Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?
For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one, two, three, four, five and six of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:
Tip Six: http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/07/12/tip-six-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyles-who-want-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/
For those of you who did read my other tips, you will recall me saying that over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:
- escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London.
- move from London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.
Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.
Tip for week Seven, identifying and working with subpersonalities to improve your decision making skills:
So what is a subpersonality?
Most of us have had the experience of being ‘taken over’ by a part of ourselves which we didn’t know was there. We say ‘I don’t know what got into me.’
Here are a few short definitions:
1 A semi permanent and semi autonomous region of the personality capable of acting as a person.
2. Subpersonalities are psychological satellites, coexisting as a multitude of lives within the overall medium of our personality. Each subpersonality has a style and a motivation of its own, often strikingly dissimilar from those of the others. Another way of describing it is that subpersonalities are the people inside us and that each of us is a crowd.
Psychologist, Miller Mair offers a more elaborate description:
“Perhaps it is easiest to introduce the idea of ‘self’ as a community of selves’ by referring to the smallest form of community, namely a community of two persons. Most of us have probably, at some time, found ourselves talking or acting as if we were two people rather than one. We talk sometimes of being in ‘two minds’ about something, part of you wanting to do one thing and part wanting to do something else. Quite often we hear people talk of having to ‘battle’ with themselves, as if one aspect of themselves was in conflict with another.”
During my MA training as a Psychotherapist, I was very fortunate to be taught about subpersonalities by Dr John Rowan who has written extensively about this topic. More recently though, at a one day workshop the Trainer, named Peter, was very brave in naming a few of his own subpersonalities: Peter Pan, Perfect Peter, Promiscuous Peter etc.
Below is a collage that I created of my own subpersonalities whilst I was a MA Psychotherapy student.
For example, the angel figure at the bottom of the collage represents my compliant, goody two shoes subpersonality and the headmaster with an accompanying wooden cane at the top of the image symbolizes my inner critic subpersonality.
Do you recall Mr Men, series of children’s books by British author Roger Hargreaves in the 1970s?
The series features characters with names such as Mr Tickle, Mr Happy, Mr Forgetful, Mr Daydream, Mr Uppity, Mr Silly, Mr Messy, Mr Funny, Mr Mean, Mt Chatterbox, Mr Nosey, Mr Greedy, Mr Impossible, Mr Strong, Mr Lazy, Mr Cheerful etc who have personalities and physical attributes based on their names. Perhaps Hargreaves was referring to his own subpersonalities here?
As Stephanie Foley puts it in her very helpful you tube clip:
Subpersonalities are habits or patterns of behaviour that we have followed since childhood: eg inner child, the very responsible one, the rebel, the organiser, the controller, the adventurer, the saboteur, the aesthete or the worker.
By recognising and working with subpersonalities she argues that the conformist can be transformed into someone more adaptable, a rebel tendency can become innovation or maybe the rebel and the conformist can work together and develop a new sense of leadership.
See the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbqZKNsl7A8
Often our subpersonalities are battling with one another and so can cloud our judgements or make us appear indecisive especially in the work place.
So as I see it, if we acquaint ourselves with our subpersonalities we can then identify the perfect environment in which they might blossom and thrive (ie create the ideal soil that promotes grow).
Subsequently we can establish a middle ground between those that are in opposition with one another such as the bully at work and the meek mild subpersonality at home. In other words, attempt to harmonize our subpersonalities so that we feel less fragmented and more whole.
By turning down the volume of the bully at work, the gentler side of one’s personality can emerge in order to make more balanced decisions and a more pleasurable and motivating office environment for work colleagues.
How does this relate to my personal story then?
The inner knowledge of my subpersonalities has helped me enormously to make my life work. In the context of this blog though, I’ll focus on the most appropriate examples.
As I explained earlier, two of the hardest life challenges I have needed to face so far was deciding whether or not to:
- escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and;
- leave behind my hectic London lifestyle and Harley Street Private Practice to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher at my Bristol and Somerset Practices.
The major conflict here was between my overly cautious risk averse subpersonality ‘Cautious Karen’ and my adventurer and thirst for knowledge and new experiences subpersonality ‘Curious Karen.’
Fortunately, following a number of lengthy debates between the two subpersonalties, Curious Karen managed to persuade Cautious Karen that both decisions would enhance my quality of life and achieve a healthy work life balance.
What can you do about subpersonality inner conflicts?
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you are probably struggling to make decisions as a result of subpersonality internal battles. Naturally, the reason will be different for each person and remember you’re not alone in this very common dilemma…
Take control of your subpersonalities and encourage them talk to one another.
Over to you:
If after reading this blog you are still struggling to reach decisions and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts because of this, don’t panic or give up just yet.
Counselling, psychotherapy sessions or a personal development or mindfulness course can help you. I will also be writing a more detailed blog solely devoted to subpersonalties in the next few weeks so watch this space!!!
So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face counselling or mindfulness sessions why not contact Karen Deeming to arrange an appointment or for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.