What would it look like to have a ‘subself” or ‘part’ assert its own identity?
For an example, you have a part of yourself that is fiercely independent and loves privacy. Unexpectedly, you are faced with a failing elderly parent who needs you to care for them.
Having exhausted all possible alternatives, the situation falls solely on your shoulders alone. You sincerely want to help your beloved parent AND you have another part of you that fears your life will be completely absorbed by the enormity of this new care-giving responsibility.
You feel trapped, torn between your love and desire to help your parent and your fear of enslavement, being taken hostage by the magnitude of this situation. You feel overwhelmed, distraught.
You are experiencing two absolutely understandable internal subselves/parts that are begging for recognition and support from you. Much of your available energy to conduct your everyday life is now focused on this pending dilemma. What to do?
You may be so troubled by this predicament that you even appear to others as ‘less together’, even fragmented.
Your light has diminished. The boundaries between your subselves/parts have suddenly shifted and merged like particle systems as your mental and emotional energies are struggling towards an answer.
This is an example of why it’s important to acknowledge your parts/subselves. Because it is often at this point in your internal conflict, while attempting to reach a solution, you might “should” on yourself, thinking “Don’t be so selfish”, or, “After all your parent did for you…”, drowning in guilt which usually leads to overriding, denying, and/or shaming one or the other part.
Parts relax when we listen to them without judgments.
Instead of rushing to find a solution, what if you could just acknowledge and accept both parts. Treating each part respectfully, you could write a letter to yourself (a friend or god) describing how each part feels/thinks/believes WITHOUT JUDGMENTS.