What To Do About Your Bad & Ugly Parts

Has this ever happened to you?

You're going about your day, movin' and shakin' on your various goals and responsibilities, and suddenly...

You see an image of yourself that shocks you.

Maybe you caught yourself behaving in a way you thought you'd grown out of. Or maybe someone said or did something that revealed a part of you that you tried to hide away. Whatever it is, you hate it.

How do you react?

If you're like most people, you probably did what our puppy Momo did. Huffed and puffed, backed away, looked around, then went up really close juuust to make sure...then bolted.

Because the sooner you can shake that image from your head, the sooner you can go back to "normal".

But the thing is, those images are the pathway to self discovery and personal growth.

The more of yourself you can see, the more you can understand. The more you can understand, the more you can affect. The opposite is also true. The more of yourself you avoid, repress or pretend doesn't exist, the less you will understand about yourself, the less you can affect.

"That of which we are not aware, controls us." - Tara Brach

Instead, next time you see a part of yourself you don't like, turn towards it. Get curious. Invite it in with a smile.

Ask the part:

  • What do you want?
  • What happened that called you forth?
  • How are you trying to be helpful right now?

It might seem strange at first to ask a part of yourself questions as if it were another person. But this is the first step to dis-identifying from it. Because the truth is that your parts are not YOU. They are a one-dimensional version of you that arises when you encounter challenging, scary or vulnerable situations that resemble those you've encountered in the past. 

They use strategies that made sense THEN but seem misguided NOW. And as an adult, you probably shun parts of you that you deem "immature" or "childish". But all that does is push them into the shadow of your unconscious.

Personal growth isn't just about self improvement. It's also about loving and integrating all your parts, including ones you don't like. Consider these characteristics of parts that will help you feel compassion, tenderness and curiosity for them:

They are experts at keeping you safe.

They are always there for you when you need them.

They want the best for you.

They love you unconditionally.

And ironically, when you pay more attention to them and treat them with kindness, they loosen their grips on the steering wheel and take a back seat, allowing your highest self to take the wheel again. This practice of recognition, curiosity, compassion, and grounding is the basis of self leadership.

Learn more about how parts work from the folks who originated the concept here.