When building successful relationships, it can be very helpful to see yourself as a collection of different inner parts that developed in your psyche due to your various life experiences. There are all kinds of inner parts: a child part, a critic part, a victim part, a monster, a show off, a caretaker, a saboteur, a bully and so on. Each part has its own feelings and needs and, if given the empathy and acknowledgment it needs, each part has its own gifts to give. Without empathy and acknowledgment, our inner parts tend to work against us.
In order to build healthy relationships, with ourselves and with others, it is vital to recognize when an inner part is acting out and taking over our expression and behaviour. And, it is crucial to develop a strong and compassionate Inner Leader who can give empathy to parts that act out and keep them from taking over. The Inner Leader brings unconditional love, knows how to make healthy choices, and knows when to get help. No matter what part is activated—the Inner Victim sinking in poor-me quicksand; the Inner Critic lashing out with judgment and criticism; the Inner Caretaker trying to please everyone—the Inner Leader holds it with compassion, offers it empathy and appreciation, and says or does things to calm it and reassure it.
The Inner Leader is like the most nurturing parent or grandparent that you could imagine. And, as you might also imagine, there are some inner parts that can be extremely difficult to nurture, or offer compassion to, or not give in to. Like any wise parent or grandparent, the Inner Leader recognizes when it needs help and goes to find a friend or therapist or other support when overwhelmed by an inner part. Parenting is not meant to be done alone, and neither is leading.
Viewing yourself as a collection of inner parts and developing a strong Inner Leader helps you become less lost in your upsets and challenges, deepens your relationship with yourself, and gives you more emotional resilience, compassion, and empowerment. See my Tip for the Road on Lead Yourself with Compassion for a step-by-step process for developing a strong Inner Leader.