I wanted to share a story I thought you'd find insightful, but before I do, I first need to give a little background.

Last year, I participated in a program where one of the speakers was Dr. Richard "Dick" Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS). (My psychologist says there are several similar methods.) 

If you've never heard of IFS, on a very general level, it works as follows. On occasion, you may have heard yourself say, "a part of me ___ (wants / feels / needs / thinks)," after which, you may not have given that "part" of you any thought. However, in IFS, you are taught to catch yourself saying that (or feeling that) and you give this little "part of you" a persona. For me, that persona is often a little child, but, as you will see, it can take on any form. You can do this with any feelings, sensations, or emotions you may have.

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After seeing IFS demonstrated and having learned a bit more about it (I am by no means an expert, so please take this lightheartedly), I began to practice it on myself and record my findings in my journals. 

As mentioned, most of my "precious little people," as I've come to call them, are children I have named, and each has its own personality. Cathy is the stubborn, impertinent one, whereas Bobby is a workaholic. One of my parts is a creative force, whereas another likes solving puzzles. I tend to have discussions with these parts of myself when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep,

On one of these occasions, I had been having some tendonitis-like pain in my arm (probably from wrangling some heavy boxes). I decided to see what part of me was a participant in this pain. Here is a portion of the discussion that ensued.

Me: (Waiting and wondering what my persona of pain looked like; a form appeared.

Pain: (Takes the form of a large, thin square that is moving energy. Imagine centric square rings that move individually and in random directions, all the while releasing energy not quite like lightning, but thereabouts. It seems to have spindly legs that keep the square a bit taller than I would be myself, so I have to look up at it.)

Me: What is the meaning behind my pain?

Pain: (emits unintelligible electrical sounds like "zzzt.")

Me: I can't understand you.

Pain: (more of the same sounds, continual movement, and flashes.)

Me: (feeling disappointed that I can't understand, I ask. . .) I wondered if Pain had a friend who could speak for it? 

A little girl comes from behind Pain and says, "Pain has no friends. No one likes Pain."

Over several conversations, I began calling the little girl who stood about hip high to Pain, Leslie. She becomes somewhat of an interpreter for Pain.

As mentioned, I was asking about my tendonitis of which I imagined as small inflamed areas in the tendons of my left arm. When I hear the word "inflamed" I hear "in flame" and relate that to the color red, or "anger."

Me to Leslie: ask Pain why he is angry.

Leslie: Pain isn't a he or she, Pain is a "They" because they are many.

Me: Okay. Why are THEY angry?

Pain then pointed out several areas in my life where I might feel anger. Most of them had to do with situations where I felt blocked or unable to do something I wanted to do. (Usually, Cathy—another of the imaginary personas—is the one who gets stubbornly mad and stomps her foot!)

Me: Pain, someone once told me that behind anger is pain—emotional pain.

Leslie: Pain is sad. There is sadness behind the pain.

Me: Why is Pain sad?

Leslie: No one likes Pain. When people are in pain, they often become grumbly curmudgeons. Others don't know what to do or how to help, so they avoid them. Many people who are in chronic pain end up alone or, if elderly, dumped in a home. No one comes to see them. No one tries to help. People in pain often live alone within themselves and withdraw from others. (pause). 

Leslie: No one loves Pain.

Me: (I am suddenly touched with emotion thinking of all the people in pain who are alone, have been abandoned, or pushed aside. My heart aches. I want to hug Pain, but how do you hug an energy square flashing like lightning? I also don't know how to help or what to do.)

Me: What does Pain need?

Leslie: To be loved.Heart DP 77849456 stock photo heart tree in the field

Me: I'm not sure I can love Pain. But I can offer it gratitude. I can be thankful for the messages and lessons Pain has taught me.

Leslie: Gratitude is a kind of Love.

I leave the conversation thinking, again, of all the people in the world who are suffering in pain and alone. I decide to share this part of me here so that I can remind others, if you know someone in pain, spend a little time with them. Do what you can to be with them, to stave off their loneliness even if only for a little while. You may not be able to love their Pain, but you can love them.