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ASK Fay #4: How to deal with my different parts that show up?

Thank you Fay for all that you do.

How do I deal with my different parts that show up (like anxious part, anger part, depression part, hopeless part) I'm in therapy weekly which is helping but still it is really hard to deal with them when they show up. I'm feeling so sad and hopeless...

You're so welcome and ty for being here!

I'm so pleased to hear that you're in therapy. It sounds like you're working with a provider who incorporates IFS - which is an excellent modality.

The concept that we all have different parts that make up who we are and how at times different parts will be raging or at peace or something in between is a beautiful way to frame the dynamic nature of the existence we all share as humans.

I want you to realize how not alone you are in the way you have these different parts that show up - we ALL do.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to be self aware of them and already on the journey of learning how to effectively manage them individually and as a whole.

Here are a few things I'd like to suggest you think about:

1/ if you're going to stick with a parts work framework for healing I want you to think of yourself as a delicious salad which each of these parts being one ingredient in the salad. Every day or maybe every few hours the salad changes slightly but all the different ingredients are part of what makes it delicious and tasty. And unique to you even if it's not your favorite or what you're in the middle of every single day.

You may not like onions which we can just say for simple reference is your andiety, but when it's mixed with tuna and kale (acceptance, peace) suddenly it's palatable or maybe even tasty! See if you can use this analogy or metaphor to neutralize your experience of these parts and start to see them as parts of a whole versus random annoying yucky ingredients you don't want to deal with.. 

2/ I'd like you to get to really know these parts and how they each like to be soothed. Maybe your anxiety needs a brisk walk, the depression might need a sad song with a good cry, anger might need a boxing class or a steamy hot shower or you choose what parts want what. Then when they show up, you ask yourself which part is the dominant one at the moment and how can you give it the soothing it likes best.

3/ For sadness and hopelessness journaling, praying, and or a quiet walk in nature might be the greatest gift you can give yourself in those moments.

4/ I want you to add ingredients/parts to your salad/ makeup. I want you to add parts like joy, laughter, fun, peace, silliness and anything else you can think of that is on the lighter spectrum of parts.

Dance like no one's watching, sing in the shower or in the kitchen. Loosen up a bit and make space for these other parts so your salad isn't always rough on your tummy at worst or lame at best

I just want to underscore something imperative you shared which was that therapy is helping yet you're still struggling. 

I think it's so important to realize that therapy is not intended to take away our feelings or make sure we never experience certain painful emotions again.

Good therapy is therapy that helps us open up to all our feelings, helps us allow them to surface and teaches us how to self-soothe through them, ride them out and create space for all the pleasant emotions and experiences that are usually buried under the pile of painful emotions we don't want to acknowledge.

When we bury the painful emotions we bury the good ones too so a life well lived is one where we're not afraid of any emotions, we pray, cry and white knuckle our way thru the painful ones and pray sing and dance with joy thru the pleasant ones.

Remember - numbing is not biased. If we numb the pain we numb the joy!

Always remember you're stronger and more resilient than you know.

You got this, I believe in you, and we're all rooting for you. Xo

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About the author

Fay Brezel, LMHC

Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

  • 🎯 Direct
  • 💙 Warm
  • 💪 Challenging
  • 💡 Solution-oriented

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