We treat our exiled parts of our psyche like an untrained puppy:
When we’re young, we love them and play with them—until they pee on the couch, chew our mom’s shoes, or tear up the furniture. Then we shame, scold, and neglect them.
But you can never be complete without accepting these exiled parts of yourself. Not to mention, accepting them unlocks more happiness, fulfillment, and love than anything else you could try.
In this episode, you’ll discover how to know, understand, and heal parts of yourself you disowned in the past.
Show highlights include:
- How to feel love, worthiness, and happiness every single day (without running the endless treadmill of self-improvement) (10:42)
- The insidious way self-improvement creates a background level of anxiety you always feel (12:20)
- The “Untrained Puppy” secret that explains why you shame your most vulnerable parts (and how accepting them makes you as happy as a loved puppy) (14:30)
- How your parents accidentally brainwashed you into loathing parts of yourself (even if they did so out of love) (14:49)
- Why making more money won’t fulfill you like you think and actually leads to a wicked form of depression (19:50)
- How self-therapy sabotages your confidence and happiness (especially if you think you’ll be successful with it) (26:36)
- Why hanging out with toddlers makes you more attractive to women than years of self-improvement work (35:29)
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: In this episode, I’m going to try something a little different and see how it goes.
Once upon a time, there was a child. This child longed for a companion to play with him, to run and jump and roll in the long grass, to snuggle up with on a cold winter’s evening, to tell secrets to, and he was lucky, because, one day, much to his delight, he was given a beautiful puppy with a shining coat and sparkling eyes and a big doggy grin on its face.
The child and the dog loved each other so much and they were very happy together. Then, one day, the dog peed on the carpet. The child’s parents were very angry and scolded the dog and told the child that he’d better keep that dog under better control, or who knows what would happen? [01:09.4]
The child did his best to make sure that the dog didn’t get into the good rooms, but, one day, he forgot and left a door open into the living room. Imagine his fear when he came into the room and saw that the dog had chewed almost right through the leg of his mother’s favorite chair. The dog was banished to the porch. If it ever came back into the house, it would have to go. For hours, the child would sit in the cold with the dog, snuggled into its soft warm coat until discovered and told to come into the house and leave that bad dog alone.
One day, the door to the kitchen was left open and the dog was discovered with yet another precious possession in its mouth. This was the last straw. The child’s father took one look at the dog and went to grab it. The child screamed and yelled at the dog. He ran at it and chased it into the woods at the back of the house. [02:05.4]
At first, the dog would try to sneak back into the garden, but the boy’s parents would yell at it and yell at the boy, too, so he began to watch out for it, chasing it away before his parents would spot it. Eventually, the dog stopped coming back.
At first, the child missed his friend terribly, but as the weeks and months passed, the memories of how wonderful he had felt as they played together began to fade. He even started to believe what his parents said about how bad that dog had been. Spring came again and other friends came to the house and asked him to come out and play. Gradually, he began to forget about the dog altogether.
Several years passed and they moved to a different part of the city. One day, the child who was quite grown up by now was walking beside the edge of a big wood. Suddenly, a movement in the dark undergrowth by the edge of the path caught his eye. It was so slight that he wasn’t even sure that he’d seen anything at all, but he was curious, and although he was busy, he thought that he could spare a couple of minutes standing there, watching that place. [03:16.3]
He stayed very still watching where he thought the movement had been. Yes, there was something, but he couldn’t make it out, something just there hidden behind some tall grasses under the trees. Part of him started to become a bit scared. What if it was a bear or a wolf, or a dragon? Part of him was still quite a small child sometimes.
Then he took a moment just to acknowledge that scared feeling in him and he became calm inside again. He brought his attention back to that place where that something was. Now, he could just make out two eyes gleaming in the dark, watching him intently. Very quietly, he whispered a greeting to the creature, “Hello? I can see you’re there. I’m not going to hurt you. I’ll just stay over here,” and very slowly so as not to frighten it, he sat on the ground. [04:18.6]
The shadows lengthened, and still, he sat motionless as a statue, just watching the spot where the two eyes gleamed, and then his patience was rewarded. A furry face emerged slowly. It was so dirty that it was hard to see what kind of an animal it was. The boy could see that it was scared, but also it was wanting to come closer to him.
