Chapter 3 Blog 2: We All Have A Part to Play

Photo For Pietro,s Beano

Every emotion or behaviour we experience may be named as a part. As I write this chapter sitting on a comfortable chair in front of a window in my home, looking out over a garden filled with salal and natural herbs, I am having many experiences, all of which are occurring within the same moment. I feel content. I feel passion for the subject I am writing about for my book. I feel tired because I have been writing since early this morning and it is now late afternoon. I feel creative. I feel slight anxiety because my wife is not home from shopping yet and I expected her to be back before now. I am feeling disappointed because the sky has become cloudy and the temperature has dropped, and I had planned to take a late afternoon walk in the warm sunshine.

In clarifying my experiences in this way, I have, in a sense, separated out each of my emotions. Due to the limitations of writing, it may seem that the naming of each of my experiences is a linear process, where I have one feeling, then I am moving onto the next one, then there is another in line, when in fact, I am experiencing all of these emotions at the same time.

When I assign the word part to each of these emotions and feelings I am experiencing in this moment, I create a family within myself. If I add the word ‘part’ to these feelings, I now have one part of my inner family feeling content. There is another part who feels passion for what I am writing. A part is feeling creative. Another feels disappointed and I have a part who feels slight anxiety. Framing my emotions, feelings, and my behaviours as parts, allows me to validate all of the feelings I perceive within myself in this moment. I am able to recognize each member of my inner family, each of whom carries their own experiences, perceptions and responses to the world around them. I now possess the option to listen and acknowledge all of them, some of them or one of them.

Adapting the parts model to your everyday life involves adding the word “part” to your everyday vocabulary. Saying to yourself, “There’s a part of me who feels uncomfortable, right now,” Or, “A part of me is feeling sad about what I’ve just heard on the news. “A part of me feels reluctant to go out for a walk on this cold night, yet there’s another part of me who wants to.” “A part feels some resistance to adding the word ‘part’ to my everyday vocabulary because this resistant part is worried I might be making a fool of myself.”

Adding the word “part” to your everyday vocabulary allows you to better see and recognize all of the emotional aspects of yourself that play out in their various roles throughout your day: in your personal relationships with family and friends or the people you work with.

It may be more of a challenge, at first, to start using parts-talk to people other than yourself. To tell your friend who invites you out to go to a movie, for example, that a part of you wants to go, while there’s another part who wants to just crash out in front of the TV, is a far more honest form of self-representation, than to offer an excuse such as, “I do want to go, but I’ll get back to you later after I’ve finished making the supper.” To say, “A part of me feels sad to hear you have finished with your boyfriend,” gives you the option to also say, “On the other hand, another part of me is relieved because he was too demanding of you.”

Contemplation Question:

When you name your emotions and experiences as parts, does anything change for you? If so, what changes?

11 thoughts on “Chapter 3 Blog 2: We All Have A Part to Play

  1. the word ‘part’ initially has a distance feel to it…over there, but not engaged. I might prefer the word ‘companion’ as in a group of friends gathered in Rumi’s ‘living room’.
    Yes, acknowledging each one puts that friend into the room and there is a relaxation/relief in that.
    Then accepting/allowing arises, where both sit back in their easy chairs, listening. Silence follows, receiving the other’s presence, and communication. Perhaps a dialogue.
    Satisfied, the guest, feeling heard, releases its tension and simply melts away.

    Just saying…



    • I appreciate your suggestion, Brian. The word part could be substituted for any word that personally represents the relationship we have with our emotions and feelings. It is a personal choice. The chapter excerpts are, at this time, focusing on emotions as parts of ourselves. And truly, as you say, our emotions need to be or to become our companions in life. The excerpts from the chapter following this one, beginning next month, will introduce behaviours as parts of ourselves, and will explore the fact that some behaviours, while once important and necessary, may now be limiting. This question, ‘how ready and willing are we to challenge these behaviours?’ then becomes relevant. Or to extend this question into the model being proposed, are we willing to challenge the parts of ourselves as representatives of the behaviours we may have outgrown? I believe change in any capacity is best approached, if at all possible, from a perspective of appreciation – of oneself and/or of another. Viewing our behaviours and emotions as companions to be appreciated and occasionlly challenged may well be, for many, a pathway to appreciation and smoother personal change.
      Thanks for the comment, Brian.

