I’ve spoken before about the shadow self. It is where our true desires lurk but have been covered up by the thought of “I’m not enough”. Childhood suggestions and experiences have plagued us into not believing in our self, causing limiting beliefs and otherwise f*cked up our lives.
I listened to Oprah’s podcast with Debbie Ford and was intrigued. I went on the Internet to find out more about what Debbie had to say about the shadow self. It is where our fear lives and where as the great Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung said, “Our shadow is the person we would rather not be.” Or so we think. Because the shadow self is the part of us that needs the most love and instead we run from it.
“So the shadow is really a friend, a friend that is whispering (and sometimes screaming) to wake us up. It is inviting us to tell ourselves the truth and to come out of denial.” http://thefordinstitute.com/shadow-work/
So why am I bringing this up again? Because it’s the work I must do. The work I cannot deny. I must come out of the fear and question why I act the way I do, hide, run, excuse, deny, and withhold my truth. I must lovingly embrace these moments, feelings and emotions with love and no judgment. I must love myself through so that I can release control and even if I’m right that it only important I spoke my truth. I have no control of the outcome. I must surrender the need to have the outcome in my favor. It doesn’t matter.
And if I’m stressed to take a moment to look at it. To give myself what I am being denied…love, acceptance and kindness. The shadow self has created a fortress to protect us and make us safe. It has made a world where we say this is good or this bad. It puts things in order. But, the biggest thing it does is when others anger us and when our judgment comes out then it really is that we see something in them that we must abandon in ourselves. We have created that what they did is about them and have no association to us but truthfully whatever we feel even unspoken is a part of the shadow.
I had to stop and listen closely after the week with my dad. He’s an important part of my life and having his health be in peril raises my stress. But, the shadow self speaks to us at all times trying to remind you of your truth. I was mad about many things that happened that weekend but I realized that maybe instead of thinking it was crappy to lose the doctors protocol by the paramedics taking it with them. I instead realized that if he had called the doctor after his bleeding episode and went there in his timeline as it happened on Saturday he would have passed out going to the doctor’s office instead of being with family when he got dizzy and fell. Honestly, who knows what would have happened then.
The other things that went on and caused me stress started up my negative self talk which brings on wanting to control everything. Confrontation was at many events that week which I try to avoid most times because of fear that I’ll look stupid or that I’ll cause a big problem and then my mind will be burdened with how it turns out. The shadow hung over me strongly until I asked for help. I went for energetic work and of course to talk to her. She reminded me that all of these things that go on is to help you and for me in particular to get out of my comfort zone. She focused on saying I need to speak my truth and let it go. As long as my truth is with awareness and without malice then let it be.
All of the above was written on Oct. 29. Today, Oct 31, is written below.
I didn’t have a chance to complete the blog while waiting for my son at the arena. I came home to having a shadow part of me projected on a screen after my husband was talking about a couple who are divorcing. He brought up stuff about their relationship that ended up hitting on my own nerves. I listened and knew that it was very pivotal to hear it and embrace the feelings that came up. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want “their stuff” in our home, but it was because it was hitting close to my home. It brought up the fears that your biggest mistakes in life will be exploited. I moved on to change the subject but I could see it affected my husband as well. We aren’t getting divorced, but most couples this far in are acutely aware of the failed relationships around them. Watching two people rip band aids off each other to watch the other bleed when just a year ago they were loving each other. We had no window into their relationship, but after the fact is that just like the saying goes, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
The next day, Oct. 30, I listened to a podcast from 2012 from Cheryl Richardson talking with Debbie Ford about her new book at the time, Courage. Debbie seems to shining a light on my shadow self and I listened intently. Cheryl made a joke that it was funny that when you write about something that what you are sharing shows up for the you who wrote it. I shuddered. I thought of the blog that I had begun about my shadow self and trying to keep it focused and how I came home that night to have the very thing I was writing about lit up in front of me.
I am not at peace. If I had ever asked for the shadow self to be demonstrated in my own life I got that chance of a lifetime days ago. I sat with the feelings. I saw clearly how I have tried to justify why these things happened or felt warranted because I had my reasons. But, the truth is that I did not honor myself. I have for years blamed another person for these choices, but it comes down to me. It seems from listening to Debbie Ford that all our shadow self stuff comes from childhood events or experiences. And as a child, since we perceive it in our child-like way that we can easily turn it on our own self. Just like when parents announce their divorce is to repeat to their child that the divorce was never the child’s fault because research has shown that is how children see themselves. But, what if parents yell at each other, what if you are told by one teacher that you aren’t good, what if you witness sexual deviancy and then what if you perceive any multitude of events in your life and then reflect it on every choice from that point on. At 10, I had no clue. I can rationalize now that my 10 year old self was hurt by a comment, but shouldn’t hang onto it for 30 years. But, I have. I can remember the boy style haircuts my mother gave me. I hated them. I can’t even wonder why she felt that it wouldn’t bother me. I wore a hat in class for a week to just try to lessen the shock. Later, I remember being picked for a baseball team at my dad’s company picnic. She said, “The little boy over there.” I didn’t move. She pointed at me, “You.” I said, “I’m a girl.” She apologized and moved on to pick the rest of the teams. I never forgot it. I remember telling my mom that they thought I was a boy and I cried. What does this prove? It just means that later in life when my husband’s aunt calls you unfeminine that it hits you harder then most. And even though my hair is long, I wear makeup and I dress non-man-like it hurts my feelings. I feel like a woman. I gave birth to three kids through a vagina I might add. It makes no sense to care, but I am stuck being sensitive to something I perceived at a young age. This is an example and really not the worst one.
What I have read concerning healing the shadow self, or at least parts of it, comes down to looking at what keeps on showing up, what is the common thread, what are your fears and what do you keep running away from. Whatever it is, then we must look deeper at where that comes from and embrace it. “The shadow is really just a part of us that needs love, a part of us that has been wounded, ignored and denied. For us to be the fullest expression of ourselves and to manifest all we want in the outer world, it’s vital to find love and compassion for the totality of our humanity — or light and our dark aspects, the selfish and selfless parts of ourselves, the kind and the angry, the brilliant and the stupid — not just parts of it. We must learn to love the totality of our humanity if we want to embrace the fullness of our human experience.” http://thefordinstitute.com/shadow-work/
So, that is what I am working on. I didn’t like the feeling it brought up in me about the negatives I perceive about myself shown up on a screen of my shadow self which I can only see. I felt shame. I felt embarrassed. Thoughts came quickly on justification and reasons why I have done all I’ve done or been all I’ve been. But, instead of pulling that up and covering myself with a warm blanket I let my self feel what I saw as the worst parts of me. And, then a realization comes to me that reminds me that I must embrace that part of myself. So, I held it and thought of my self as a small child. It is hard to instantly feel love for a part of you that if shown to society would so easily be judged. The people would frown upon it. It is a negative out there in the world and here I have it in my hand; holding it like a hot potato when the music stops. And then, it feels like it lifts because once you shine a light in the darkness all can be revealed.
At this point, I feel on the edge of the shadow and self. The only way to do anything about this is to heal and be honest with myself, but also I must take action. Healing cannot just happen by thinking about it. Action is needed in this particular case for me. I have some ideas so I want to commit by the end of the day that I will make it happen to start moving in the right direction; away from fear and into freedom.