Gently, he said, “I can sense that you’re scared and you’re wanting to come closer,” and he waited to see what the animal would do next. Creeping on its belly, the creature inched its way forward until its head was almost touching the boy. It was filthy. Its coat was all matted with mud and burrs. [05:09.4]
Part of him wanted to pull away from it, worried about getting his clothes and hands all dirty. But as he looked in its eyes, he could sense how lonely it was, how much it was wanting him to accept it, just the way it was. He tried to sense how it would like him to be with it. It looked as if it wanted him to pet it.
He tentatively put out his hand so that it could sniff him. It gave his hand a little lick and lowered its head into his lap. Gently, he stroked its ears. Now that it had come out of the bushes, he could see that it was a dog, a skinny filthy, frightened, lonely dog.
As he sat with it, he started to sense that there was something familiar about this dog, something familiar about the way it looked into his eyes and laid its head in his lap. As he kept it company, the feeling of familiarity grew and grew like something out of an almost forgotten dream. [06:16.4]
It reminded him of … what was it? Oh, it reminded him of his beautiful dog, the one that had been chased away and disgraced so long ago, but it couldn’t possibly be the same dog. That was such a long time ago. Tears came to his eyes as he remembered how close they had been, how much joy he’d experienced as he played with his dear friend.
He felt a desire to give this dog a hug, but as he moved to embrace it, the dog jumped back and growled. It turned and fled into the dark. The boy was startled, but remembered that it was only doing something like that because it was frightened. It was starting to get late. The sun was beginning to slip below the horizon, so he stood up. But before he turned away, he said into the dark, “Thank you for coming. I’ll be back, so if you want to come and see me again, I’ll be here.” [07:11.8]
Over the following months, the boy returned to the edge of the woods many times. Sometimes the eyes were there waiting for him. Sometimes they came after he’d been there for a while. Sometimes other creatures came to the edge of the woods. He waited patiently, developing a relationship with all that came.
The dog came out of the woods more and more confidently until there was a warm, strong bond between them. He brought food for it and a brush for its coat. Gently, he untangled the burrs and brushed out the dirt until its coat began to softly shine again, and before his eyes, his own beloved friend emerged. Its doggy grin returned. It began to bounce and run and play, and one day it followed him home. [08:06.3]
I love that story. That story is adapted from one called The Dog Story, written by Barbara McGavin, based on a previous writing of it by Anne Weiser Cornell. You can find the version I adapted as well as the original that was written by Anne Weiser Cornell in the book called The Radical Acceptance of Everything: Living a Focusing Life by Ann Weiser Cornell.
I will break down that story for you, in case you didn’t understand all the symbolism and the beautiful imagery, and the deeper meaning for you, as you are on your journey in masculine psychology, and anyone who is familiar with IFS therapy or the therapeutic journey or therapeutic process that I teach in my courses, hopefully, this will be obvious and resonate with you deeply. [08:59.8]
But before I do that, just a quick recap of what we covered in the previous episode because this is a follow on from that, and in the previous episode, we went into the lie of self-improvement, especially in relation to dating and attractiveness and so on, which is a major concern for a big part of my audience. If that’s you and you haven’t listened to the last episode, make sure you do that after you finish this one.
The lie of self-improvement says that if you work hard enough at developing yourself and you keep at it, the self-improvement, the self-help, the personal development, and you keep at it and you keep at it, then, finally, one day, you’ll become attractive or rich, or have high status, and then you can rest.
There are a lot of parts to the lie. One of the parts is that you can’t actually ever stop. You always have to keep going, you’ve just accepted this treadmill for life, and one big sign of having bought into the line of self-improvement is if you find yourself exhausted and tired on this whole trying to improve yourself, fix yourself journey. [10:04.0]
The biggest part of this lie is that if you finally get this pot of gold at the end of this rainbow that takes many, many years, maybe your whole life, to achieve—you finally are attractive, rich and high-status—then, actually, the assumption is you’ll finally feel something, because it’s not just about getting pieces of paper, like money, right? And it’s not just being attractive that makes you work so hard.
