A conversation about Self

The more I practice my healing, the more I change my perception of Self, divinity, and soothing.

Richard Schwartz, founder of IFS (Internal Family Systems) describes Self as this omnipotent entity within us that can handle all, access all, and be above all. This is my interpretation of his view. To me, it almost seems hierarchal and god like.

I find most consciousness work speaking with that narrative. The concept of higher self; a part of us that is beyond human traits like emotions and behaviors. Therapies that use this approach have left me feeling like I’m constantly reaching for some ideal goal of livelihood.

The idea that we can ultimately achieve self soothing under all circumstances when we are in this self has left me feeling like a failure when I couldn’t.

I do believe that Self does have the capacity for that but it is not some energy that is sitting there in our back pocket waiting for us. Perhaps for some it is, as they had a strong sense of Self before trauma hit them but for many, we never did. Self sits in our human bodies and they are filled with limitations, conditioning, and experiences that bind it. We can only access enough self if our bodies are capable of it and this takes practice and time to build, not simply there to be had.

Self soothing is a developmental concept, not an abstract one. It evolves as we evolve our practice. And it takes co regulation to soothe first as it needs something or someone to hold space for it to be done. Self may not be this space for a long time when starting our healing process. We need others Self to help us.

My concept of divinity, consciousness, higher self, spirituality has changed too. I do not believe in a higher anything we are trying to achieve. That leads us to an endless quest of seeking. I believe in expansiveness instead; that everything we need is right here on earth among us and within ourselves as we learn to unburden our traumas to access it. Divinity is not an abstract construct either. It’s as messy and complex as we are. It’s accessible and equal as a tree compared to a bush. One is not higher than the other. They just are and rely on each other for livelihood as all things in nature are and do.

I find my change in perception has released a lot of shame and perfectionism in trying to achieve some successful level of healing. It’s not about improvement but about access.

I now see Self, divinity, and soothing as not some all mighty peaceful guru but as primal and spiritual as one. This means it can be raw, rough, emotional, messy, and well… real. And it can be as needy as the rest of us.

What do you think?

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