Jamais deux sans trois, as the French would say. It seems to me that all my clients are bringing inner conflict to our coaching right now. This is hardly surprising since we all, at times, experience the inner voices that seem to be in conflict with each other. The clues are in our language (“on the one hand… and on the other hand…”), in the way we feel (typically, torn) and in our vision of two diametrically opposed options.
The manifestation of these parts is diverse. For one person it is the part that wants to earn masses of money versus the part for whom money is just not important. For another person it is the part that wants to stay in a job even though it’s desperately dull versus the part that wants to say “to hell with it” and leave in search of something more exciting. For a third person it is the part that wants to share just how much she loves her new partner versus the part that wants to take things one step at a time. Even as I write I wonder if, at root, our conflict is between the part of us that wants to keep us safe and the part of us that seeks adventure – maybe even to pursue our true calling.
Beneath this inner conflict lie assumptions that are untested or which may be understood at some cognitive level and which have not yet been understood or integrated into our bodies or way of being. The mother of all assumptions is, of course, that the causes that our inner voices are championing are mutually exclusive. It’s not unusual for people to recognise and celebrate one part of themselves whilst seeking to repress the other part – and guess what, the part we are least inclined to sponsor always finds a way to express itself, to hold sway.
It’s not often, as a coach, that I offer to step away from pure coaching to provide an intervention from the set pieces of neurolinguistic programming (or NLP). At the same time, I recognise the elegance of NLP’s “parts integration”, which facilitates a dialogue between inner parts in conflict, helping each part to hear the aims of the other and helping both parts to come together to collaborate in meeting aims which were seen as mutually exclusive and are now understood to be perfectly compatible.
In truth, this integration of our inner parts is an ongoing journey rather than a one-off event. It is part of a journey towards self-acceptance and it is significant as a contribution to our inner peace as well as to creating lives that are productive and fulfilling.
If you want to learn more, keep an eye on this blog – I sense this is a topic to which I shall return. If you want to experience the NLP “parts integration”, seek out an NLP Practitioner to support you.