts, these voices that I discovered something.

Listening with this awareness gave me perspective. It ensured I wasn’t blended with this part and, in turn, as I noticed this the choice of whether to be in this part or not became apparent. I wondered how I could be with this part and include other parts of myself?

I discovered that when this part got so very loud, large and was making all kinds of decisions in my external life I was not in good connection with those around me.

This part was so far ahead in planning and making things happen that it ran far ahead of other people in my life.

If you were looking from the outside you would see that I wasn’t exactly a team player: I was someone who accomplished things. Someone who made things happen.

By visiting with this part and getting connected to it and listening directly to it rather than analyzing it, I learned a lot.

I learned how to be in a better relationship with this part of me by first noticing it in my life by the actions that were happening. Then I could feel how it felt in my body when I was in full on planning and striving mode. When I realized I was letting this part lead, I could stop and ask it what was it worried would happen if it just did not lead. If it just took a vacation.

Learning Parts

I learned that this part was worried nothing would happen. Worried that my life would be disorganized and I would be unhappy. Worried that others would not care as much as I did and they would not care about me. They would be busy with themselves.

It let me know it valued being independent, that it did not trust that others would be there for me. It would be best to count on oneself and get the job done.

So by turning inwards with curiosity and a willingness to understand, I was able to have a different conversation with myself. This conversation in turn began to open up more possibilities.

Exploring Further

I could now explore my belief that I couldn’t count on “other” to be there for me and see where I got this belief and how long I have had it and if it is actually true right now or if it is left over from past experiences.

With this a whole new frontier began to open up for me to explore, discovering different solutions, and different answers. It reminds me of those Choose Your Own Adventure books: different information drive you to make different choices and each has a different outcomes.

Personally, I discovered I have more people walking in collaboration and support alongside me than I could have imagined.

So it wasn’t true: I didn’t have to be independent all the time in the fear that no one would help me.

That is the story or following one part and seeing what it wanted me to know.

You also have those parts inside of you waiting for you to get connected to your inner world and see what they want you to know. So you can create the life you feel most alive and connected with.

How to Notice, Listen and Work with Part of You

  • Notice you have a voice chatting away inside of you.
  • Notice you are interested and curious about that voice and send your curiosity toward this talking inside of you.
  • Remind yourself that this is not your identity but a part of you with information
  • Name it feeling or thinking or remembering or worrying or planning….
  • Begin the inner dialogue.
  • From a calm and curious place or wondering… turn your curiosity towards a part of you that feels tense and big just now – notice it in your body.

Where is it?

What does it feel like?

What do you call it?

  • Extend your curiosity without an agenda or judgement and interview this part of you:

Ask this part of you what is its role in your life and how does it help you?

What is happening right now that it feels a need to be so large or extreme?

What does it believe you need?

Notice if this part has relaxed or notice if another part of you comes up.

If another part steps in, ask it respectfully to wait until you hear from this current part. And then you will turn to it also with your calm curious, non-judgmental, clear mind.

See if there is a specific issue that is happening right not that triggers these parts to become strong. What is needed?

  • Remember to listen to this part as you would a good friend
  • Journal

What did you learn from this part?

What might it need for you to do right now in your life to help it?

What keeps it so strong? What are its concerns or worries?

Do you feel differently knowing more about this part?

“You are only as good as the company you keep”

Remember that old saying? Let’s think about it in a new way.