Does it work best to speak TO the various inner parts of you, or ABOUT them?

Does it work best to speak TO the various inner parts of you, or ABOUT them?
April 6, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #554

“At times I feel confused about how this language works…”

Nancy writes:

I think one of the most helpful aspects of Inner Relationship Focusing is the use of language to create an inner relationship between Self-in-Presence and each “something in me.” This clarifies that I am not identical with what is arising in me right now.

At times I feel confused about how this language works. For instance, when something in me arises, I might say “Hello” to it. This acknowledges it. Now I am speaking directly TO it. However, I might also say, “I am saying hello to it.” This is speaking ABOUT it, not directly to it. To whom am I speaking in this case?

Can you clarify this use of language in terms of when to speak directly TO something in me and when to speak ABOUT something in me to someone else, and who that someone else is, and how to make these distinctions?

Dear Nancy:

Great question! You know I love thinking & talking about language.

One easy answer is that the two forms – saying “Hello” inwardly to something you feel, vs. saying “I am saying Hello to it” – are both fine, and some people prefer one or the other.

Another answer is: do both. Say one inwardly, and the other out loud to narrate what is being done inwardly.

Saying out loud what is occurring inwardly can be a way to stay connected to inner felt experience. We call this narration.

If you are working with a Focusing partner, it might seem that you are narrating for that person… describing what you are feeling, reporting what you are doing (e.g. saying Hello), describing what happens next.

But narration is primarily done so that Focusing stays on track, and is just as valuable for people Focusing alone as Focusing with a partner.

(Tip for Focusing alone: Speak out loud so you can hear yourself. This also helps you stay on track.)

The direct inner contact – “Hello to you” – can be done out loud, but I prefer to do it inwardly. The outer narration – “I am saying Hello to it” – is better done out loud. This keeps the two channels separate. When I say out loud “I am saying Hello to it,” I am saying Hello to it at the same time.

Both modes are supporting the inner relationship which is the powerful crucible of positive life change.


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