What we’re really after and what we really need, what we’re hoping to God will actually come to us once we attain this goal, this thing that’s at the end of this journey, this arduous journey of self-improvement of being attractive, rich and high-status or whatever it is, is feelings, these feelings of love, of being enough, of fulfillment, of happiness, of worthiness. [10:56.0]
And what if you could get all the gold at the end of the rainbow, that love, fulfillment, connection, happiness, significance, worthiness, directly, immediately, get it first without having to do all of these years or decades or a lifetime of beating yourself up to improve yourself, self-help, personal development, only to get these intermediate goals that are supposed to lead to this feeling of being enough, of significance, of worthiness, of love, connection, fulfillment, and happiness.?
And what if you could feel those, all of those, consistently and get to them directly, without having to run the treadmill of self-improvement? And what if buying into the lie of self-improvement blinded you to the fact that they’re right there, waiting for you to claim? The love, fulfillment, happiness, worthiness, significance, and connection are right there for you to claim, but, instead, you go on this long arduous journey that doesn’t even get you there, and instead forces you to settle for these intermediate goals or goods that don’t actually lead directly to those feelings that you really need and want. [12:10.3]
Wouldn’t that be such a tragedy to be blinded to this, this goal that’s right there in front of you? That is, in fact, you that you’re standing right on top of and so many people waste their lives lost in achievement into their thirties, their forties, their fifties, and never actually feeling in a consistent way as they’re a default state that love, fulfillment, satisfaction, significance, worthiness that they’re striving so hard to experience.
Instead, they’re living lives of constant background anxiety of striving, because of the fear that, otherwise, they won’t be enough, that they won’t get those good feelings that they’re just hoping that they can experience more consistently … [13:02.6]
And finally rest, because, in fact, many parts of them are exhausted from this relentless constant beating yourself up in the hopes that you will finally make it, you’ll finally be somebody or you’ll finally prove that you are enough or worthy, or significant, and by doing so, then finally attain that unconditional love that we’re all actually yearning for unconsciously and consciously.
That would be such a tragedy to waste your whole life and never discover this or never experience it and never see it or never understand it, and that’s why I’m doing this episode, the last episode and a lot of the episodes in the Masculine Psychology podcast so far, because it would be such a great tragedy to spend your whole life working so hard, slaving away, striving so hard, sacrificing so much, in the effort to get what you want, only to get what you think you want, but not what you need, and most people who begin the self-development journey don’t even get what they think they want. [14:11.6]
What do we really need then and how can we get it, and how can getting what we need also lead us to getting what we want? Just for the sake of focusing this analysis, I’m going to hone in on or concentrate on the application to becoming attractive.
The dog story begins with a child getting a puppy and the puppy represents this vulnerable part of us or it could represent parts in us that are spontaneous, adventurous, fun-loving, playful, and innocent and trusting, and so on. What happens in the dog story is that the puppy does what puppies do. They pee on the carpet. They tear up furniture. They chew up shoes and all that. [14:59.7]
The parents’ reactions, the parents in the story represent our parents, obviously, but also this could be bad teachers. It could be society at large. It could be aunts or uncles, or grandparents or any adult-type of figure, or it could also be bullies, any outside force that shamed us into trying to be something that we are not in order to keep that attention or connection.
As a result, as we adapt how we are, we lose parts of ourselves, and in the dog story, we were forced to chase away a part of us ourselves that was kind of playful, wild, fun and fun-loving, and innocent and spontaneous. Instead, we were told to be obedient and told to be convenient for parents to take care of, not to be messy and wild and all of that, and we exile parts of ourselves. [15:59.6]
Achievers exile their wild rebellious parts often, though you could have a rebellious achiever, but most achievers are pleaser-type of achievers who became achievers in order to please the parent figures or to fit in or get attention or the admiration of those we craved it from, maybe teachers and relatives.
So, we also have these little puppies, these parts of ourselves that were fun-loving that were forced out of us as a result of socialization or tense parenting, stressful parenting, and very often, it’s because the parents or the parent figures, or the teachers or whatever, were doing this out of their own shame and fear of their own disowned parts, their disowned, exiled parts.
