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  • Amelia Harshfield

get more freedom - understand the four people within you, part one

Updated: Apr 21

Whether you are aware of this or not, you have four parts of your personality. These parts determine how you interact in the world, what you like, why you enjoy certain things, why you are naturally gifted in some areas and less skilled in others, why certain things exhaust you, and so on. It can explain why you made a decision, how you look at the world, and how to upgrade your life. Sounds powerful, right?


The Four Parts Within, originated by Merja Sumiloff, each has its own job. Two of the parts help make decisions and two parts that help gather information. You make decisions based on either how you feel or what you think about something. So you have both a thinking and feeling part of you. That is two of the four parts. You also have two information gathering parts. These collect information either through your five senses (touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight) or through your intuition.


The decision-making parts of you, the thinking and feeling part, are drastically different. Thinking uses facts and data to make decisions. Its job is to be critical and find the fallacies of its subject. Feeling uses emotions to guide decisions. Its job is to check in with the authenticity, harmony, and compassion of what is happening with the decision.


While everyone has a more dominant part to make decisions, using only one has major flaws. When you only use the thinking part, your decisions are probably cold, harsh, and without a sense of harmony for the people involved with the decision. Meanwhile, decisions only based on feelings are subject to the ever-changing landscape of feelings. How you feel about apples on a good day versus a bad day might be completely different. If you prefer thinking to feeling, you might see the feelers as irrational and too soft. If you prefer feeling to thinking, you might believe that thinkers are critical and can't be harmonious. Do you have people in your life you relate to like this?


To make decisions you need information. Of the two information gathering parts, sensing and intuition, you use one more than the other. That means you are more skilled at one of these and less practiced at the other. The senses part of you is picking up what is going on around you right now. It picks up what the temperature is like, what you hear is going on, what you smell, etc. It is great at noticing small details and working with concrete evidence. People who prefer getting information through their senses enjoy working on things like rehabbing properties or doing accounting. They love working with what they see and know about the situation right now. Intuition is a highly-skilled pattern recognition part of you. You use what patterns you've seen before to make an idea of what is happening now or what is going to happen. People who lead with intuition enjoy looking at the possibilities and thinking in the big picture. When this intuition is well-practiced, you can seem like you're psychic and can see into the future.




When asking the same question to people who prefer the different information-gathering processes, you get different results. For example, if you ask 'what is your commute to work like?' to someone who leads with sensation, they are focused on the facts of the route. So they might say something like it takes me 25 minutes to work. I leave my house and walk to the train station. From the train station, I take the exit on Pearl Street. I then walk 3 blocks west and 2 blocks south and I'm at my job. But if you ask the same question to someone who prefers intuition, they might talk more about their experience and how they relate to it. So a response may be something like the commute takes me 25 minutes. I don't like to drive so I take the train. Right now it's nice because the weather is warm, in the winter it's awful.


Each of the four parts within you, thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition, has an introverted or extraverted focus. That means they are either relating to how you operate in your mind or how you interact with people, furniture, train schedule, etc. in the outside world. You need the ability to check in with yourself and see what you need. You also need the ability to operate in the outside world. No one is fully extroverted or introverted. So that means there are eight options in total for the different parts of people's personalities.


The four parts of your personality are designated by how much you use them. You use one more than the others, while some people use one of their four parts really only when they get stressed. This is how your Myers Briggs type is formed. You have one decision-making and information-gathering part of you which is exceptional. You also have a decision making and information gathering part which is less skilled. Because these parts of you are less skilled, you aren't as confident with their abilities. These less skilled parts of you are referred to as your inner children.


Your inner children are where your insecurities and deep wounds lie. They hold where you feel not good enough, scared, and unconfident. They are also your play spaces and have very specific strengths and weaknesses. If you see someone acting like a child, they are probably acting with one of their inner children. If you do something emotional that you regret later, you were likely acting with your inner child. Once you start to inner parent your inner children, like setting boundaries with them, learning how to listen to them and soothe their needs, and how to spend time with them, your life will balance. Much like you don't want a three-year-old or a ten-year-old child getting information and making decisions for adults, you don't want these parts to interact in certain areas of your life, like finances and dating. If they do, bad decisions are typically made either because your inner child made a short-sighted decision, your other inner child received biased information, or they both played a role (remember you have one inner child who makes decisions and one who looks for information).


So how do you start to learn inner parenting to balance these parts of you? One way is to take a Myers Briggs personality test (there is a great one here) to learn about your Myers Briggs type. Once you have that you can look up the Round Table Model by Merja Sumiloff of your type. You can find more information and a free e-book about that here.


Inner Parenting involves using your more skilled parts to help the less skilled ones cope. You turn into your support system that way. A way to begin Inner Parenting is to understand how you were parented because that is how you parent your inner children now. If you had parents who had healthy boundaries, you might be really good at this. If your parents had unhealthy parenting styles, you may be treating yourself in the same way. The good news is you can change your inner dialogue by talking to the scared, insecure, undeveloped parts of you like you would a three-year-old or ten-year-old child sitting next to you. This can change your inner dialogue significantly and will have lasting dramatic effects for the rest of your life.


Inner parenting can help you move past your struggles, make your life easier, ensure you are making good and healthy decisions, see yourself as important, and move you in your authentic direction. Relationships can get better, you can feel more connected to others and yourself, plus you can have the life you want to live. It's all possible when you start to connect to yourself, and you might find your inner children want to connect with you too.


More information continues in Part Two of this series. Check it out!



photo credit:

Unsplash: J-Photos






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