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JOEL MARK WITT: All right. Hey, Joel Mark Witt, Antonia Dodge, here with Merja Sumiloff, talking about her new program, The Healing Power of Inner Parenting: The Four People Within. In the past few videos, we’re doing a little short series here, the past few videos, we’ve been identifying some of the challenges that come up with inner healing work. We’ve talked a lot about those, and in this video, we want to talk about some action steps that you can take away and implement in your life right away.
ANTONIA DODGE: In the fourth session of this program, Merja, you talk about values, understanding what your personal value system is, and you do exercises around helping people discover their values. Then, after that, you talk about this concept of letting it go. I thought what was so interesting about the concept of letting it go is you mentioned how we’re not wired to do that. We’re actually wired, maybe not even naturally wired, maybe just socially wired, to hold on. Can you go a little bit into what you mean by we’re socially programmed to hold on instead of let go?
MERJA SUMILOFF: Sure. Sure. A lot of the times because life’s really busy these days. I don’t know many people who aren’t busy. We’re busy doing our personal development. We’re busy doing our jobs. We’re busy raising our kids. We’re busy looking after animals. We’re doing all of those things, and we feel, or the inner child parts of us, feel like they’re out of control, so they’re trying to hold on to something. They’re trying to make sure that they have some anchor there that they can really refer back to when they feel out of control. Oftentimes, unfortunately, because we’re talking about the inner child parts of us, we tend to hold on to things that don’t necessarily, they’re not necessarily that developed, and also they don’t necessarily kind of serve us the best possible way, so we tend to hold on. We tend to learn to hold on to things that don’t actually serve us ’cause that’s how we identify ourselves.
ANTONIA DODGE: Mm. You also mentioned that this manifests in relationships the most in arguments.
MERJA SUMILOFF: For sure. It’s almost like we are afraid of losing ourselves, or those parts of us, those insecure parts of us that are usually the inner child parts of us, are afraid to simultaneously let that person in into our tender space, and preserve that space, so we’re trying to hold onto the things that are stopping the person from coming in so quickly and maybe possibly hurting us too. We’re trying to hold on to things that we perceive will keep us safe.
ANTONIA DODGE: Mm. The reason why thought it was so interesting that you talked about both values and then the concept of letting it go and how it manifests in relationships is Joel and I just recently had a … It was conflict. Sometimes our conflict is fiery, and other times it’s like it would look like a conversation from the outside, to everybody else, it would just look like a basic conversation, but we know we’re getting into some really deep terrain, we’re going deep, and we’re locking horns in that really deep place, and we had a situation like that not that long ago, basically within the last week, where we were talking about our egos letting things go and this idea of feeling like sometimes we don’t have sovereignty, and sometimes we feel like we’re giving our power away.
I thought actually, every decision we make is our power. It’s the thing that we wanted to do in that moment, but what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to honor our values that … In a situation where I feel like I’m handing my power over to Joel, I’m not really handing my power over to him. I still have my power to do whatever I want to, but maybe I’m honoring the value of relationship in that moment, and that’s not the value I should be honoring in that moment. In that moment, if I feel resentful for what I believe is handing something over to him that I don’t feel I should have handed over, then my value of relationship was actually the wrong value to be honoring in that moment. I actually should’ve been honoring more my sovereignty in that moment, or getting my needs met.
This idea of letting go and not wanting to lose control or power, I thought, was a very interesting perspective. Then you mentioned that maybe it might not just be wanting to honor values but actually wanting everybody to honor your values. You’re projecting your values onto the situation. Can you unpack that a little bit too?
MERJA SUMILOFF: Sure. Letting go, in the context that we’ll be discussing certainly in the program and here today, it’s not about letting go of who you are as a person. It’s not about letting go of your values. It’s not even about letting go of asking for your values to be met. It’s not about those things. It’s not about surrendering to the power of another person or situation at all. It’s about surrendering your values having to be the only values that are being really honored in those situations because whenever you bring two or more people together, you’re gonna have two or more set of values that are gonna play in that. When you say that I shouldn’t have honored the value of the relationship, I should’ve honored the value of authenticity for myself, who actually knows whether … ‘Cause you don’t know, had you honored the value of yourself in that situation, it could’ve done some damage to your relationship in other ways that was unintentional. We don’t really know, until you explore those different ways, which was the right thing to do. Does that make sense?
ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
MERJA SUMILOFF: It’s easy to shoot yourself in hindsight ’cause everybody thinks they’re a genius in hindsight ’cause everything kinda makes sense, but we don’t actually know until we know, until we’ve done it. Letting go is not about letting go of who you are as a sovereign person because you are you. This is already … I’m coming from a place where you’re already are you, and whoever you are is perfect in that setting that you’re in perfectly right now. It’s more about letting go of having to have your values be the most important values in that situation. It’s all about, say, “You know? I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t agree. It’s not right for me.” That’s okay. You can say, “This isn’t in line with my values, but I can see that it would be in line with your values, and I can see why you would ask me to do this thing that I don’t feel comfortable doing.”
I’ve been in situations where I’ve tried to impress my values upon to somebody else and make them kind of go with that, and then I’ve actually stopped myself, and I’ve gone with [inaudible 00:07:08], “Hang on a second. Let me just try something new. Let me just say to the person, ‘Listen, I’m feeling like I would be not honoring my values here, but what I’m gonna do is I’m intentionally and very consciously going to agree to what you are saying, or what this thing, provisionally, and let’s start playing it out and see how it feels.'” ‘Cause then you can change it and you can say, “Yes, I want to agree to this, but I’m gonna have a disclaimer that if it gets to be too hard for me that it’s okay for us to reevaluate the situation.”
It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Whenever it comes to that kind of self-preservation and values and letting go, it’s usually the 10-year-old, black-and-white, little inner child that doesn’t want to let go because they think, anybody who knows 10-year-old children, they usually think they know pretty much everything already. This is the way things are. You know?
ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
MERJA SUMILOFF: Certainly, my [inaudible 00:08:14] is a 10-year-old, you can imagine how much he’s like that. I’ve had to really work on this a lot myself. Just bringing it back to the thing is that it’s okay to try new things with the provision of saying, “This may not be the right thing for me, but I’m willing to not let my 10-year-old be a deciding factor here. I’m willing to see if this could actually work out in a win-win-win kind of a way, so a win to me, a win to you, and a win to the relationship.”
ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah. Effectively, so we’ve gone through each of the sessions in these videos and talked about one thing that was a highlight of the video or the session itself. In this one, I really loved the concept … You’ve built this whole toolbox of tools that people can use through all of these sessions to get to the trauma, to get to the healing portion that they need to do for the more fragile parts of who they are. Then, in the final session, you talk about some of the major ways to just implement those tools and actually step into the person that has all four parts of you are healthy. I loved the concept of letting it go because that one’s so simple, and yet everything inside of us resists. You mentioned that 10-year-old process in particular-
MERJA SUMILOFF: Everything.
ANTONIA DODGE: Resists. I thought that was beautiful, or that was sort of perfect that you first introduced this concept of determining values and then being able to sort of let things go, allows you to maintain your values as a person, and your sovereignty and your authenticity, while at the same time learning the tool of which battle am I gonna pick? What exactly is the thing that I’m going to sort of attach myself to? The thing I attach myself to, is that something that’s serving me? I love all of that. Do you have an exercise in this fourth video, that goes over each of the sessions, do you have an exercise that you can leave people with that will help them determine those values, so that they can maintain that stance as an authentic, sovereign person?
MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. I’d like to just have people answer two questions for themselves. This is a part of the course, so I’m not gonna give away all of the course material, but these are the two main questions that will begin to determine your set of values, your personal set of values that you hold close to your heart. The question number one is what do you spend most money on? The question number two is what do you spend most time on? Now, we’re not looking for the actual things. Say, for example, if you spent most money on your mortgage, it doesn’t actually necessarily mean that you paying the bank is the most important thing for you. That’s not necessarily a value. Nor is it necessarily of top value to have a house to live in, to have a shelter with him. Maybe, what your value is by you paying the mortgage is that you can bring people into your home and have beautiful dinner parties, where you connect with them on different levels and have conversations, and you really bring something new to the world from that particular kind of form, or in that particular way.
