Muse or Addict? Our attraction to our Inferior Function.
Today's question is from Oli. Thank you so much for posting this question.
"Is our attraction to inferior function, caused by immaturity and not taking responsibility for ourselves and our lives? How can we get the less developed parts of us working better?"
This is a fantastic question for a couple of reasons. This question takes us much deeper into our cognitive functionalities than most people necessarily want to dive into, but if you’re into this kind of deep work, especially around the cognitive functions and the 4 People Within®️, you're in the right place. Let’s get into it!
So, today, we are looking at
- what does our attraction to the inferior function mean?
- what do we need to look out for when dealing with it?
- how we can make the most out of our relationship with that part of us?
Because the bottom line is that if we don’t harness that part of us, embrace it and make it work for ourselves, we will end up working for that part of ourselves. It’s really important to take some personal leadership around this particular part of us.
First, let's differentiate the productive and destructive ways in which we can be attracted to the least developed part of us, or what we at the Sumiloff Academy call our 3-year old Inner Child. If I’m talking about the Inner 3 year old, or the 3 year old Inner Child, or your Inferior Function, it’s all the same thing.
The destructive way of being attracted to our Inner 3-year old is called addiction. We are addicted to indulging that part of us without consideration for how that indulgence affects our lives going forward. As you can imagine, that can be very challenging for us and the lives we want to build.
When we are productively attracted to our Inner 3 year old and we are engaging with it in a productive way, this part of us becomes our "muse". A muse inspires us, our own growth, it inspires us as people,and to go for the things we want to go for in life. And when we share and integrate our muse with the 4 people that live within us and integrate it into our lives, we begin to feel like we finally belong somewhere. Because as long as we keep denying our 3 year old Inner Child, or we are addicted to that part of us, what happens is that we have a shadow existence that we don’t fully embrace and we don’t want people to see. It’s a beautiful transformational experience to integrate that muse part of us, to share that muse with the rest of the world, and be fully ourselves with apology. Those are some of the ways you can differentiate your attraction to your 3 year old Inner Child; you can use it as an addiction or you can use that part as a muse.
As you can imagine, there are some challenges to being addicted to our inferior function, or our 3 year old Inner Child. The two main challenges I’m outlining in this video are:
1. First, that part of us has the cognitive capacity of a very young child because it’s the least developed part of us. That means that their ability to understand cause-and-effect is limited, and so we’re not able to show that part of us how their actions now, and indulging in the things that drive them now, might affect our life’s trajectory. That’s one of the two main challenges about being addicted to this inferior function.
2. The second one is that the overindulgence of this function keeps us addicted to it. So, we normalise those indulgent behaviours and when we do that we only want to do it more. That is, of course, the nature of addiction. It gives us a short term sense of something, such as control, power, or you might have a serotonin release or other feel-good hormone release, when you take action on something without considering the long-term consequences of that action. So, point number two becomes simply about the way we condition ourselves to be addicted to those things that don’t have foresight. And of course, what happens then is that we create a trauma for ourselves, or end up in traumatic situations because we’re living purely from that gut space. Or we invite a lot of drama into our lives because we’re not thinking ahead, we’re just being reactive, if that makes sense.
As strange as it may seem, like with any other addiction, there are payoffs associated with over-indulging this Inner 3 year old child part of us:
1. One of the short-term pay-offs is that we don't have to take responsibility for our lives. As long as we feel like a child, we get to feel free. As long as we act like a child, we don’t have to take responsibility for what we are contributing to the situation in front of us.
2. When we don't take ownership of our lives, we don't have to face the demons we must actually slay to meet our true potential. Overindulging the 3 year old Inner Child is a great excuse to not go for the things that are really important in our lives. If we’re afraid of failing in those things this gives us the perfect cover to not go for those things.
3. We get to stay stuck in our own cognitive biases, so we don’t have to grow, we can blame other people for all the challenges we face in life, or we can just blame circumstance. It releases us from any responsibility in relation to our lives. If you think about a child who hurts their knee, they run to their parent for comfort if they feel safe with the parent. Effectively, the child wants the parent to fix the problem of the pain. Hopefully you’re going to nurture the child and help them get over that pain. But after a while, that child needs to grow up and learn to self-soothe. If we don’t learn to self-soothe, if we continue to indulge in our baby, inferior functionality, then what happens as adults is that we get into codependent relationships where we make other people responsible for our emotional reactions, or any problems that we might have in life.
