“Half myself mocks the other half.” – Joseph Joubert

Joesph Joubert was on to something when he made this statement, though I can’t help but wonder if it is not so much a half of us but more so one of many parts of us.

I am a big believer that our mind, conscious and unconscious, is made up of many parts. Just as our brain consists of cortexs and lobes, just as our body has limbs, organs, cells, systems and so on, just as we have the capability to sense and feel a vast array of emotions. We are creatures who, without a doubt, are greater than the sum of our parts (Kurt Koffka).

So how is it that some parts of our self detests another part, why is it that our procrastinating part can annoy and frustrate our motivational part and its allies. What is it about a collective group of parts that choose to be addicted, how is it that our self gives that or those parts more strength and control over the remainder of our whole being?

A story that describes the handing over of control for me is when my nervous part spasmodically pops up and takes over the calmness of my voice, causing it to shake as it leaves my larynx. I, for some reason, give ‘nervous’ the power to do this when other parts are weakened with vulnerability due to a challenging situation. Yet other, more physical parts of my body are not displaying that I am nervous. There have been times when all I need to do is state my name, yet ‘nervous’ attacks my voice.

This unexplained experience can then generate a whole series of other parts fighting or siding with other parts causing a complex state of conflict that may then feed into other areas of my hour, day, week etc.

Yet, at other times I allow my motivated self (including all the parts allied for my motivation) to rally up and generate a sense of achievement and pride within my behaviour. Similarly this experience can inspire a whole series of other parts collaborating and celebrating with other parts causing a euphoric state of confidence and belief that I excitedly drive into other areas of my hour, day, week etc.

Bearing in mind Lao Tzu words, “It is wisdom to know others; it is enlightenment to know one’s self.”, my challenge of myself is to reflect and investigate what has happened to and for me during positive and negative scenarios. Did I experience a negative reaction that I can learn from? What am I trying to tell myself, what do I need to do to strengthen my areas of need that became vulnerable in that situation. What was happening within and around me that generated my state of positivity. Was it actually an event leading up to this moment, perhaps I nourished my body with different food that morning, did I sleep more soundly, has another person been charitable to me? Remember, that as we are made up of many parts, so too is our life made up of many parts. Connect the intrinsic and extrinsic relations of our self and our world in life.

Finally and importantly, regardless of the experience, how did I feel and do I want to feel like that again? Observe and learn. Appreciate that you are a being of more parts than your whole and embrace the necessity of each and every part. What is that part’s strength, what is it’s need? This reflective practice offers you opportunity to create understanding, appreciation and collaboration of all your parts, reducing internal conflict and enabling a greater sense of self.