    • Hello Bonnie. I very much share your hope for my book to be published soon. One of the intentions of this book blog was to create and to measure the interest in the book. A publisher’s decision to publish is influenced these days by the interest shown on blogs such as these. So I encourage you, Bonnie, and anyone else visiting this blog, to spread the word and hopefully we will see A Return to Consciousness on our bookshelves soon.

  2. I find that naming an emotion as a “part” of a collective of emotions is very helpful. Particularly when I am experiencing an overwhelming emotion that overtakes my feeling of well being. When I name the emotion a “part” of my experience I am better able to work with it in an objective way and calm the upset. Thank you Pietro!

  3. Thank you for your words Pietro always inspiring 🙂 look forward to the publishing of your book what a gift for the world

  4. i like what you have described as “part” and the breakdown of emotions. perhaps for me it will be very helpful as i tend to often have a lot of emotions happen at one time. if i am to slow down and process the emotions i can see that i would have a clearer response and understanding of my interactions.thankyou….

  5. I have had a bit of a sleep-in this morning and a part of me feels okay about this and another part of me is offering supportive. The supportive part is enjoying the sound of the rain falling and allowing my ambitious part to take a break……ah! But my frequent visitor my early morning part…. Alone in my bed my fearful lonely heart part …. is still hovering close by and another part is grateful that I am alone. And, still another part is making a list of the jobs that “should be” attended to. Yes, so many parts and exploring them brings a range of emotions and feelings to the surface. But which part is submerged and not being recognized? I can easily notice the part of me that feels the urge to be laughing and crying at the same time…..

    Prior to this writing Iam glad I read your response to Brian’s comment above. And, I also appreciate Brian’s reference to Rumi. Rumi has so captured the essence of poetic scripting of the parts of our inner human world. I appreciate the part of me that finds solace in Rumi’s writings. The sad reflective part of me finds solace in knowing many of us humans have the ongoing yearning parts…the sense of struggle best described as “life’s longing for itself”.

    So this is a little off track but my point is your response to Brian’s comment provides the pathway with the “parts” framework. I believe you have explained to Brian that the next logical step to “the parts” is improved capacity for change. With our parts explored hopefully we can change, or shift our inner world.

    With improved awareness perhaps I can choose to acknowledge and provide compassion and understanding for those parts of myself that are no longer necessary or helpful. Perhaps as Virginai Satir so wisely seemed to propose in Family Therapy. The key to Family Therapy or in this case a ” family of parts” is to start from what is currently transpiring. It takes some time to become aware of the parts of this family that play a role in limiting my life experiences. Change is dependent on acknowledging the role the parts play. Ugh…a part of me feels capable and a part of me if totally discouraged!!

    And, of course a part of me feels desperate to have more connections with other humans that are on this path. And, a part of me is simply able to let go and let God! I think my Cinderella part is fearful of being Less Than! And this brings up the other part which is perhaps fearful of being undeserving as well.

    Thank you Pietro. The future is ours to see!!! A part of me ends this with laughing at the silly ways I address life.

    • Thank you for your comment. You anticipate well, Judith, the eventual step in working with parts is ‘improved capacity for change. In the initial stages of working with personal growth slowing down the process and close self-analysis is usually needed. Consequently, it may be necessary to look at the various roles of our individual parts. But this becomes less necessary as we learn to address these parts of ourselves. The next blog coming out this Friday will provide some hints on how to begin addressing parts of ourselves, and we will be discussing this is in much greater depth in the forthcoming chapter excerpts. Knowing how to address our parts is one of the keys to self-satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

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