So there are pay-offs to staying stuck in this addiction to the inferior function. The bottom line is that when we are addicted to our 3 year old Inner Child/inferior function, we miss out on integrating ourselves and giving that small but significant part of us an empowered voice.
So, we’ve talked about being addicted to this part of us and overindulging, but there are also benefits to harnessing this muse:
1. When we learn to listen and attend to our inferior function/3 year old Inner Child in a healthy way, we then integrate it into our whole being. This integration brings about a massive sense of belonging because you’re integrating that part into the 4 people within you, your Inner Family. Now that part of you belongs to you fully.
2. This whole process of harnessing the 3 year old Inner Child opens up our capacity to find a healthy tribe outside of ourselves. This integration within ourselves first, and then integrating ourselves into the outside world, means we find a tribe, and become compassionate, effective, and industrious parts of an entity bigger than just ourselves.
3. At its best, the muse shows us how to carry out our purposeful vision when we really harness it. For example, in my case, with an Se inferior function, my purpose path is all about safe, fun, and growth oriented spaces where we can all create together. It’s no accident that I am in the process of creating personal development safe houses online. As a result of listening to my baby muse, Outward Facing Sensing, I have been able to create a container for our amazing work, which we will be launching soon, and which is really exciting for me.
How to harness the ‘muse’? How are we going to really embrace that part of us and bring it forth in our quest, whatever that quest is for us? Basically, you need to acquire the following skills:
1. Practice understanding your 3 year old Inner Child's perspective. Unless you practice what their perspective is you can’t fully unharnessed it. Improve on your capacity to understand who your inner 3 year old is. Are they a Thinker, a Feeler, an Intuitive, or a Sensor? What is their orientation? Who is that person you’re trying to get to know?
2. Learn to attend to their needs: your willingness to get to know your Inner 3 year old's emotions and needs determines the success you have in harnessing their innate power. By asking questions such as “How are you feeling right now? What do you need right now?” of that particular baby function within you, you can create this beautiful rapport with them. You can really embrace and engage that valuable part of you.
3. Build trust between your inferior function and the other functions within you in order to fully harness that part of yourself. Your own capacity to meet the needs of your 3 year old Inner Child determines all other relationships in your life: the relationships between your 4 people within you, as well as your relationships out there in the world. In order to be able to share this part of you with the world and normalise your ‘muse’ as an 'operating system' for yourself effectively, you need to make sure that you’re integrating that part into your Inner Family first, and then with others, and really allow others to enjoy the benefits of that part of you too! It’s really amazing!
The bottom line of today’s video is that an addiction demands, manipulates and would even sell it's own mother to get the fix. When our Inner 3 year old is out of control, they will sell us out, it’s just a fact. They will break our core principles, ignore our innate values, and sabotage our goals and our life's vision. That’s the power that they have in the shadows. On the other hand, a muse works completely differently. When you harness that part of you and it becomes a muse for you, it works tirelessly toward a better future for all of who you are. A muse works with you to create the life that you actually want and want to build.
If you need more support in this work of harnessing your muse, we have amazing Integration Mentors that I have trained. I can link you up with one of our mentors. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us you would like to have an exploration call with one of our mentors. If on the other hand you aren’t sure about your MBTI type or you want to confirm your MBTI type, including who your muse actually is, and you want to discover your innate strengths and blind-spots within your personality profile, I encourage you to join our decoding process. You can find out more information at https://www.merjasumiloff.com/decode-your-personality
I would love to hear your thoughts on your main take-away from this question . Please leave a comment below, or share this blog post with your friends to start a conversation with them.
Thank you for sharing this space with me today, and thank you for being a part of our bigger vision of creating more compassionate and effective individuals and leaders all around the world. You’re part of our amazing global family!
I wish you a day full of wonder. I’ll talk to you soon!