The imagery here is of how exiling happens when we’re young and is beautifully told by Barbara McGavin who wrote the original that I adapted, what it’s like over the years, what it’s like to exile a part. At first, the child missed her friend terribly. The original has it as a female. [17:15.5]
She missed her friend terribly, but as the weeks and months passed, the memories of how wonderful she had felt as they played together began to fade. She even started to believe what her parents said about how bad that dog had been, about how bad you were as a little girl, a little boy. Maybe the little boy shouts out loud a lot out of exuberant joy, but the parents are so ashamed of others looking at them in a restaurant that they shush the boy and punish him, and make him feel bad for expressing his natural joy. Then the way that it gradually happened was, gradually, she began to forget about the dog altogether. [17:51.0]
Now, that’s the first third of the story and most people’s stories end there, it’s very unfortunate, and they wonder, Where is my natural zest for life? Where is my joy, my spontaneity, my love and connection that I have inside me naturally? And they don’t even know what that could be because they’ve lost it, because they’ve been forced to adapt how they were, which included or necessitated disowning the parts of themselves that were necessary to experience that love for themselves.
Loving yourself is a prerequisite for experiencing and creating a successful long-term relationship. You might have heard this. It’s one of those memes that get passed around from therapists and all that on Instagram or whatever, and it’s true, but most people have no idea what that really means because they’ve lost these parts of themselves. [18:47.0]
They’ve had them exiled or they exiled them, not on purpose or sometimes on purpose, and they’ve disowned them because they weren’t pleasing to the parent figures that they needed to please back then, because as a child, as a young child, you were relatively powerless compared to these big, tall adults who wielded all of the freedom in authority and you just had to obey or, otherwise, you’d get punished, and instead of being punished, which sucks and is very painful and can be incredibly painful and traumatic, it’d be easier to just disown, exile or banish parts of ourselves that these parent figures don’t like.
But, unfortunately, those parts of ourselves are necessary to complete ourselves to actually experience those beautiful qualities that are attractive and that are, more importantly, necessary for life fulfillment and a deep abiding happiness, and a sense of significance. [19:49.7]
Maybe the one that most puzzles achievers and they start off with the question, “Why should I do therapy? What will it give me?” because they’re so focused on making money and thinking that making money will finally make them feel enough and happy, only to spend, sacrifice 20, 30 years of their lives—and, hopefully, they actually get the money; most don’t—and then wonder, Hey, how come I’m still not happy? How come I’m still anxious or depressed, or whatever? It’s because they’re stuck on that first third of the story and that’s it. That’s all it is for them. They never got to meet the little dog that’s still in the forest of their mind, hiding, banished and afraid.
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The middle third of the story is a description of what it’s like in the therapeutic process and encountering one of your exiled parts, and this would be a part that was there from when you were very young.
Now, there are a lot of things to notice in the story, especially the way of being with and gently approaching this vulnerable exiled part, so just drawing attention to that, all of the gentle way of being with it. But what I also want to point out that may not have been picked up when you first listened to it is how other parts of you showed up to be with or in relation to or triggered by encountering this young, exiled and vulnerable part, and it starts with the child now grown up being curious. [22:05.2]
That’s often one of the first characteristics that show up, and if you know, IFS therapy, you know about the eight Cs of the Self and that’s often the first one that is most successful, curiosity, before compassion, even, just being curious and staying with that curiosity.
As he’s curious there, some other parts come out, and there’s a part of her that became a bit scared and wondered, What if it’s a bear or a wolf for a dragon? That’s an example of other parts or a part of him that is frightened of vulnerability and this is very common in achievers who think they’re all tough and disciplined in lots of willpower, but they’re actually really scared.
They’re afraid, and sometimes I like to point that out just to challenge them a bit, because they think they’re so tough and they don’t need to be vulnerable, but they’re afraid of vulnerability—or it could be other parts that are afraid of this exile of what it might bring, but, in this case, the example is thinking that the exile is a dangerous part because it could be very powerful, like a bear, a wolf or a dragon, and it’s beautiful how it was dealt with. [23:16.8]
Then he took a moment just to acknowledge that scared feeling in him and then calm came back, and calm is another of the qualities of the eight Cs of the Self and you’re looking for, if you were asking, “Can I do the therapeutic work? Am I proceeding along the process?” what you’re constantly checking in for are those qualities of this, the true self, the higher self of, for instance, calm and curiosity, and if those are there, then that’s a good sign and you can still be with the part.
