“The 4 People Within are the different parts of your personality. When we align the 4 people who reside within you – the thinker, the feeler, the sensor and the intuitive – anything is possible from healing to achievement. This inner alignment is the ultimate lottery win. Only, it’s not up to chance. It’s up to you.” Merja Sumiloff
If we understand that there are different parts of us that operate in different ways, we can begin to understand who we are, what are our strengths and points of growth are (I refuse to see these as weaknesses), how we are likely to react in different situations and how we can slow things down and choose to use an appropriate approach to what life is presenting us.
There are 2 predominant subjective ways we relate to the world: how we make decisions and how we collect information. Both ways of relating are important as without making a decision, we cannot be in charge of our own lives, and without collecting information, it’s difficult to make decisions that are right for us. Understanding what drives us to make decisions and collect information is what increases our ability to live consciously, in other words, when we understand how we make decisions and how we collect information, we go from simply existing and being at the receiving end of life and the people in it, to making informed decisions that are in the best interest of the life we want to live. Understanding this process, effectively, gives us the power to systematically create the kind of life we want to live.
Let’s look at how we make decisions first. There are 2 opposite parts of us when it comes to decision-making. We make decisions based on our feelings or our way of thinking. Being able to make decisions based on both feelings and thinking is important to live a balanced life.
There are times when it is appropriate to make a decision with the feeling part of us. This could be in offering empathy to others who are having a hard time. In those situations you may choose to stay with them a little bit longer, even when you know your’re going to run late for your next appointment. There are also times when we make feeling decisions for our own benefit. This could be simply knowing what is and is not right for you, and setting a boundary around it. It is healthy to become fluent in making feeling decisions both about yourself and the world around you. Only when you are willing to feel your way around the world and your place in it, are you able to live a life that is deeply satisfying for you personally.
Sometimes we need to put the feelings to one side and make a decision with the thinking part of us. For example when you need to schedule your day around your kids’ school projects and hobbies, or to manage a complex project at work. I’m sure you can remember times when you simply needed to put your emotions aside, and just stop, take a step back and think something through before making a decision. Taking the time to stop and think is important so that you can reflect on different possible outcomes before you making up your mind about what to do next. Being able to slow way down and think things through is important so that we can make either effective decisions both “out there” in the world and people in our lives, and accurate decisions of integrity in regards to ourselves.
You can probably relate to one of these ways of making decisions more than the other, but as you can see, in order to have a balanced life, it is in your best interest to learn to make decisions with both the feeling and the thinking part of you. If we only made decisions with the feeling part of us, our idealism and our dreams would never take actual concrete shape in the outside world. They would simply be something we only always dream of. If, on the other hand, we only thought things through without basing any of our decisions on the feeling part of us, we would never fully engage with our idealism or the people around us, and you can forget about deep and meaningful relationships!
Now that we have looked at how we make decisions, let’s look at how we collect information to base these decisions on. These information collecting parts of us are the sensing part and the intuitive part.
There are times in our lives that it’s extremely important to sense what’s going on around us and within us. The sensing part of us uses seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching as a way to collect concrete, real time evidence about your surroundings. Do you remember the first time you burnt your finger on the stove, even though your mother told you not to touch it? Building up to the injury, the sensor part of you had plenty of opportunity to gather information regarding the dangers of the situation. You used your sense of sight to see the stove was red hot. You used your sense of hearing to take in what your mother was saying to you about the stove. You probably used your sense of smell to find out what your mother was cooking, but you most certainly remember the sense of heat just before the pain set in. But this is not where the sensing ends. We also have an internal sensing method, which collects a so-called data bank of sensory memories throughout your life. It’s not enough to simply sense what’s going on in the outside world, the next step is to internalise what happened, and store the information into your internal sensory data bank for reconciliation. In this case, the outward sensing part of you took in the information from the world surrounding you, and the inward sensing part of you, once it made sense of the cause and effect of the situation, came to a conclusion that “burning my finger hurt and I will never do that again!”.
There are times in our lives that using outer or inner sensing is not quite enough. Sometimes there are things that are either unseen or unspoken. Do you ever get the feeling that there’s something going on that you can’t see, hear, smell, taste or feel with your hands? It’s like something is going on, but there’s no physical evidence of it. Our intuition is often dubbed to be our “sixth sense”, but really, it’s not a sense at all. The intuitive part of us is the part that recognises patterns of behavior, body language and tone of voice, and interprets what those things mean. The intuitive part of us gets a sense that there is something happening “behind the curtain” and comes up with conclusions about what could be going on within ourselves, with other people, or the world around us. The intuitive part of us can visualise what is possible, even if there’s no actual evidence about it yet. This is why sometimes you can feel that anything is possible, or why you can pick up when someone is lying. Collecting information with your intuition is like you have an insight to something that cannot necessarily be proven or explained.
You can probably relate to either sensing or intuition as your predominant way of collecting information. Both are equally as valid, and just like your decision-making process, strengthening both your sensing and your intuitive ways of collecting information, you naturally increase the likelihood of choosing the right approach to any situation that life throws your way. After all, if we were to only collect information with the sensor part of us, we would not be able to harness the power of our imagination and start moving faster toward our goals in life. Similarly, if we only collected information with the intuitive part of us, we would automatically and prematurely jump into biased conclusions and not have a solid point of contact with reality.
As you can see, each of these parts – feeling, thinking, sensing and intuition – is important to live a well-rounded, balanced, deliberate and authentic life. Although we all have thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition parts of us, we don’t necessarily know how to relate to those different parts of us equally.
The level of fluidity in which we are able to relate to each of these parts depends on 2 main factors: our natural inner wiring, or our personality, and the amount of personal development work we have undertaken in our lives.
In my opinion, our natural inner wiring, or our personality is a product of both our genes (as human-beings and as the child of our parents), and the conditions in which we grew up. There has been a lot of debate around the concept of nature versus nurture, and which is more valid in shaping our personality and in untangling the web of our personal psychology.
The “Nature” approach claims that you are who you are because of your genes, and that the environment does not matter. The “Nurture” approach supports the argument that genes are irrelevant and all that matters is the environment in which the person grows up. In my personal experience, both approaches hold validity and should be taking into consideration when working on your personal growth. The way I see it is that the “Nature” part is our starting point and the “Nurture” part is us deliberately building a supportive environment around us as we grow and evolve.
The purpose of the 4 People Within approach is to make arguing about what the right approach is obsolete. What really matters is focusing on who the 4 different parts of who you are, and how they affect your everyday life, be it good, bad, or indifferent.
Now, let’s get moving by supporting YOU. Join our Integrated Life with Merja Sumiloff closed group on Facebook to share your insights and discoveries alongside other like-minded integrators.
Family: Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash
Forest: Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash
Notes, album: Photo by Emily Rudolph on Unsplash
Wires: Photo by Matthew Guay on Unsplash