Focusing Tip #404: When a part wants to censor your process…

Focusing Tip #404: When a part wants to censor your process…
November 12, 2013 Ann Weiser Cornell

“Who wants a Focusing partner with a vicious crocodile inside?”


Clarissa writes:
In Focusing with a partner I notice a part in me wanting to censor what comes up. “What will the other person think of me?!” Something in me is very worried about it. For example this week what came was an aggressive vicious crocodile. It wanted space and distance, not to be approached too closely. Part of me says, why can’t this be a nice pretty cat, for example?

I don’t understand why my Focusing process is bringing up a kind of animal that I would never want to own! It’s embarrassing to describe thecrocodile, hissing and showing its big teeth. I stopped describing it. What’s coming feels too revealing of characteristics that feel shameful and unsavory. Who wants a partner with this inside?

I am not sure how to move forward with this part that wants to censor, that judges what’s coming and feels ashamed of it. Something in me wants to present only fluffy, cute bunnies. How do I move forward with this going on?

Dear Clarissa,
I feel sad when I think of how many people believe that they can be judged as “good” or “bad” depending on what images and feelings they have. Going in that direction, hiding or censoring our true feelings from those who are simply there to hear them, leads to nothing but stuckness. There is no way forward from there.

If your body process shows you a crocodile, that means that something in you or your life feels like a crocodile. And this is simply true. With the truth, acknowledged as it is, there IS a way forward. You can feel the relief when you say, inside, “Yes, I see you. That is how it feels right now.”

It is that way for a good reason. This much we know. If we cover it up, paint nice bunny pictures over it, we will never find out.

Reality is fascinating.

You worry that your Focusing partners would rather hear about a cute bunny than a ravenous crocodile. I doubt it!

In all my years as a Focusing partner, I’ve been endlessly fascinated by the variety and richness of what comes in people’s Focusing. Or sometimes there are long periods of silence. That’s OK too. As long as what is going on is real, I’m totally interested. It’s never boring or scary.

The great Carl Rogers once said, when a research project gave potentially disappointing results: “The facts are friendly.” What is true, what is real, in our process, always has a doorway in it into forward movement.

Your question reminds me of the “fixed mindset” people in the research done by Carol Dweck. If they thought they could not change or improve on their basic abilities, they tended to hide and hold back. When people had a “growth mindset,” they weren’t afraid to fail because mistakes opened up fresh possibilities. Her book is Mindset and I highly recommend it.

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