Self-Energy & Negotiating For Self-Leadership In IFS


Regardless of how much inner work we do, we are never immune to being triggered somehow. Our parts can get activated throughout the day in various situations. The difficult feeling can come to the surface. Some of them will make it harder for us to access our Self-energy. Some of them will react in extreme or problematic ways.

Negotiating for Self-leadership in IFS

The good news is that with IFS we can negotiate with them at the exact moment they are triggered, without the need to wait until we have some substantial space to do the inner work. It wouldn’t be realistic to have a full therapy session every time we get triggered. Fortunately, it’s not necessary.

Negotiating for Self-leadership is a term coined by Jay Earley, who wrote a small book with the same title.

Jay says that you can negotiate with the activated part so it relaxes and gives you access to your Self-energy. And it works way better than any attempts to suppress this part when we really don’t want to act from it.

Why? Because each part needs to be heard. And when, for example, we are about to have a public performance and we feel very stressed, telling this worried part to ‘Get out!’ or ‘shut up’ won’t help us a lot. This part will do everything it can to be seen and respected.

Accessing Self-energy

So if you need to access your Self when you feel triggered and you don’t have time to go through the whole 6 F’s of IFS (inquiry process) you can always:

Close your eyes and focus on this particular feeling,
Let it know that it’s seen and thank it for being there for you,
Let it know that right now you don’t have the time and space to focus on it, but that you will definitely find it later in the day. You can let it know about a particular time in the day in which you will meet with that part,
Let it know that right now you are able to manage and handle this situation with your Self and ask it to trust you and give you more space.

If you do it in a compassionate way, being thankful for the help of this part, and promising to connect with that part later in the day, the chances are high that this part will trust you and allow the Self to emerge, to harmonize, to lead.

Connecting with a part safely

And please remember – if you promise to meet with that part, don’t forget to connect with it later. It doesn’t need to be a full IFS therapy session. It may be enough just to hear this part out so it feels really understood. When you know its intention and the part realizes that you actually care, it will most likely lower the intensity of its warnings. This is one of the ways to negotiate for Self-leadership.

Do you want to learn more about IFS therapy?
Get access to our free 3-day IFS Online Intro Course.

Founder of Life Architect
Michael Pasterski is founder of Life Architect, Planets and Foundation for Conscious Education He is also the author of the “Insight. Road to Mental Maturity” book and blog about psychology and personal development which are read by more than a million people a year. You will find English version of blog on Every day he works as a coach and personal development trainer.

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