Today I thought I would talk about the importance of confronting our shadows. Like most of my other posts, this is something that has been showing up in my life recently and I thought it would be best to share my experience as it is unfolding for me.
What is the shadow? The shadow parts of ourselves are the parts that we do not like or agree with. They are the parts that society has deemed “unworthy” and consequently are forced to take a backseat within our being. They are suppressed, but are not gone from who we are. They tend to show up in other ways in our lives. For instance, when you feel triggered by something and become upset and say or do something that you felt you had no control over and usually regret- this is your shadow showing itself. This has happened to me many times and continues to happen to me now. Anger and rage have been a big part of my shadow self. Because our culture says that feeling and expressing our anger is a negative thing, I learned that instead of expressing it in a healthy way, I should try to instead suppress it and force it away in fear of being judged or ridiculed.
But my anger and rage do not leave me. They continue to build and build until something sets them off and they appear in worse ways than if I had expressed them in the first place. I then feel immense shame for this and think, “I am a bad person” or “my anger and rage are bad and should be suppressed even more”. The cycle continues.
Showing our emotions is not an easing feat in our modern, technological society. It is considered a weakness in most cases, especially if one is considered male. But holding our emotions in is not healthy and only makes the situation worse when they do decide to show themselves. Suppressing who we are fully can lead to illness within the mind, body, and spirit.
So what can we do? Our shadow is not going away. No matter how hard we try to hold it in and cast from ourselves, the more it continues to manifest itself in other ways; some that may be unconscious to us.
In order for us to grow and evolve into the people we long to be, we need to first accept all parts of ourselves. I need to accept my anger and rage and when they arise within me I need to welcome them, feel them, and let them pass as they are meant to. This habit is very hard to break as our learned-behaviors are wired into us. But the more conscious we become of the habits that do not serve us, the more we will be able to take our power back and decide what habits we want to keep and what we want to leave.
It is all about perspective. Our shadows are not a negative thing. They are not something to run from. There is no light without the darkness and our shadows are here to show us the beautiful experience of what it means to be a human. Facing our shadows can have an enormous effect on our relationships with ourselves and others as well as how we react to what comes up in our lives.
Yes it is scary to confront the parts of ourselves that we deem “unworthy”. But perhaps ask yourself, “why do I feel that this part of me is unworthy?” Ask the question, “where is this coming from?” and then listen to what answers arise within you. Journaling has helped me immensely when confronting my shadow self and I have learned so much about the various aspects of who I am.
I encourage you all to confront the darkness within yourselves. We all have it and it is nothing to be ashamed of; it is what makes us human.
I hope this resonates with you, if you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out:). Happy New Moon as well.