If you were to ask a someone who they really are, their answer would most likely be some version of “Well, umm… it’s complicated”.

One of my coaching clients, Bob, came to realise that there was an explosive, protective part of him that was activated whenever he felt weak (or when the possibility of feeling weak was an imminent threat). Often, in important meetings at work, when the stakes were particularly high, Bob would be overcome with the feeling that he was about to explode with anger. Sometimes, when the pressure was too high, he did explode.

The behaviour of what Bob began to describe as his ‘volcano-part’ was a stark contrast to the qualities of Bob’s core self.  When Bob was being true to his true nature, he was a calm, caring deeply empathetic leader who was naturally attuned to what the situation called for.

Through our coaching session’s Bob came to see a clear connection between his childhood experiences of being made to feeling “weak and stupid” (Bob’s language) by his troubled father and the ‘job’ of his volcano-part. Bob came to understand that the job of his volcano-part was protect him from being overwhelmed by the fear and sadness of his most vulnerable parts. The way it did this job with through explosive anger – at any cost.

With awareness, courage, and practice Bob got much better at recognising the early warning signs in his body that his inner volcano-part was being activated by feelings of weakness. These signs included clenching his jaw, tightness in his shoulders, and rising heat in his face.

Strong emotions carry very important messages about our parts – they can tell us a great deal about the fears and survival strategies of our many different parts. As we cultivate the courage and the skills to listen and decipher these messages, we more we illuminate and understand our inner worlds.

It was hugely empowering for Bob to understand and begin to care for the frightened little boy inside of him, and as a result to turn down the heat of his inner volcano. Bob will never (nor should he ever try to) ‘get rid of’ his volcano-part. There are still times with Bob experiences an inner surge of anger. However, these experiences are becoming less frequent, less extreme and when they do happen, Bob recovers much faster.

Knowing Yourself is to be rooted in being, instead of lost in your mind.

Eckhart Tolle

Are you curious to explore how the practice of self-fidelity might support you to really know yourself?

If so, I would love to talk. You know where to find me.