Focusing Tip #714 – Does my emotion belong to Self-in-Presence or a Part?

Focusing Tip #714 – Does my emotion belong to Self-in-Presence or a Part?
July 29, 2020 Ann Weiser Cornell
Would you treat your emotions differently depending on whether they are about the present or from the past? Read on...

Focusing Tip #714 – Does my emotion belong to Self-in-Presence or a Part?

Would you treat your emotions differently depending on whether they are about the present or from the past? Read on…


Diana writes:

I’ve heard you say that having an emotion doesn’t mean you have a Part. You said that one can be Self-in-Presence and be sad, scared, or angry.

How would I know whether an emotion belongs to Self-in-Presence or a Part? And how do I treat an emotion differently in each case?

Dear Diana:

Emotions are a natural and important aspect of being human (and many animals have emotions too). Emotions connect us with other people and with our own needs. They help us know what is meaningful to us, and they help guide us to action that supports our well-being and that of those around us.

That is, of course, if all goes well.

We can also have inappropriate emotions, that are out of proportion to or don’t fit the actual situation we are in. And that is where “Parts” come in.

If you have ever let fall an innocent remark and had the other person react as if you were attacking them, you know what I mean. If we see the world through the lens of a Part of us, we don’t see clearly. And therefore our emotions often don’t fit what is actually occurring.

So how do you know if an emotion fits the present appropriately, or if it is from a Part?

Well, you often don’t know, at first. The good news is, you don’t have to. You can treat any emotion as something valuable to get to know better. You can pause before acting on any emotion… so that when you do act, you can feel sure you (probably) won’t regret it later.

Just to add an extra nuance, you might have an emotion that is both!

For example, let’s say you are feeling anger at the injustice you see in the world around you today. You pause to feel your anger — and you can feel how fitting it is, and how it connects you with the struggles of others who are your allies. By pausing, you give yourself space to choose actions that are appropriate as well.

But perhaps you can also feel that your anger has an extra edge that is about more than what is happening now. By pausing, you can sense there is a “young” quality to the angry feeling, and you can connect to a Part of you that is angry about what happened to him/her/them a long time ago.

You can acknowledge and give company to the “younger you” who went through those hard times… and at the same time take fitting action in the present. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.

 

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