I had some super useful feedback from a dear friend of mine about my manuscript. She took time and care to read through the whole thing (80,000+ words) and give constructive feedback in a short space of time.
Two things arise for me:
- Deep gratitude for her support. I so get her burning desire to see this book out in the world and for it to be the very best it can be.
- Deflation… because there is more work to do. And of course there is. I was even delaying sending it to her because I knew I needed to do another round of revisions. But even though intellectually I know that all the points she made are valid and she put it across as gently as possible, I am still in a difficult place (and this is a dear friend, right, what’s going to happen when an editor takes a red pen to it?!!!).
As I was reflecting on my reaction, I remembered an exercise I did a few years ago at a workshop. It was designed to explore our sub-personalities. We focused on two. My first one came as no surprise. It was ‘a headless chicken’ one. I ran around in overwhelm holding my head and complaining how much there was to do and how I wasn’t coping. The second one was a shocker. I sat back on a chair and pointed at another participant in the group.
‘You! Get me a cappuccino. Make sure it’s extra hot.’ The man just stared at me in disbelief. Even I couldn’t believe my own ears. I was on a roll though. ‘Oh, and make it snappy! And you,’ I barked at another participant. ‘Move out of my way. You are obscuring my sea view.’
Wow, what the hell? Was my body possessed for a minute or something? The truth is I have that sub-personality. It is not welcome here, and very rarely comes out to play. Yet, this is not who I am. This is just a tiny part of me.
The same goes to my deflated part. It’s the one who runs the story: ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘however hard I work it’s never enough.’ I don’t even believe the story anymore, but it holds that energy.
The suffering happens when we over-identify with those sub-personalities, when we think we are the headless chicken or a part that wants to give up. It’s healthy to acknowledge that they are there and then… remind ourselves that we are a bigger container that holds ‘headless chicken’, ‘diva’, ‘deflated’, ‘the observer’, and many more. If we live from this place of awareness and self-compassion, our responses to life events may become a lot healthier.