At times, we experience uncomfortable emotions washing over us. We may interpret them as harmful and wish we did not feel this way or have these thoughts.
Working With Yourself Instead of Against Yourself
It seems counterintuitive to suggest not pushing away these feelings and thoughts, and not disconnecting from them and erasing them from our minds.
However, evidence shows that it is best to approach our thoughts and feelings with a level of acceptance and kind curiosity, explore their origin and purpose, and identify which part of us feels this way and why.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy encourages us to become aware of each aspect of ourselves–including the parts that bring us discomfort. By being curious and kind to all of our feelings/thoughts, we enable ourselves to accept our entirety. This acceptance leads to a better understanding of our different parts and how they come together to create the wonderful being we are.
Exploring our parts, helps us understand their role in our system. We can then adapt our mindset and behavior, to better reflect the person we want to be.
For example, imagine someone has a self-doubting part resulting from intense criticism experienced in childhood. It may manifest itself as a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem through adulthood.
Instead of fighting or ignoring it, IFS encourages the individual to be curious about the self-doubt- Where did it come from? What is its current role and purpose? How can it provide adaptive and appropriate benefit?
Working From The ‘Self’
When utilizing the IFS approach, we aim to lead from a position of “Self,” Which is our authentic identity, operating as the calm in the storm of our lives.
The Self’s attributes include calmness, curiosity, patience, clarity, compassion, playfulness, confidence, courage, creativity, and connectedness. These elements build a strong and open emotional core that is flexible, kind, and engaged.
IFS therapy is based on the premise that it is to our benefit to accept all of the internal parts of our system, including the ones we tend to dislike, such as self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, and others.
In doing so, we increase our awareness of our authentic Self, giving it the power to lead us to become who we truly want to be.
If you are experiencing self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, or any other challenging emotion that you feel is impacting your life in a negative manner, you may wish to begin a therapeutic journey.
We can be your guide in utilizing Internal Family Systems therapy to help you discover more about the parts of you that drive your feelings, and help you explore a way to manage them in your present context.