“Allow yourself to think in terms of all your parts, the ones with which you are very familiar, the ones which have not been developed and the ones which you may not even know exist. Think of each of your parts as a resource, regardless of whether it is the same or different from anyone else’s or whether you consider it bad or good. Whatever you have represents new possibilities of yourself.” Virginia Satir
One night my husband and I were at the casino and while waiting for the Big Band music to start, (we love to Jitterbug) we began playing the slot machines.
After about ten minutes, I said to my husband, “Honey, why doesn't this machine honor my pairs?”
He said, “Poker doesn’t pay on small pairs.”
I said that I wasn't playing poker.
My husband inquired, “Well, what are you playing?”
“Gin Rummy,” I replied rather indignantly. I glared at him, as he fell off of his stool in gales of laughter.
“Honey,” he said, “There is no slot machine on the planet that plays Gin Rummy.”
Ok, so now I get it. But honestly, I have come to love this bumbling part of myself that innocently manages to get through life. I especially appreciate this aspect which holds deep compassion for all things imperfect, even downright defective.
So tell me, do you have any bumbling parts that embarrass, disappoint or even frighten you? Well then, grab a cup of tea and let’s chat awhile. I want to know what makes it difficult or easy for you to find self-acceptance or self-compassion.
Like me, perhaps you experience roles/parts/aspects of yourself that just give you fits. For example, do you ever find yourself berating or trying to hog tie certain parts of yourself only to find that they get louder and even more demanding?
I want to talk about cultivating a self-compassionate heart. Religions tell us not to judge, to have compassion for others, but what about for ourselves. How do we cultivate compassion for ourselves? Especially for those troublesome parts!
That is exactly what my blog is about. The more I compassionately accept the parts of myself that get frustrated, angry, judgmental, and hateful, the more freedom I have to change my behaviors.
Here are a few facets of my personality that have caused me sleepless nights until I learned to get to know these aspects and how they endeavor to serve me.
I have a task driven part. Give it a job to do and it will drag, push, or even ram its way through any obstacle, including people, to get the job done. This part behaves like a machine. It has no feelings. When in charge, it is not in relationship with people; in fact it’s barely connected to me. It focuses on the end result−often dragging me kicking and screaming−along for the ride. Viewing this part from a place of compassion, I was able to see how it got me through two Masters’ degrees in spite of a diagnosis (twice) of borderline retardation (their words.)
That brings me to another part of myself I affectionately call, “the mess.” I can’t spell. I read words by memorization instead of phonetically and certain parts of speech confound me. This aspect of me is truly inept. It clearly can't play "poker" but it overflows with compassion.
We usually don't think of our character defects or troublesome parts as trying to serve us in some way. Once we get to know these various components, even the most undesirable ones, they will show us their redeeming qualities.
Satir, Virginia. Your Many Faces. Celestial Arts. Millbrae, California (1978)