“What are you afraid would happen if you didn’t do what you do so well?”
That’s what you want to ask a part of you that’s too big. Before you can ask your part the question, however, you need the some context.
You know how it feels to be blended with a part of you
You know how it feels to be blended with a part. That’s when one of your parts gets so big it takes over your whole inner family of different parts. You feel like you are only that one part: angry, frustrated, sad, etc. Feeling Calm in your Self is when that whole inner family has harmony working together.
When this emotional part takes over, however, you feel bad. It’s like a part of you is taking the solo, but at the wrong point in the song! It’s noisy and upsetting and that lovely Self harmony trails off.
Let’s relate this to everyday life, by naming this part your people-pleasing part. The one who goes out of its way to make everyone else happy, but never quite gets around to making you happy. We’ll call this part “Bend-Over-Backwards” or BOB, for short.
Imagine that it’s your birthday. You’ve put together a nice evening for you and a friend to go out on the town. Dinner at your favorite seafood spot followed by a trip to the karaoke bar.
But suddenly the friend decides it’s too hot to go out and that you two should just order delivery. At her apartment. Downtown. Three flights up, no elevator. Instead of saying, “That’s not what I want to do for my birthday,” BOB rushes in to smooth things over.
As your BOB part works harder and harder to accommodate the new plans, other parts of you get resentful. “Hey, it’s our birthday! Why doesn’t my friend understand that?” But BOB keeps doing his thing until all the plans fall apart and you end up staying home for your birthday, taken over by another part of you, feeling sad and abandoned.
Now it’s time to ask yourself the question: “What are you afraid would happen “BOB” if you didn’t do what you do in these situations?”
What if I told you that even though BOB is a part of you and wants to lead at certain moments, he doesn’t have to?
I want you to ask BOB this question: What are you afraid would happen if you didn’t do what you normally do?
What if BOB didn’t, well, BOB? What if he stopped accommodating everyone but you? Ask BOB this very question.
You want to be fully seated in Self qualities of Calm and Caring to connect with this part of you. When BOB feels the caring connection of Self, he’ll trust you to hear from him what his good intention is for you when he is in full people-pleasing mode.
Self: What’s happening for you that you got so big, BOB?
BOB: I was trying to make the best out of how plans evolved. I wanted to make things easy for people.
Self: I notice you do that a lot, and you end up feeling so bad and so sad. What are you afraid would happen if you stopped bending over backwards for others?
BOB:I’m afraid that they won’t want to be my friends.
Self:That make sense. You would feel sad if you think that they wouldn’t stay friends with you.
BOB: Yes. Why is my friend’s happiness more important than my own? And in the end, I’m making myself miserable.
Self: You are good at taking care of others. What would happen if you experimented with intentionally including yourself in that equation of caring? Begin by noticing yourself, too.
The Upside of BOB
Remember: there are no bad parts of you. Even BOB. BOB isn’t bad. He’s just trying to protect you from feeling the sadness of friends who let you down.
Instead of BOB getting too big, let BOB feel the power of your Self energy, which will help him relax. BOB won’t need to work so hard to protect you.
Later, Self can get to know what parts of you BOB is protecting you from feeling.
When you can cultivate Calm, Compassionate and Curiosity towards your different extreme ways of being, you begin to learn more about yourself. Feeling better in yourself will guide you to your best possible outcomes in your life.
What about your “BOB”?
Seeing these extreme reactions as different parts of you is when you begin to know yourself better. Take a moment and consider: Are you an emotional eater? Do you paint your inner world with negative self talk? Retort with sarcastic, short responses when irritated?
See these behaviors as a part that has good intentions for you, but it isn’t working out that way in your life.
Have an inner dialogue. Use your parts as advisors. You will discover a larger perspective: a whole new world or a better way of being in this world.