My Tug of War Technique
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I’ve been recently working with a group of parents going through the turbulent times of a divorce and I asked them to remember participating in or watching a tug-of-war competition.
You like me can probably remember both sides sweating, tugging, pulling, wrestling and expending huge amounts of energy but not really getting very far – as both sides are pulling in opposite directions but getting nowhere.
Conflict within yourself usually happens between a conscious part of your mind and an unconscious part.
“Part of me wants …… but yet the other part of me says…..”
You get the picture.
It’s a bit like saying “I really want to get fit but I just can’t seem to get myself down to the gym”
Self sabotage is one of the symptoms you can experience when parts of you are in conflict.
This simple process is about identifying the conflicting parts going on within you and discovering their common intention before integrating them.
For this exercise to be successful you have to find out what the common intention is for each of your conflicting parts before you try and assimilate them.
So find a bit of time for you to be alone and sit quietly, breath deeply and slowly & relax…..
- Identify two parts of yourself that may be in conflict.
- Sit in that quiet place and allow yourself some space.
- Ask the problem part to come out and imagine putting it into one hand.
- Imagine that part as a person & see what the person looks like, sounds like and what feelings that person has.
- Ask the non – problem part to come out and imagine putting that part into your other hand.
- Imagine this part as a person and see what the person looks like, sounds like and what feelings that person has.
- Starting with the problem part, ask each part.” What is your positive intention and purpose?” Keep repeating the question gently over and over until both parts realise that they have the same intention.
- Ask each part what resources it has that the other part would find useful in reaching a common, positive outcome & helpful purpose for each.
- Bring both of your hands together and fully integrate the two parts and their resources, seeing a new you, hearing what a new you may say and feeling how a new you may feel when the problem is integrated into a positive new outcome.
- Step six months or a year into the future, look back to now and ask yourself what you did to overcome the problem.
As Albert Einstein once famously said, “It’s better to have imagination than knowledge” as knowledge can box you in, keep you stuck and swirling in the mud, whereas imagination allows you to discover and create new solutions that can set you free.
Take your time with this very powerful technique and if you’d like to work with me so I can take away your tug-of war moments and give you clarity, direction and confidence ( whether you are going through a divorce or not !)