If you’ve got fear, then that’s not your true self and that’s another part of you, and you can invite that part to relax back. In this case, it was just the acknowledging of it that allowed that part to say, Okay, okay, you see me, I’ll get it taken care of, and then it was able to relax back. [24:08.0]
Then it says she brought her attention back to that place and that’s a beautiful transition. That’s a beautiful thing. I mean, that’s what happens in the therapeutic process. No matter what other parts come up, a part that’s afraid, a part that’s thinking a lot, trying to analyze things, a part that wants to fix the situation or whatever, once you acknowledge them, “There they are. Okay, I see you. That’s a part. Can you just relax back and trust that I’ve got it?” and let them feel you’re calm and your curiosity and your confidence that you can be with the part, and that you’re not afraid of the part that you’re working with, which in this case is the scared dog, then the other parts can relax because they trust your leadership. You can just then bring your attention back to the target part, which in this case, in the dog story, is the now wild dog, sort of an abandoned dog in the forest. [25:02.0]
Then as the boy got closer and closer to the dog, it was starting to see more and more of the dog, and it was noticing that it was dirty. Now, it’s one thing to notice something is dirty. It’s another thing to be disgusted by it, and that’s what was happening. Part of him wanted to pull away from it, worried about getting dirty, and you might also have parts that think it’s weak or disgusting, or they might feel revulsion at it, and all of those reactions to any of your exiled parts is a sign that you are blended or what we call blended that another part of you is taken over or is there and you’re now identified with it.
So, you can just, again, as always, acknowledge that that’s a part of you and let it know and feel your confidence that you are not afraid of the target part, which in this case is the exiled dog. Then it ought to relax, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay, because then you switch your attention to the part of you that won’t trust you yet and relax back, and that becomes the focus of your attention for that session with your therapist or for that time. [26:11.5]
Again, I highly recommend that you get or you work with a professional experienced therapist in this process, because it’s very difficult to do on your own if you don’t have a lot of experience already, and even if you have a lot of experience, it’s so much easier to be able to work with the therapist’s true self as well, so you then have some guidance while your eyes are closed and you’re sensing inside and so forth. I highly recommend you don’t do self-therapy unless you have already years of experience working with a professional.
I know that I really don’t want to have to give that recommendation because it sounds self-serving. I mean, I am also a certified IFS therapist and I have clients, but I’m just warning because I’ve seen so many people who have done the self-therapy route and I’ve not seen a single one so far who has actually not been led astray, in the sense that when they start actually start doing therapy properly with their therapists one on one, they end up having to unlearn a lot of bad habits of being with their parts. [27:15.3]
The dog story is a great illustration of how the process works. Part of her wanted to pull away from it. Part of her was scared of it and she just acknowledged those parts. I keep switching he and she; it’s originally written, McGavin’s version is a girl. The child acknowledged those parts and then they naturally relaxed back, and then the child was able to be with the dog more and more, and noticing how frightened and lonely the dog actually was.
Then so many guys, you can tell that they haven’t, that they’re not in what we call “in self”. They’re not fully in their higher self when they come with an agenda, like, I just want to fix these exiles. Help me find all the exiles and fix them so I can finally be attractive and I can finally get the girls. They’re still focused on these intermediate goals that they have believed the lie that getting those intermediate goals will finally get them the end goals. [28:13.8]
They’re still too shortsighted, and when that’s there, we know that that’s not their true self. That’s a protector part that they’re identified and blended with, and we try to understand that part that has the agenda and we switch our focus to that part because it won’t relax back, until it trusts enough to relax back, trust the process or trust the therapist’s Self or the client’s Self enough to relax back.
