Thursday, May 2, 2019

Your Shadow Self

Recently, I saw the movie, Us.  While I watched it, I thought it was probably the worst movie I'd ever seen.  It was "classic" horror.  Look behind you!  Why aren't you running?!  Why are you going back in there??  The twists were pretty obvious and there was little jump factor.  Once I got home and thought about it a little more, however, I realized there was much deeper meaning hidden in that movie (other than how offensively horrible race relations are in the United States).  Without ruining too much of the plot in case you haven't seen it, the movie really makes you think about your shadow self. 

What is the shadow self?  It is the part of us we don't want to admit to having.  We may consider her weak or lazy.  We probably blame her for weight issues or the inability to commit to a relationship.  Most of us push our shadow selves away.  Reject her.  Tell her she's bad and needs to stay locked up.  She sits in a dark room stewing until some day she reappears.  Maybe you need her and you subconsciously call to her.  Maybe you have a moment of "weakness" and she just shows up.  But you'll have to face her sadness or rage someday. 

When you reject your shadow self, you reject yourself.  You tell yourself that you aren't good enough because this small piece of you is "wrong" in some way.  You spend so much of your life trying to keep her down.  So much precious energy that could have been used in a much more positive way. 

I recently did a Seven Day Healing Program through Preside Life.  Each day you listen to audio then journal answers to the questions he asks.  Although he doesn't specifically call it the shadow self, he does talk about the wounded inner child, which is essentially the same thing to me.  He talks about the masks we were made to wear as children in order to fit into our families.  I won't go too much into what he teaches, but the end result is accepting that your parents did the best they could, they did love you unconditionally, and you should learn how to talk to your inner self when you are feeling insecure and unworthy.  For me, it was important to realize how many things I use to stuff my feelings, and how I can rewrite my script to self-soothe in more healthy (or, at least for now, less damaging) ways. 

So many of us have those feelings of unworthiness.  We settle for sub-par relationships.  We don't ask for raises at work, or go for the better jobs.  We have to take sleeping pills to sleep, then we have to down gallons of coffee to wake up.  We eat to damage our bodies.  We exercise to punish ourselves.  We drink alcohol or take drugs to excess to dull the pain.  We make ourselves too busy so we don't have to sit in silence and listen to our own brains scream at us.  We push people away and pretend we don't need anyone else.  We spend hours looking at our phones, and not living in the real world.  It leads to a life of feeling very much alone in our misery.

What if you flipped the script?  What if you accepted your shadow self?  What if you looked at your wounded inner child, the one telling you that you aren't good enough, as trying to protect you, not keep you down?  If you don't go for that better job, you won't feel rejected if you don't get it.  But what if, instead of feeling dejected and freezing in your tracks, you took that feeling and let it propel you forward?  You weren't ready for that job, but now you're motivated to go back to school or get more training, which will allow you to get an even better job down the road.  One of my favorite things to say lately is: "Rejection is always protection, and delay does not always mean denial." 

I recently listened to the audio book, The Obstacle Is The Way.  The book tells you that obstacles aren't what keep you from success, they are, in fact, what will ultimately make you successful.  I have begun creating a program that combines hiking, yoga, and a little bit of a spiritual lesson.  I have also been writing a book about manifesting.  I realize now that I wouldn't be able to do these things had I not had the life lessons that led me to the hard work I've been doing in the last four years. 

So, that overly loud, chubby, mediocre, semi-attractive, commitment-phobe I've loved to bag on for so many years, is the same girl that is going to help me write the program that I hope will help many other people in the world.  She was my shadow self for years, but she recently walked into the light, and she and I are going to rule this roost together, hand-in-hand. 

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