Last month, we talked about internal family systems, which is the idea that we have different parts within ourselves that are often in conflict. For example, there may be part of you that feels betrayed and excluded when you find out your two best friends went out to dinner without you, while another part of you completely understands, does not take it personally, and is happy your two friends are able to connect with each other so well. You may be confused how you can feel both things so strongly at once. We all have an inner child who craves love and approval, and is sensitive to any signs of rejection or critique. We also have a protector side that is quick to come out to defend this sensitive inner child. This is often the side that comes out during an argument, or is your first reaction to a rude email. When we pause and breathe instead of reacting immediately, we are often able to summon up a part of ourselves that is wiser and more equipped at peacefully handling the situation. This part has more empathy and understanding for the person on the other end of the conflict. Some people consider this side of themselves their “higher self.” The higher self is the part of you that is less affected by your ego and sees things from a broader perspective. This part is able to interact with the world from a deeper place of love and understanding. This part is always in reach, but it may take some practice to be able to summon it when needed. When you are in a difficult situation, practice taking a pause to breathe, and simply asking your higher self to make an appearance. You can ask yourself, “What would my higher self do?” The more you practice this over time, the more naturally your higher self will come to you. You will slowly begin to experience more of your life from this place. When we can step into our higher selves, we are stepping into wisdom, maturity, empathy, and love.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, there are many online resources that may be helpful. We recommend the spiritual coach Bunny Michael, who has a book, podcast, and Instagram page which explore the concept of the higher self.