When Schwartz says there are no bad parts, he means that even the parts we regard as hateful are sacred and just looking out for you. He writes:“Parts are not what they have been commonly thought to be. They’re not cognitive adaptations or sinful impulses. Instead, parts are sacred, spiritual beings and they deserve to be treated as such.”
In other words, even the destructive parts have protective intentions. And while you might think that the mind of someone like a serial killer is irredeemable, the parts that comprise it are just as sacred as those of anyone else.“It turns out that parts aren’t afflictions and they aren’t the ego. They’re little inner beings who are trying their best to keep you safe and to keep each other safe and to keep it together in there. They have full-range personalities: each of them have different desires, different ages, different opinions, different talents, and different resources. Instead of just being annoyances or afflictions (which they can be while in their extreme roles) they are wonderful inner beings.”
It is a powerful idea that calls upon us to love not just the self but everything in existence.
Indeed, Schwartz spends a considerable amount of his time explaining how love is the solution to the internal family problems and as an extension the external world. He says that if we could heal ourselves internally — by embracing our parts — we can create a better world for everyone. The following quotes best captures this sentiment:“Once we shift paradigms to the knowledge that, at their essence, everyone is decent and kind, we can reorganize our economic systems, schools, and prisons.”
He also notes that the secret to happiness is realizing we are not the parts that define us but a Self “that’s curious, calm, confident, compassionate, creative, clear, courageous, joyful, generous, and playful”
He contends that the world needs a new paradigm because IFS has the potential to transform not just individuals but whole societies. The first step is to unburden the parts because they hold on to traumas that make them act the way they do. By unburdening parts, they return to their original valuable selves.
There are five things to know about parts:
- Parts are innate. Research suggests that parts are already online when you are born
- There aren't any bad ones
- You often have to earn their trust
- They can cause a lot of damage to your body and life
- They are very important and deserve to be taken seriously