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Part II of The Eight C’s: How to Achieve your Most Centered Self

In my previous blog post, Internal Family Systems and the Eight C’s: Part One, I briefly explained the basic idea of what Internal Family Systems (IFS) theory is and one of its tenets, which is the concept of the Eight C’s. As humans, we function as our most aware, centered Selves when we operate from the Eight C’s. I discussed the first four C’s which are calmness, clarity, curiosity, and compassion. In this post, I will explore the remainder four C’s of the model, which are confidence, courage, creativity, and connectedness.


IFS views the definition of confidence as “1) to maintain a strong belief in one’s ability to stay fully present in a situation and handle or repair anything that happens with the belief that ‘no matter what, it’s all okay and will all work out the way it should’, 2) to have healed from previous traumas and learned from previous failures to such a degree that their effect does not spill into the present, 3) to understand that mistakes are only lessons to be learned”.

Achieving confidence can be very difficult, and once you get there it can almost even feel tricky – because sometimes confidence can feel like, and be perceived as, arrogance or stand-off-ish-ness. However, for me, confidence is having the ability to believe in yourself in the midst of facing your fears. We often cripple ourselves with doubt and insecurities. Confidence is the ability to have faith in yourself and the path that the universe has in store for you, while not allowing those doubts and insecurities to guide or cloud your choices.


Courage is “1) strength in the face of threat, challenge, or danger, 2) the willingness to take action toward a goal that others would find overwhelming, 3) the ability to recognize the damage we do to others then take action to make amends, 4) the willingness to reflect and ‘go inside’ toward our own pain and shame, carefully examine it and act on what we see”.

Many of us have been taught the meaning of courage at a young age, but we all probably got different messages about it. If you define courage similarly to how IFS does, you know that having courage or being courageous is tough work. However, as we heal and grow from our experiences, we can continue to practice courage on a daily basis. Try to ask yourself each day, “What is one thing I can do today to practice courage?” The tasks or goals should be completely personal to you and your situation(s).


IFS defines creativity as “1) the use of the imagination to produce original ideas, 2) the ability to enter the ‘flow state’ in which expression spontaneously flows out of us and we are immersed in the pleasure of the activity, 3) the ability to create generative learning and solutions to problems”.

When we work from our most centered Selves, we are able to use our creativity and let it flow organically. Creativity also has no bounds – which makes this “C” so playful and joyful. If you’re feeling stuck, especially in the creative area, recognizing your barriers for creative flow is the first step in overcoming this stagnancy. Trying a new activity or researching potential new hobbies can be a good start for tapping into your creativity that lies within your Self.


Connectedness is “1) the state of feeling a part of a larger entity such as a partnership, team, community, or organization, 2) a spiritual connection to a meaningful purpose or a higher calling, 3) to be in a relationship with someone who truly knows and accepts you for who you really are, 4) to be able to relax your defenses with others as you know that you won’t be judged or controlled an are not afraid of getting hurt because you have confidence that you can repair any damage or misunderstandings that occur”.

This “C” is so complex and crucial. We are all connected to something greater than ourselves, and if we can honor that, we can be in centered Self.

Internal Family Systems theory is great model that promotes exploring the multiple aspects of self, and guides healing the most wounded parts of our experiences. Achieving the Eight C’s can be difficult, and this is where therapy may be a great resource. Contact Symmetry Counseling to get connected with one of our talented clinicians!

Don Elium’s website was referenced for this post.

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