I heard myself say, “I am so tired.” I just felt so exhausted.
I was huddled inside my winter coat, trying to stay warm while I waited for the bus to come. It was a late afternoon in November, and it was raining.
Feeling tired made sense. I had ended a full day of working with clients, and now it was horrible outside and dark. I could have stopped there, but since I was waiting for the bus I chose instead to walk the talk I share with my clients.
I took the opportunity to have an inner dialogue using the IFS method. My clients often ask me what this looks like, so here’s how my conversation went.
A Conversation Between My Self and a Tired Part
Bringing your Self to a part means connecting with a part using the eight qualities of Self. When you extend the Self’s calm, compassion, curiosity, clarity, creativity, connection, courage, and confidence toward a part, the part relaxes feeling the Self’s energy.
I noticed the tired part, and brought my Self to that part. Here I’ve written which Self qualities I used to connect with the part.
Self: So you’re tired right now. What’s happening for you that you are so tired right now? (Curiosity, Calm)
Tired part: I was up so early, and it is so dark and cold I just want to go to bed.
Self: That make sense. What does tired feel like? (Connection, Calm, Curiosity)
Tired part: Well I’m exhausted and I just want to curl up and sleep.
Self: It is hard to be so tired right now. I get why you would just want to sleep (Connection, Compassion, Calm). How would sleeping be helpful? (Curiosity)
Tired part: I would get rest and I could stop thinking.
Self: What is it you want to stop thinking about when you sleep? (Connection, Caring, Curiosity)
(Notice we do not have to figure anything out or solve the problem here. Just allow and wonder.)
Tired part: That I feel sad.
Self: You are tired and sad is that right? (Connection and Befriending this part of myself)
Tired/Sad part: Yes I am sad too.
(Sad and tired separate when they are noticed so you can observe them more clearly.)
Self: What is your sad part telling you right now? (Curiosity, Concern)
Sad part: I wish I was home with my family. I don’t want to work so much. I am tired of being responsible.
Self: Yes, it is hard to get up and go to work everyday. I get that (Compassion). What is it you need? (Curiosity)
Sad part: I want to have some play, some fun. I want to stop being so responsible .
Self: It is clear you are tired and missing having fun, hanging out with your family and just being, is that right? (Clarity, Curiosity, Empathy)
Sad part: Yes that is exactly what I would like more of! But that doesn’t happen when there is so much responsibility and striving.
(Sad part noticing the opposite part that has been leading, striving, and responsible)
Self: I want you to know you are not alone (Connection inside). I am also here listening to you right now. I hear you are sad and tired (Caring Confidence).
You think if you sleep, you will not have to feel sad. But then you will also not get your need met to have play and relaxing time with your family. Which do you think you need more, sleep, or relaxing, play and just hanging around time? (Curiosity)
Sad part: I would like relaxing and play.
Self: I will plan to check in with you more often and see how you are doing. I value what you are telling me. I can meet with my striving part and responsibility part and see why it’s so strong right now. I can see if there is anything that I can do that could bring more relaxing and family time into our life. (Caring, Compassion, Connection)
We can keep the dialogue open and see if we can meet the needs you bring up and the needs of the striving and responsibility parts (Connection). I wonder what this new balance can look like (Inviting Creativity). I appreciate you advising me on this and I will stay connected with you and check back in. It is best if you stand next to me and be sad. If you overwhelm me with sadness and there is only sadness, it will be difficult to listen and help.
Until we can find balance, I will check in every day with you and see how you are and what you want to tell me (Connection, Caring, Calm, Confidence).
Now It’s Your Turn: Step into Self Leadership
The next time you feel tired or sad, try to connect with that part, hear what it needs, and see what you can do for it.
- Feel Sad
- Turn inward
- Get curious is a new way about “What is this sadness?”
- Feel it and befriend it
- Here what it needs and see what you can do for it.
This is putting your Self back in charge and letting your sadness step back and know its needs will be noticed and cared for.