So, for the last week or so, I’ve been getting to know all the personalities that live inside me. Learning about Internal Family Systems and the BLE Parts Map from SPT and Everett Considine – to the extent that these were explained in their webinars. I’ve discovered the voice of my Food Controller, who’d camouflaged herself well. I’ve started closely observing my wounded little girl, and figuring out where she came from. I’ve been listening to their voices, and the voices of all my other parts. It’s been astounding, how well I can tell them apart, now that I’m aware of their existence. I’m rather enjoying it. And in the middle of all these voices, I’ve found that I have my own.
The Highest Self
My own voice is calm. Unlike the others, she doesn’t overreact to situations. She seems to see things much more clearly, and she’s very confident. She listens to the other parts with curiosity, and she deals with them with great compassion.
Everett Considine calls this voice the Authentic Self, which I like. Susan Peirce Thompson uses the term Highest Self. I’m on the fence about that one. I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to call mine. I need to figure out exactly what she is, first. I’m still not sure about that one.
Whatever she is, I’ve found that this self can be amazingly useful. She’s stepped in to end internal debates. She’s stopped me from following my cravings. She helps me see what’s really important, and what is not.
But 2 days ago, this highest self came up short. Yes, she helped me resist a momentary craving. When my wounded inner child was looking for something to help her cope, my highest self stepped in. She was kind and reasonable, and convinced this little girl that food wasn’t going to make it any better. That little girl accepted this refusal. She stopped asking. But her initial complaint is still on the table. My highest self – the most creative part of me – didn’t have an answer for that. She didn’t have any meaningful words of comfort to offer. So, although a crisis was averted, the little girl is still there. Whenever I think about the future, or how many items on my to-do list are going undone, I can feel her panic. The sense of overwhelm has never really gone away. And I don’t know how to fix it. Sooner or later, another crisis will arise, and that little girl’s hurt and anger will come out again. And whether or not she asks for food directly, you know my food indulgers are going to be right there, offering to fix the problem that my highest self couldn’t.
My highest self may be very capable. But there are things she can’t do. She doesn’t have an answer to the situation I’m in, with school and studying and falling behind. She doesn’t know if I made the right decision to go back to school in the first place. She doesn’t have a solid plan for my future. As much as she’d like to say everything’s going to be alright, she doesn’t know that. Everything may not be alright. Plenty of people’s lives end up in places that are not alright. She doesn’t know my future. She can’t make me any smarter than I am. She can’t create more hours in the day. Because she is a part of me, like me, she is limited and finite. And sometimes, in this world, I will face problems that cannot be solved by a limited, finite person.
I am Not Enough
These are the times when I need to look higher than myself.
Too often, I forget that I am not alone. That I don’t have to rely solely on me. I feel the weight of every expectation, every responsibility, and I let it crush me, when I don’t have to. Because there is someone stronger than me, who can help me bear it. As a Christian, I believe there is a God in this world. And that he loves me. But, like Peter, following Jesus out on the water, I get scared. I look at the waves instead of at him. And I begin to sink.
Right now, I feel like I’m in the middle of the sea. Every part of me is running scared. My authentic self is trying to keep everyone else calm, and prevent them from doing anything to make the situation worse. But even she can’t stop me from drowning. The best she can do – and she’s been trying, today – is look to the one who can.
I don’t know what my future holds. Maybe I will fail this exam. Maybe I’ll run out of money and have to go back to teaching. Maybe I won’t even be able to find a teaching job. Maybe I’ll have to go back north again, or even leave the country. Maybe I’ll have to admit to my entire family that I made a huge mistake. Maybe I won’t fail – maybe I’ll pass, and become a successful Naturopathic Doctor, and spend every moment hating it. I don’t know. Not a single part of me knows.
But I know who does. And I have to trust him. That even when it’s scary – even when it hurts – he’s right there beside me. That even in the worst scenario I can imagine, he won’t let me drown. Even if I was stupid enough to get myself in that situation in the first place. I mean, really – what possessed Peter to leave the boat and try walking on water in the middle of a storm? It was just asking for trouble.
I don’t know what you believe. But I hope you don’t believe you’re all there is. Cause I’m sure I’m not the only one with impossible problems. I can’t imagine facing them alone.