February 23, 2024

Making Peace (& Friends) with the Parts of Us that Frustrate Us.

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Yesterday, I noticed that I felt a low hum of restlessness most of the day.

It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was ever-present.

I noticed my thoughts kept wanting to wander; even if I didn’t see every thought, it’s like I could feel all sorts of things moving in my mind.

I felt low-key irritable for most of the day even if I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why.

I went for a walk, and although it was a beautiful day, I noticed I wasn’t capable of being fully present. I tried, but my thoughts kept sucking me in.

I brought my attention to the world around me, to the feeling of the warmth of the sun, to the feel of the air on my face, to the beautiful nature around me…but it didn’t have the same effect it usually does. I felt it…but distantly. It was like there was a fog coating the top of that soft, inner, present place. And I wasn’t able to fully embrace the beauty or sink into it.

And then as I sat in my meditation last night, so many thoughts arose, over and over and over.

At one point, I realized I was irritated by this, and then I noticed something else:

It was the part of me that expects perfection that was irritated. It was my perfectionist part. And it was also the part of me that is irritated with the inner perfectionist.

When I noticed this—my inner perfectionist and the part that is irritated with my inner perfectionist—I smiled. And I felt myself relax.

I felt lighter.

I’ve been working with this perfectionist part of me for years.

To be honest, this isn’t my favorite part of myself. Over the years, I’ve seen how the perfectionist in me causes me a lot of frustration and suffering. I’ve observed how I have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations for myself and then get frustrated when I don’t reach those unrealistic expectations.

Over time, though, and through practice, I’ve learned how to notice this part. And I’ve learned how to work with it, how to reorient myself, how to shift my perspective. I’ve gotten to know this part of me.

But this part me often brings me feelings of frustration. Yes, I like to do well and achieve things and I’m happy that I care and I like a feeling of accomplishment and of doing well—but, perfectionism can be frustrating because it’s not real and it doesn’t exist and being frustrated about not attaining it and about it not existing is also frustrating.

I also know, though, through observing myself, through my training as a hypnotherapist, through working with others as a hypnotherapist, that we all have different parts of us and that all of our parts feel they are helping us. Even the most frustrating parts. Even if their actions or beliefs are misguided or ultimately cause us more suffering.

Each part is doing its best to keep us safe, to protect us, to give us what it thinks we want or need. Our subconscious is doing its best to keep us safe and alive. It’s doing its best to keep us from pain.

We may have parts of us that conflict or that cause us tension, but ultimately, each part is trying to help us. I know this, I’ve seen this, and I’ve felt it. And when I truly sink into the inner knowing of it, it makes me feel quite tender with myself, especially with the parts that frustrate me (like my inner perfectionist), because I know that they’re just trying to help me.

One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to be open, curious, and pay attention—to want to learn more about ourselves and connect more deeply within ourselves.

As we observe ourselves, we learn more about ourselves—our habits, our tendencies, our patterns of thinking and reacting.

Not everything that comes up will be pretty or pleasant or feel nice. In fact, a lot might make us feel uncomfortable. But as we also feel that discomfort, allow ourselves to feel that discomfort, we soften and find a deeper sturdiness and peace and connection within ourselves.

We learn how to work with ourselves. We learn how to be present within ourselves, to be fully with ourselves, whatever it means for each moment.

And we learn how to be light with ourselves and with our journey.



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