Parts are Fatigued, Tired, and In Need of Care
A New Self Care for 2021
It’s no surprise that 2020 was by far the most polarized, daunting, and possibly one of the most challenging years you have survived thus far. It’s also no surprise that 2021 is an extension of what was already fatigued, numb, and overwhelmed. If you have been on my website or have been a client of mine, you will quickly see or hear the word “part.” I often hear clients say, “A part of me feels ____ (Fill in the blank), and on the other hand, a part of me feels ______.” I love using parts language to describe what is happening internally. Parts are just aspects of your personality that are separate or distinct entities from other parts of yourself. Parts are also known as subpersonalities, a characteristic that makes you — you. For example, a part of you loves to explore and have adventures, and another part prefers a cozy evening at home alone.
We are not created to behave or feel entirely one way; we are created to be dynamic, complex, and experience multiple things simultaneously. I can’t tell you how many times I would feel so sure about a decision in 2020, and moments later, having a part of me begin to question or object to that decision or way of thinking. Just like so many of you, the COVID-19 life has made us pause and consider every behavior and action in ways that were once so natural. We have to consider if we will go to the grocery store or order online, visit a family in desperate need of care or stay at a distance to prevent exposure, hug a friend or stay 6 feet apart. Moreover, we have to think about whether we should smile behind the mask or not smile at all, attend church or stay at home and watch church online, get to-go food because you are exhausted and not able to cook or pick up a freezer meal. The list goes on and on. These are just a few examples of some more simple decisions that have become complicated. All the while, the parts of your soul have become depleted, worn out, and may be at this point even dissociated. Now you are trying to decide if you should get the vaccine and what you should do about your children’s learning experience.
While I am not here to affirm or shame your life choices, I am here to speak to what your inner psyche may be experiencing. In Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, we rely heavily on parts language, and we get curious about what parts are feeling and experiencing. We also try to understand how parts are working hard to protect us and honor the pain they are desperately trying not to feel again. The beauty of IFS therapy is that we also embrace that there is a YOU in your soul that is separate from all your parts. This distinct part is called the SELF or your true Self. This entity in you is not numb, disconnected, or even overwhelmed. This place in you is where you can listen to your weary, sad COVID-19 depleted parts. This spiritual place of being is where Christians like to invite the Holy Spirit to infuse our core and nurture our heart. With the help of an IFS therapist, you can learn how to listen to, honor, respect, and care for those weary, tired parts. You don’t need to “fix” them or make them “go” away. You learn how to be with yourself from a place of compassion and show the true love of Christ to even the darkest parts of your soul.
COVID-19 life is not going away any time soon, but the exhaustion and fatigue will continue to flood our psyches. Take time in 2021 to learn how to care for yourself in a completely new way. Normal self-care activities like massages, yoga classes, church services, and friend gatherings may not be possible for months, but the YOU in there who can care for yourself is not dependent on COVID-19 going away. It is not dependent on social distancing or masks. It is in there, and you may need help accessing it. That is what IFS therapy is here for. I am a level 3 IFS therapist offering safe telehealth for folks ready to meet their true Self.
Blessings, my dear ones, and may we take time to be well, be kind, and be true to our little parts so desperate for care and attention.