Maybe you paying the mortgage to have exactly the right house to entertain exactly the right people, maybe your value in what you’re spending most money on is actually on advancing thought and coming together with people in synergy. You need to kind of go for the actual essence of what you spend most money on. For example, I spend a lot of money on horses, having the horses with me and here and I have horses in Ireland still that are waiting to come over, so I’m spending a lot of money on that, but it’s not actually about the horses. I love the horses. That’s fine. They’re great individuals. Most of them are rescues, but what I really love about the horses, why I’m willing to spend all that money on those animals, is because that was my real sense of safety as a child, and it signifies to me that I am safe, that I have an option, and I have friends.
This sounds a little bit like, “Oh, you don’t have friends.” I have loads of friends. It’s not about that, but it’s about that five-year-old little child that for the first time, after being molested, felt safe, in the presence of the horse. For me, it’s like safety. The value isn’t the thing, it’s the essence beyond it. It’s good to start with the thing if you can’t work into the essence of it yet. You can’t do this wrong by writing down house, car. Maybe it is important to you to have a nice car, and that’s totally valid, so it doesn’t have to be all spiritual and all this kind of stuff.
How values actually usually are determined is not what we are taught as a child, our values are usually determined and developed as a result of something being withheld from us as a child. For me, my value is to have horses in my life, one of my top values, and it’s because it gives me a sense of safety ’cause I didn’t have that as a child. Does that make sense?
ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah.
JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.
ANTONIA DODGE: Absolutely. It’s like that whole concept of my finger is not the moon, but it’s pointing to it. Go ahead and use what you’re spending your time and money on as the finger pointing to the thing.
JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.
ANTONIA DODGE: As a hint.
MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah.
ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah.
JOEL MARK WITT: I like this idea [crosstalk 00:14:05]. I like this idea of letting go. The more personal growth that I do personally and around us in a sphere of people that we are kinda takin’ with us on this ride, let’s go together, let’s do this, guys, I’ve noticed that it really comes down to reducing, not adding. There’s a lot of tools and processes that you can learn, and that’s what we teach here. We teach the tools and the processes, but at the end of the day, we all have in us what we need. We have the core of our identity, the core of what drives us, those interests, those things we value, that’s really what we’re trying to get to here is we’re trying to strip away the onion of all that, the layers of all this bull crap that we’ve laid on top of ourselves, all this pain and this hurt, and there’s legitimate pain and hurt there. I’m not trying to cover over that, but the point is underneath that is the authentic us. It’s the true us.
This idea of letting go some of that, I don’t know if you want to call it ego or whatever, it really allows the authentic you to rise up to the top. I think this is a really great framework to come from and kind of in the program, I think it’s a powerful framework.
ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
JOEL MARK WITT: I appreciate that. By the way, did you feel complete on some of the exercises? Did we cut you off short on that, or do you feel-
MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. Yeah. No, I just want to say one thing kind of that is super important in any of the work that you do. We have to understand that talking about personal development and actually doing the personal development, they’re two entirely different things. While we’re talking about all these things, and you might be thinking, “Oh, that sounds really good. I’m gonna go ahead and I’m gonna invest in the money into that course,” the biggest investment that you’ll actually make is to take time to do the exercises, so if you’re going to be spending a whatever small amount of money on this course, that’s no commitment. The commitment is you going out there every single day and doing those exercises and practicing and really choosing to love yourself and to have your own back every single day, even on the days when you can’t stand the sight of yourself. Just say, “Oh, this pain that I have, it’s not all of who I am. It’s a part of who I am.” That’s an important differentiation. You have the power to change everything.
JOEL MARK WITT: Merja, you mentioned the horse situation that you had personal experience with. Would you be willing to shoot another video with us and talk a little bit more about your, kind the first steps in the healing that you did, actually, around horses. I think it’d be really interesting if we just did a quick conversation about that the next video.
MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. Sure.
JOEL MARK WITT: I think that’d be great. Again, the course is The Healing Power of the Inner Parent and the Four People Within, with Merja Sumiloff, and I think that it’s a good course. Invite you to get it, but let’s go to the next video and talk more about some of your personal experience, Merja.