Our Shadow Selves—Finding Light in the Darkness
Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. This hidden side is called The Shadow and it can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and living a truthful, authentic life.
The Shadow part(s) are kept hidden deep within us and are, typically, out of awareness. Many of your Shadow parts have great holds on your life and dictate your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions.
The Shadow includes your deepest fears, shames and regrets. Your judgments, core beliefs, unconscious contracts and vows, your “truths” about life, about others and yourself…even your “positive” qualities of personal power, your beauty, your sacred and divine self are held by the Shadow. The Shadow includes all these things about you that sit in your subconscious.
Discovering your shadow in the safety of your heart…
Take time and think of an the attribute, the gift of you that you love most about yourself…perhaps it is your generosity, openness or loving nature? Once found, ask “What is the opposite of these qualities? The answer reveals part of your Shadow.
Since you seek to avoid these Shadow qualities, you tend to express the opposite, or more “positive” side. Thus, your Shadow is what encourages you to embody your more socially accepted, “favorable” traits.
However, it is important to realize that when you “disown” your Shadow qualities you tend to become unbalanced. Eventually the Shadow will come out of its cage, and now wild, the Shadow often expresses itself in frightening and explosive ways. What we deny within ourselves we project/manifest onto others and into our lives. Understand that your everyday life is a reflection of your Shadow self.
Why is it important to get familiar with your Shadow?
Your Shadow self provides a great understanding of your life. As your awareness of your Shadow self grows, you reveal the underpinnings of your personality—gaining potent insight of that which dictates your thoughts, feelings and actions. These ultimately lead to the outcomes and results of your life’s manifestations. Therefore, to heal the parts that hold you back from achieving your desired results, requires you embrace your Shadow.
Doing so, can unleash trapped life energies. And within this additional potent energy, you find your inspiration and authenticity and ultimately, your deepest power.
For example, many people know that they have gifts and talents, yet they may not have created the “Fulfilling Life” they desire. Their Shadow may include an unconscious vow to never have more than X dollars in the bank, or to have more money than their parents or to never shine too brightly as it might cause jealousy to others.
Consequently, more energy is wasted on suppression rather than expansion of the self. Imagine how much of your life force is suffocated and repressed? Honoring the Shadow’s old “truths,” vows and fears and releasing their grip of you, can free much of your energy and inner power. Fully free, this power can now propel you to achieve solid progress in your daily life.
Take advantage of challenging times and crises to identify and embrace Shadow aspects of your self.
Challenging times and crises such as unemployment, break ups and financial difficulties may expose the more vulnerable parts of yourself. Do not become self critical or doubtful of who you are. Instead, be gentle with yourself, seek help and support as needed and take the time to examine what is asking to be revealed about yourself beyond this specific situation. What is asking to be healed, released and embraced? Usually it is the Inner Child part of the self that needs to be heard and embraced. The guardian of this Inner Child is most likely, The Shadow self.
Connect with and ask your higher self, spirit and/or spiritual guides to reveal those aspects that affect your life that you are not seeing. Ask to have your inner truth revealed to you. Answers are presented through insights, memories and new found understandings of what affect your perceptions, beliefs and behaviors. The next part is entirely up to you: the willingness to accept and to change.
Here is a highly effective way of working with the Shadow in a positive, loving and healing manner.
Imagine a stone…this stone contains all the energy or emotions with which you have difficulties. (You may want to begin with a single aspect, say anger). This imagined store holds the fears and negative beliefs you have about yourself and life. The stone symbolizes all is stuck and blocked within you. The stone also guides you towards your soul mission to illuminate, clear and cleanse the most dense parts within you.
Take a moment to look into the stone. Hold it with gentle care and allow your consciousness to go into it and sense the energy inside it. What do you sense? How does it feel? What is its color? Ask the stone to tell its story to you. Be Open!
Notice what happens to the stone as you held it and have given it loving and welcoming attention. By your acceptance and understanding, how has the stone changed?
See the color and form your stone as it changes…ask the stone what gifts it has for you. Listen to its message.
Everyone acts out sometimes. However, when your behavior feels out of control, and you experience true powerlessness to act any other way in that moment—the is pure Shadow. True shadow behavior feels very strong, carries energy from the past and there is a sense of mindlessness to it.
After a shadow episode, one shuts down, feeling a sense of shame. Now is the time to get up and face the Shadow. Understand that you are not perfection. Perfection is found namely in statues that are immovable and physically dead. You are alive and that requires us to change and evolve.
Remember, that you are not the only one with a Shadow. Realize that your shadow is your friend—it is deep with information! Do not discard this relationship with your Shadow—it is part of you. All of you is acceptable, lovable and divine, not only the polished parts. By allowing the integration of your shadow side, you are walking the path towards personal empowerment, understanding, individuation and becoming a truthful, whole person.
Rather than becoming judgmental and self critical for a Shadow appearance, be grateful and become curious about them. When revealed, the Shadow is never comfortable, however it is always an opportunity to learn, grow and live more consciously.
We conduct a beautiful 3 day workshop/retreat called Becoming the Phoenix–Living a Life without Regret. Check it out here: Becoming the Phoenix. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for our next workshop location/date.