Grab the Mantra, “Never make an important decision from one strong part of yourself.” And create the life all of you – Self and parts – can agree to live.
Sometimes we get hit with strong emotions. We get hijacked by a strong part of us and that part is leading the orchestra. In these times we can call on another part of us to help hold back this strong emotion so we don’t do something we’d regret later.
Notice how I’m not saying these manager parts of you should step in as conductor. The tuba should never lead the band, no matter how good the tuba is at playing tuba. Instead you can enlist other members of the orchestra to manage this rogue part while Self re-assumes its natural position in charge.
Strong emotions can hijack you when you least expect it
Parts of you may get extreme in predictable scenarios like going home for the holidays, or dealing with a clueless supervisor.
They can also get extreme when you least expect it. And that leads to strong emotions.
Let’s say you’re ticking away on autopilot. Not happy, not sad, but working the plan. Feeling successful enough at the end of each day as you check off the tasks on our daily drill:
- Bring the kids to the bus stop – check
- Drive the pets to daycare – check
- Wash the dishes and put them away every night – check
- Exercise and eat healthy – check
- Keep bringing home a paycheck so life can continue smoothly
Might this also sound like you?
- Maybe you have a few stress-induced arguments with your significant other from time to time, but they fade away quickly
- Chilling out on the weekend no special plans often just catching up and resting.
- Life is working. It’s happening without much thought and it’s easy.
Unless we get some pull in another direction that suggests “maybe this isn’t working after all…”
That emotional tug can start really small
- A conversation with a co-worker accidentally turns stimulating and you feel the sparks flying between you
- The face of your old flame pops up on Facebook and you want to take a look at their profile, just to see what they’re up to
You start chatting in person or online and the connection begins. Somehow, no matter how busy you are, you have time for everything already happening in your life and something new.
The shiny new has qualities and a positive energy the faded old can no longer have. You’re drawn to it. You feel more alive.
- You spend more time imagining and thinking about this new connection.
- All this fantasizing and imagining makes feel even more alive and you can’t help but have a reaction to those fantasies and feelings.
- Or possibly you feel a strong rebellious part of you yearning to break out of routine.
- Your step becomes lighter at home and you find yourself smiling more.
- You may take more actions towards getting to know this exciting new person and connection in your life.
- Suddenly, the falling in love elixir begins to run through your body.
Soon you can’t help but listen more to this strong part of you that’s feeling attraction/lust/love. This part shines a light on what was missing in your life and how this new connection fills that need.
This strong emotional part is pushing you so fast and with such force you’re sure you’ll do something you’ll regret. Something not aligned with your core values. Even if a logical and rational part of you keeps sending warning signals to STOP! But this part is weaker and boring, so you ignore it.
Quick! Say your new mantra: “Never make an important decision from one strong part of yourself.”
If you are on the verge of making a decision from a part of yourself there is help. The help comes from another part inside of you that you consciously choose to lead during this time.
Slow down and get connected with your Self with the qualities of Calm, Clarity, Confidence, and Courage. From that place you can hear from all of your parts about what happening in your life before making a big decision. You can find a good tutorial on how to do this here.
After you hear from everyone, intentionally invite your manager parts to help you develop a plan where you can slow down and not act in haste. Their mission is to hold back this waterfall of emotions so you don’t act from one strong part of yourself.
Who are the manager parts? The managers show up as being responsible, disciplined, motivated, rational problem solvers that want a good life for you.
Years ago, one of my clients found himself in a situation like I described and he immediately requested that his manager parts take the lead and prevent any strong emotional parts from acting.
This cluster of managers inside developed a plan. This plan relied on old friends with deep connections, as well as a few sessions of therapy to get the support needed to hold back a runaway love emotion.
He turned this challenging situation into an opportunity to explore what he was missing in his life and with his partner. He then made the time to have important conversations with his partner about how they could get more connected and bring more spark into their life together.
My client’s strong emotions became connected to Clarity, Compassion, and Calm. Hope was also there that they could create a vision of how they could fulfill what was missing.
Something else that’s important to learn from my client
My client and his partner did not find an answer right away. Instead, they found Clarity inside that sense of purpose (to create that shared vision).
But still, he had many days when he felt confused and worried about the future. Instead of shutting down, he went through the strong emotions.
- He took each day one at a time, making a point to be fully alive and intentional as he explored what he needed as he went about his normal day.
- He stayed curious towards this strong emotion that desired something or someone else.
- He listened to hear what this strong emotional part make his choices.
That’s key: that voice didn’t stop talking and he didn’t try to shut down that voice. He took that part under advisement. What did this part want him to do? He let it talk to him without acting on it.
Don’t make a decision from a part of you…but do let your parts advise you
Treat your parts as the trusted advisers they are. They all have different knowledge and ideas about you that can help you. When they feel noticed and heard, they can relax from their extreme roles, making it easier to let Self take the wheel of life.
“DestructoPup” by Flickr user an iconoclast is licensed under CC BY 2.0.