Our “inner parts,” those various internal sub-personalities as defined by Internal Family Systems (IFS) theory, can define us positively and negatively.
As we move from being a survivor to a thriver, we can better understand ourselves and nurture those parts we wish to claim. We can loosen the compulsive hold some of our “parts” may have on us to allow other aspects of our personality to emerge…even flourish.
Survivors of trauma and abuse find ways of navigating their situation, often adopting roles and habits that are reinforced by others.
Unfortunately, these ways of being can become deeply ingrained ultimately to the point we don’t even see them and whether they are working for us or not. One common role that is adopted is that of “people pleaser.” Making others happy to the detriment of your health and happiness is a short-term solution that, if not addressed, can leave you depleted not only mentally and emotionally but also physically.
My inner child learned that achieving good grades and being “perfect” was a way of getting positive attention. Being there for others and not having my own needs was also valued. With these roles and practices, I was hyper-dutiful and, not a child. I didn’t have time to know how to play and that would have probably been seen as wasteful. Finally, when it came time to raise my daughter, I realized the gap and the deficit that existed. I would take her to the playground and supervise her activities, watching to keep her safe but feeling strange if I tried to play with her in a joyful, carefree way.
I have spent years claiming a part of me that was suppressed: The Fun Seeker. Increasingly, it is becoming more a part of who I am, but I have to intentionally surround myself with people who value and nurture it.
Another example of a part of me I had to claim was my voice. As I have done internal healing work, I have found my voice that was silenced so many years ago. Now, I can claim my Survivor Advocate part, not just advocating for myself but others.
Going-Forward: Survivors to Thrivers was formed to encourage others to move toward thriving by claiming the next chapter of their story, claiming all their “parts.”
On August 15th, we will explore how you can start to reflect upon your various parts and what you intentionally want to claim. As you begin to think of the value and importance of claiming your whole self, I would like to share a few quotes:
● “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” – Harold Whitman
● “Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Sienna
● “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir
● “There is an amazing power getting to know your inner self and learning how to use it and not fight with the world. If you know what makes you happy, your personality, interests and capabilities, just use them, and everything else flows beautifully.” – Juhi Chawla
● “I wake up and play a different person every day. Playing all these different characters and trying to figure out who your true authentic self is at the core of that as you’re playing all these different roles, and man, that self-awareness starts to come into effect. And you start to see who you really are.” – Eliza Dushku
● “We are not one-dimensional, and our multiple dimensions are not static. Just as our bodies are made of many parts that form a dynamic, interwoven system that works together, so it is with our psyches. We are more awake, alive, and complex than we know.” ― Ralph De La Rosa
Which of these quotes is your favorite?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
Here’s to Thriving and Claiming Your Whole Self! Tambry
P.S. Never forget how valuable you are, how far you’ve come, how much potential you have.
I was a woman wrapped in the image of having it all together with a successful career, beautiful daughter, and a seemingly happy marriage. Then a sudden panic attack became my wake-up call that my life was not “perfect.”
Years of peeling back the painful layers revealed what I had suppressed for decades… that I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. More years were spent understanding and accepting the impact this abuse had on my life choices and my beliefs about myself.
This awakening was not the end of my journey. I needed to find my voice, decisively name my truth and create a vision around how I could help others who have experienced the pain and shame of sexual abuse.
My calling is to inspire people to move beyond the initial awareness and therapy to a new level of wholeness that comes with claiming their Going-Forward Story and reveling in their unique gifts, abilities and power to live a wholehearted, meaningful life.