What’s happening here with the dog example, the dog story, is beautiful, because this is how it is a lot closer to how it really happens. The first time the child makes contact with this abandoned dog, with the dog that was exiled, the dog was scared and the child wanted to give the dog a hug, but it ran away. It jumped back and growled, afraid, and out of fear, it becomes angry. Out of fear, it snaps. It growls. Then it turns and flees into the dark. [29:09.4]
No big deal if the girl is or the boy is in Self and it’s simply “Okay, hey, thank you for coming. I’ll be here any time you’re ready to come back,” and so what we do is we ask the client or you, if you encounter any parts that are needing attention to check in with them each day to build that relationship, and this will take months.
The beautiful thing is it’s not really work. It’s not work to be with yourself. This isn’t like self-improvement work where you have to, I don’t know, set aside 10, 20 minutes, even just meditation, which is already really easy, because meditation is so easy. All you’ve got to do is close your eyes and sit still for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever the timer is, five minutes, if you can’t do 10, and you’ve meditated. Okay, it doesn’t matter where your mind goes or whatever; you’ve meditated. [30:01.7]
If your mind goes crazy, thinks a lot of thoughts, perfect. That’s exactly what you needed at that time, because you probably had a very stressful period in your life, and so that’s why your mind is racing. Sometimes after you become more experienced with meditation or maybe you get your life together and you’re not experiencing any life crises, when you sit, maybe you are able to be a lot more calm, great. But that’s not the point of meditation. The point of meditation is just to be with whatever is, and so that’s so easy because you just close your eyes and sit and you do it. You don’t even have to sit per se. There are all kinds of other types of meditation, walking meditation and so on.
Now, checking in with your parts is even easier. It literally could take just one minute, and it’s amazing, all these achievers are like, No, David, give me a one-hour process. Otherwise, it’s not real. Nope, all you’ve got to do is show up to prove to the part that you really do mean to be there for it, that you are really there for it, and the part is so scared to hope, to believe, because it’s been exiled for so long and abandoned. [31:10.7]
It’s afraid to trust again, so you’ve got to build this trust, just like a rescue dog or a shelter dog, or a wild or an abandoned dog. It’s a great example. You build this trust and you just keep coming back, and as you’re coming back in these qualities of the Self of calm, of compassion, of curiosity, of confidence, courage, then these other parts will start to appear and you can be there with them as well, not needing them to change.
But if they don’t like how they are, for instance, in this example, the child brought food for it and a brush for its coat, and she or he untangled the burrs and brushed out the dirt, and those are all ways of caring for the part. Then over time, the part starts to trust and that’s how you build that trusting relationship. [32:01.1]
This doesn’t have to happen just when you’re sitting there meditating or when you’re in your therapy session. It happens by how you take care of those parts inside you, because you’re getting to know them. The more you get to know them over the days, the weeks, the months, the years, the easier it will be to access them, and sometimes if they’re not trusting you when you first meet them, but you know where they are or where they tend to come or where they tend to show up, and you can send love to them, and in that sense, you’re sending love to yourself, obviously, and that’s what it means to love yourself and that’s what it means to connect with yourself. That’s what it means to meet your own needs for love and for connection, and even more surprisingly for our achievers, meeting your own need for significance. [32:47.7]
How do you show the dog that it’s significant? How do you show the little puppy who has been abandoned who is now a wild dog full of fear and doesn’t want to hope, scared, how do you show it that it’s important to you? You show up. You wait. You’re patient because it’s worth it, because it’s a part of you, and it’s a part of you that just wants love and just wants to connect with you, but is so scared to get burned again.
And you understand that, so you stay and you show up again and you show up again, and you bring some things for it and you learn what it likes, and you untangle the burrs and you brush out the dirt on its coat, and you play with it. Maybe, slowly, it’ll trust you and it’ll play longer with you and longer with you, and it will come back more consistently. [33:42.5]
Then, one day, it will follow you home and you can bring it into the present with you out of where it was stuck there in the past, playing over and over in your mind what it feels like to you is replaying those formative experiences that held you back, where some parts of you formed a meaning of how life is or how you are as a result of those formative and maybe traumatic or micro-traumatic experiences where you adapted, how you are in order to get or keep the love and connection or attention of those that you craved it from, and as a result, exiled parts of you and have forgotten that they’re even there, but they are.
