Monday, May 29, 2006

Exercise: Discovering Subpersonalities

Here is the first exercise I have posted over in the Integral Relationships pod at Zaadz. The exercise is set up for those in relationship, but as I note at one point, you can also use friends, family, coworkers, even people you don't like much -- maybe especially people you don't like much.

Have fun and please post your observations in the comments. You can be anonymous if you want.
One of the ways that we relate with each other is through our subpersonalities or selves (please see my post on this topic – it explains the difference between primary selves and disowned selves).

In our relationships, we tend to be drawn to people who carry our disowned selves (meaning that we project those selves onto our partners because they have traits that we unconsciously associate with our disowned selves). Recognizing these disowned selves is a way to reclaim those projections and in doing so become more whole. This is one of the ways that relationship can act as a teacher for us.

This is the first of two exercises I want to post in helping those who have never worked with subpersonalites (selves) to identify some of those subs. I believe that knowing our subs is an important part of integral relationship. This exercise is from Partnering, by Hal and Sidra Stone. I have modified it slightly for our use.

Judging Your Disowned Self

Think of your current partner (or a previous partner if you are currently single), and think about the ways that person was able to push your buttons. The longer the relationship the better for this exercise. Really identify the ways this person just annoys/annoyed you to no end. What is it about this person that you judge? In which area do you feel superior? Be specifc as you write down the most irritating or reprehensible attribute of this person. When you discover what it is, you have learned about one of your own disowned selves. Flesh it out a bit by looking at how it operates and what motivates it – maybe even have a dialogue with it.

Now look for the oppsite quality in yourself and see how you contrast with your partner. What kind of person are you? What are the qualities that you are proud of having? Write down these qualities. You have just identified one of your primary selves. Again, try to get to know it a little more, give it a name or notice how it feels in your body.

You now have a picture of one of your primary selves and one of your disowned selves. Repeat this exercise as many times as you like. You can also use family members, coworkers, and friends to help you identify disowned selves. The more a person annoys you, the more likely s/he is carrying a disowned self.

Who did you find living inside you?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Post a Comment