Falling apart. What an abstract way to describe an metaphysical, yet universal experience – to feel incapable of pulling yourself together. This common phrase reminds me of the Gestalt Theory in psychology, which in short, asserts that the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts. Gestalt is a German word, that can be translated to mean “pattern” or “configuration” – the former suits the direction of this post a little better. Where you are right now, what you are right now, and who you are right now cannot each perform separately while still maintaining the full image of you. This theory also emphasizes awareness and intentionality in your actions and thoughts and the way you connect with your internal, as well as your external environments. Why is this theory important?
When you’re falling apart, it feels like every aspect of your life is being affected all at once, individually and holistically. Understanding that, and being aware of that feeling is not only integral to your ability to keep your pieces tethered, but to be able to eventually begin to congeal into a new version of yourself. “Gestalt therapy is lively and promotes direct experiencing rather than the abstractness of talking about situations” (Corey, 2017). That is why the whole is more than the sum of its parts; when one part changes, so do all the others. All of your aspects being in the same vicinity, but disheveled, deters from the process of a complete change. It is important to realize that as we go through life, change is inevitable and so is pain. We will suffer through many on every cultural level intrinsically, and from the forces that surround us. All the while, it is our unspoken task to keep it together. Rigid and concrete words for such a seemingly impossible task. I believe that in his view of the human, as well as devising a holistic approach to healing his clients, that he probably thought it was important to help the client place all their pieces too.
Yes, as we grow, our minds should expand and come to an understanding that at large, we have very little control over what the future holds. That as we travel, we may drop a piece or two because honestly, we’re just trying to keep it together. Maybe it’s less important that we worry about the pace of time, and more important that we focus on how to effectively maneuver it’s subjective nature, so that we may transform each piece in the most efficient way possible to focus it in the same direction that we want all of the other pieces to go. Truthfully, no one can be on both sides of the fence while remaining fully aware of their subconscious and conscious and how integral they are to the final product? As someone who strives to remain self aware, I have seen the development of my fragments, and how when one of them was changed sooner or later than the others, the end result was undesirable. I couldn’t see where I wanted to be, but I could see growth and that was enough for me to understand that every part of me matters. There is not one single part of you, that should not be at work to create a more developed, experienced, and autonomous you. I challenge you to think about a topic, and how just a year ago, you had completely different feelings about that topic (even if you have to go into minutia). Every bit of you is important, but every bit of you is not you unless you make it so. You decide which parts to abandon or enhance as you transition into your next you.
Special thanks to philosophy for its subjective nature, to Gestalt theory for letting us know that our parts are what make us, and to you for reading my thoughts! ❤
Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. 8th ed. Australia ; Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.