I firmly believe that every single person has within them a naturally attractive part or parts, because I’ve seen enough little children and have one of my own right now and I’ve played with enough of them to see that, when we’re born and we begin to understand the world around us and we begin to play, unless we are traumatized or abused, we are naturally open and curious, and trusting, and are empathetic and kind. [35:11.0]
It’s not just from what I’ve seen. There are mountains of research backing this up. I understand that some of this might be too abstract or vague or not scientific enough. That’s fine. That’s for a different episode that we will explore. But, hopefully, through this literary approach, this more artistic approach, this more evocative and symbolic with lots of great imagery approach, it will have resonated with you in illustrating the process of what it’s actually like, what it’s like to experience the therapeutic process. [35:49.7]
For me, personally, it took a little girl who was about two years old at the time that I recognized this where I was babysitting her quite a lot. Actually, I made a whole separate video talking about this. I think I’ve entitled it, “The true meaning of life”, and it’s on our YouTube channel. It took a little girl to point me to my inner-child parts, my little lost dogs in the forest, and like a little guide, she led me there, first having me play with her and then pointing and, in this kind of symbolic way, to the same parts inside me.
Unfortunately, it’s not so straightforwardly replicable to tell anyone else to go fall in love with a little girl or a little child that they babysit, but I’ve also seen the same thing happen for real tough men who allow a dog or puppy into their lives. That can work. I’ve also seen this in first-time fathers that transformation there, though that’s sadly not always necessarily the case, sadly for the children and for the fathers where they don’t actually bond because of their so in their own fears and still stuck in their own insecurities of the achiever’s treadmill, and that’s actually the norm where they pass down their own burdens to the next generation. [37:15.5]
But, hopefully, they will have experienced at least a glimmer of that, of turning towards their own vulnerability as a result of being with a beautiful, innocent child who has these beautiful qualities of play, spontaneity, adventurousness, curiosity, and is open for love and connection, before the world gets to it, before the trauma and the abuse and the neglect, and the limiting beliefs and the false beliefs, and all that other stuff.
Life, I guess, gets to it and it starts to form its fears and clam up, and form its defenses and shields, and exiles, the parts of itself, the parts of themselves that they require in order to be fully integrated and loving, self-loving and feel fully and be able to meet their own needs fully for love and connection and significance. Before all that happens. [38:18.7]
In order to actually meet your own needs, you’re going to have to understand who you are, and part of who you are is these exiled parts that hold your vulnerability and are full of pain and sadness, and fear. Until you get to them and unless you get to them and build a relationship with them, and help them with whatever they need help with and that will come from them, until that happens, you won’t actually be able to meet your own needs, and instead, you’re going to be on this treadmill of trying to meet your needs through these intermediate goals that will never satisfy. [39:00.0]
If you want to avoid that trap, then really embrace the therapeutic process. Replay the beginning of this episode, right? I read out for you and narrate for you the dog story. Let it settle into your unconscious and, hopefully, you will begin the therapeutic process. You can begin by finding a good IFS therapist, a good one. They’re not all good, so you’ve got to try a few and look for one that resonates with you. I made a whole other episode on how to find a good therapist.
You can go through the IFS Therapy Directory, find a therapist that resonates with you, or you can begin through my courses. You can access all of them just in one fell swoop by joining the “Platinum Partnership” and undergoing the therapeutic processes that are in those courses, and they can work in tandem with your therapy work and just committing to it. [39:49.7]
But it’s not supposed to be onerous. It’s not supposed to be work, though calling it that might make it more appealing to some achievers. But what it is is just you meeting yourself, and as you do that, if you do it from the right place, from the perspective of your higher self, accessing more of your true self, then it is the most beautiful, enjoyable, meaningful process of life, because in the very process of the work, the therapeutic process, that very journey itself is love, is connection, is experiencing significance for yourself and meeting your own needs fully. Without that, it’s not going to work.
I highly recommend you re-listen to the dog story at the beginning of this episode, and I look forward to welcoming you into the next one. Until then, thank you so much for listening, and leave a comment. Let me know what you thought of this episode, and please share it with anyone that you think would benefit from it. Thank you so much for listening. David Tian, signing out. [41:00.0]
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