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Focusing Tip #715 – Is Self-in-Presence just for Focusing… or is it a way to live?

Do we need our emotions in order to live our lives? Read on…

Jen writes:

I read just about all of your tips and they’re great but last week’s one (#714) has really confused me.

I thought Self-in-Presence was an aware state of being from which you sense the emotions of parts. I didn’t realize that one could have an emotion like anger or sadness while being Self-in-Presence. I understand the difference between the feeling of a young part and a feeling of, say, frustration or anger about what’s happening in the world, but I was under the impression that both came from ‘parts’. I thought as Self-in-Presence we only feel compassion.

Dear Jen:

When Barbara McGavin and I created the concept of Self-in-Presence, at first it was as you say.

Self-in-Presence was our name for the ability to be present compassionately with any Part of us, without taking sides or being judgmental. We discovered (confirmed) that this was the key environment of positive change. And that was within a Focusing process.

But very soon the question arose: Then how do we live our lives? Not only while doing Focusing, but while interacting with others, making choices about what to do or say. Who makes those choices?

Yes, your Parts can make choices (if you’ve gotten merged with them). Like choosing to order a second dessert or choosing to hit SEND on that nasty email. But it’s not a good idea to let our Parts be in charge of our actions.

Who then? Self-in-Presence, obviously.

We realized that we wanted to live our lives from a place of Self-in-Presence.

We wanted our choices to be made from the calm, wide perspective that Self-in-Presence brings.

The next thing we realized is that not all emotions come from Parts.

Emotions are a natural part of living. To feel joy, sadness, fear, anger… in the relationships and situations we are living… is not just natural, it’s vital. A person unable to feel emotions is as disadvantaged as a person who cannot feel pain. Emotions connect us to our own needs and they call us to our connections with others.

I would say that there are some emotions that are always “parts-y”. Hate is one. And many instances of shame. But for most emotions, just because you feel one, doesn’t mean you have a Part. Maybe it’s what YOU feel.



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