I want to share with you a powerful quote I came across today in my preparation reading for the IFS certification. May it inspire you as much as it inspires me.
“Who are you at your core? The most wonderful discovery I have made is that as you do this work, you release, or liberate, what I’ll call your Self or your True Self. I find that as people focus on – and, in the process of doing that, separate from – their extreme emotions and thoughts, they spontaneously manifest qualities that make for good leadership, both internally and externally. It seems we all have qualities like curiosity, compassion, calmness, confidence, courage, clarity, creativity, and connectedness at our core. It’s the soul that spiritual traditions talk about but that most psychotherapies don’t know about. Your Self gets obscured by all the fear, anger, and shame – all the extreme emotions and beliefs that are pumped into you during your life – so you may not even know it’s there.
If you’re like most people, you have only caught glimpses of your Self. Maybe your constant inner conversation with and among your parts stopped suddenly when you ‘lost yourself’ in a creative or athletic activity, in the beauty of a sunset or the innocence of children at play, or in a dangerous activity like rock-climbing that requires total present-centered awareness. You might remember those experiences as brief moments of complete joy and deep peace. Perhaps you had a fleeting experience of connection with something bigger than yourself and the sense of well-being that accompanies that awareness. You may have dismissed those episodes as anomalies in your otherwise roiling and noisy stream of consciousness and may have assumed you are the noise rather than the peace that lies beneath it.
But what if that peaceful, joyful, connected state is who you really are? How might that change your self-concept? And, what if, in addition to having brief peaceful and joyful moments, it were possible to be in that state for one periods of time while going about your daily activities or even while you’re in a conflict with someone?
Finally, what if, while in that Self state, you not only felt good, but you spontaneously manifested qualities like guileless curiosity, open-hearted compassion, clarity of perception, and intuitive wisdom about how to relate harmoniously to your parts and to the people in your life? If all that were true, your life could be very different. I have good news for you: all of that is true.”
–Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model, Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
May we all find and connect with our True Self, experiencing deeper healing and hope.