Arguing with myself

Roshi under the desk 120817I had a heated argument with myself this morning.

This is our first free weekend in a very long time. I had the idea that I might like to do some writing. Well, one part of me wanted to do some writing. I think. It was hard to tell, because as soon as it had the idea, another part shouted ‘No! I don’t want to write blogs, just because I have to. It’s my day off! Don’t make me!’

This resistant part is familiar to me. It bucks like a horse whenever I try to push it where it doesn’t want to go, especially if it’s on a day off. It’s got really sensitive because it spends quite a lot of the week being dragged around from place to place like a recalcitrant child, regardless of whether it wants to be or not.

My cat Roshi has just come in from outside. He came over to me and stretched his front legs out in greeting. I paused from writing to keep his purr stoked for a while. Roshi often likes to sit in boxes, or on the pink cushion under my desk. He likes to disappear under rugs. He didn’t come over to greet me just now because he thought he ought to. He sits under my desk because he likes it under there. I don’t get the sense that cats do may things because they ‘ought’ to. They are generally uncomplicated beasts.

Alas, we are more complicated than cats. But what we can do, when we get into arguments with ourselves, is begin to sort out what all the different parts want. Rather than ignoring any of our parts and shutting them down or away, we can spend some time working out how we can keep all the different parts comfortable. We can bring them along with us.

This morning, my Recalcitrant Child was worried that I’d turn my whole day off over to the computer, getting sucked into answering emails, or forcing out some dry writing just to meet my obligations as a blogger here. They were valid concerns. The concerns were mostly in response to my Striver part, that was keen to write the blogs as a way of ‘getting a head start on the week’. This Striver part didn’t care at all whether I wanted to do the writing – this simply wasn’t relevant information. My Striver works very hard for me.

Also present, almost out of sight, was my Writer part, who loves stringing words into lines, and who just wanted to play.

Rather than shutting up the Child, I reassured it that I would only write for as long as I wanted to, and that we’d go out and do something fun this afternoon. I reminded the Child that I enjoyed writing. I reminded the Striver that it was my day off, and that I had a quiet week ahead – there was actually no need to ‘get ahead’ – although I appreciated it’s input. They both seemed happier, and so I began. And here I am. I had fun!

And now it’s time to save the other writing I’ve done, to publish this post, and to go on a walk in the winter sunshine.

When do you get into arguments with yourself? What are all the different parts? What do they want or what are they worried about? Can you imagine that the different parts are all trying to help you in their way, even if they do things that cause real problems for you? How could you talk to them all in turn, and find a way to negotiate with them? Could you bring them all along in the decision you make?

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