In my own journey of recovering from trauma this past year, my therapist recommended to me the work of Richard Schwartz. Richard Schwartz is the author of the book, “No Bad Parts”, a book I highly recommend. Richard noticed in working with his patients that they would often describe their experiences using the words, “part of me”. You have likely found yourself using this language as well. You might say, “Part of me wants to do this and part of me doesn’t. This sparked curiosity in Richard to explore this further. He began asking his patients to go inward and to identify these parts and speak with these different parts inside. After decades of working with thousands of patients, many of which were even in jail for the most heinous of crimes, he has confidently proclaimed that there are “no bad parts”. (Thus the title of his book). He says, there are no bad parts. Only wounded parts of ourself. Perhaps most powerful, is that Richards method for healing these parts of ourself, has everything to do with love and acceptance.
He says in his book,
“…What I found is that love is the answer in the inner world, just as it is in the outer world. Listening to, embracing, and loving parts allows them to heal and transform as much as it does for people.
Through a Christian lens, people wind up doing in the inner world what Jesus did in the outer–they go to inner exiles and enemies with love, heal them, and bring them home, just as he did with the lepers, the poor, and the outcasts.
The big conclusion here is that parts are not what they have been commonly thought to be. They’re not cognitive adaptations or sinful impulses. Instead, parts are sacred, spiritual beings and they deserve to be treated as such.
It’s all parallel–how we relate in the inner world will be how we relate in the outer. If we can appreciate and have compassion for our parts, even for the ones we’ve considered to be enemies, we can do the same for people who resemble them. On the other hand, if we hate or disdain our parts, we’ll do the same with anyone who reminds us of them.”
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t immediately relate with the concept of having parts inside yourself. We’ve all used this language before. I love this language and find it so revealing. Think about it…If you have a “part” of something, it means that it has broken away from the whole.
We describe sin as separation from God. A part of us has broken away from the wholeness of our Divine self. This part broke away and became wounded. Throughout life, we will experience many “parts” of ourself that separate or break off from the wholeness of our divine self. I may have the 7 year old part of me that was bullied on the bus and learned not to trust people. I could have the 17 year old part of me that was rejected by my friends and believed she didn’t belong. These parts can in effect get frozen in time and hold to their beliefs even though I keep getting older and having more life experiences. These parts show up at inopportune moments and cause outbursts or tension in my relationships, because they are still wounded and haven’t healed.
I find it interesting that the remaining half of the verse in Mosiah 3:16 focuses on the need to become as a little child. Could part of our healing the wounded self require us to become as a child as a re-union of healing the child within? The child who separated and is now a part from the wholeness of our divine self?
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love…”
It now seems obvious to me that this is how you love the enemy. This is how you love the wounded self. As a co creator with God you access the power of the atonement of Christ, and you become as a child by reuniting with the child within you. You submit, you show meekness, you humbly and patiently offer love to these wounded parts within.
So how do you actually go about doing this? Richard Schwartz does this through guided meditations, so of course I love this process even more. For this reason, I highly recommend getting the audio version of the book so you can listen to the guided meditations he takes you through and do this for yourself. I fully plan on creating my own guided meditations for the C Create app to help do this as well. The other option is to work with a trained therapist who specializes in IFS (Internal Family Systems), the name Schwartz has given for his model of working with the parts inside you.
I’ve done a lot of “parts” work in my own personal meditation time and it has been life changing. Heart changing. Soul changing. I’m learning to go to these parts inside me that for so long I have seen as the enemy and offer love and compassion instead.
Friends, God loves all parts of you. Even, and perhaps especially, the natural man. The wounded self. I believe this, because this is what Jesus teaches. He teaches us to love our enemies. This is how together with Christ you heal yourself. You cannot heal a part of you that you reject and cast away. Thats not love. That’s fear. Love is what heals and transforms and reunites. Wholeness isn’t so much an experience of the bad being cast out, as it is healing the wounded part and reuniting to become whole again. Loving that part enough for it to feel safe to come back. Loving that part enough to teach it what is true so it can let go of the false beliefs or traditions that have held it hostage and separated for so long.
The hallmark mantra I teach all of my meditation students is the “I love and accept you” mantra. Interestingly, the most common resistance my students have to this mantra is not usually the I love you part, it’s the acceptance part. They are afraid to accept the parts of themself they have judged as bad or wicked. This is the enemy.
However, true love and acceptance go hand in hand. I can’t offer love and rejection. It’s like trying to force a round peg through a square whole. This is the number one misunderstanding I have had of who God is. How can God love us but also reject us? Knowing that God loves the enemies inside of me has solved this mystery for me. God really does love all of me. And God loves all of you. This is how God heals you. But the full healing doesn’t take place until YOU can love all of you. To do this, is to become like God.
To love and accept yourself completely means loving the enemies. Love the wounded self. Doing so brings the healing and wholeness you seek.
As you do this for yourself you gain the ability to do it for others. You learn to love your neighbor as yourself.
You are a creator. Now go Co Create something great.