A long time ago I read a book by Debbie Ford called “The Shadow Effect” it was quite amazing because it was about bringing the parts of ourselves that we don't really want anyone to see to light.
What I want to share with you today is how to own those parts of yourself because if you don't own them then they tend to own you. Our traits are neither good nor bad except when they have control of you. If you don't own those traits those parts of yourself that you are ashamed of, feel guilty about, or are embarrassed about then they have the power to run you when you are at your most vulnerable. When you own these parts of yourself and you learn how to see the beauty in them and you realise that you can use them appropriately then they become a gift.
When I read Debbie’s book I did some of this work on myself and I am going to share a few examples of some of my shadows that I transformed so that you might start to see how it is done and why this might be of benefit to you.
Inconsistency (I actually spoke about this a few weeks ago)
Inconsistency is something that I have seen as a real fault of mine and in fact somebody I went out with years ago berated me about it and said that I needed to be more consistent in my life. As I said above it is not about making any aspect of yourself wrong it's about finding the gift that they have for you. In regards to my inconsistency;
- It has meant that my life is exciting and vibrant.
- I am endlessly curious and eager to learn and because I am inconsistent I am always getting myself into situations which bring new things into my life and make it rich and full.
- I have learnt balance through my inconsistency and to be gentle with myself. As otherwise I can run away with myself and become exhausted.
- I have been able to acheive enormous growth in my life as I am constantly facing new challenges and because I do not stay in my comfort Zone.
- I have also managed to acheive more than I could ever dream of because I was not limited by the direct rout.
I am an inconsistent person at heart but I use it to enrich my life rather than allow it to take over my life.
If you speak to my family they will attest to my stubbornness. This is also something one of my sons has in common with me and it is something that we have bashed heads because of a number of times. For me my stubbornness is a way to defend the truth of who I am. I have very opinionated and strong personalities in my family and in exploring my stubbornness I realised that the positive side of it was that it gave me a way to protect myself and to ensure I stuck to my own path in life. It gave me the courage and determination to forge ahead with what I wanted irrespective of what others might think. However on the negative side if I allow it to run me (when I react to a trigger unconsciously) instead of me running it I can be stubborn for the wrong reasons. I can stick to wrong opinions or wrong paths just out of stubbornness and cause pain to others. For me being stubborn is a wonderful asset as long as I am aware of it and I use it in alignment with myself. As long as I use it when I am speaking my truth and I am doing what's right for me. It doesn't work for me when I let it run me and when it actually takes me away from the truth about who I am and what I want to do.
The last one I am going to share with you is that I am a recovering people pleaser. I hold my hand up and I own it. This particular behaviour has caused me a lot of pain in life. I have taken on the responsibility of other people's happiness from time to time. And if you are anywhere along the personal development pathway you will realise that trying to please somebody else is a thankless task. You cannot take on the responsibility for somebody else's happiness because
a) it makes them a victim and it makes them powerless and
b) you get blamed every time that they are not happy
However being a people pleaser means that I have learnt how to read people and understand them and their needs which means that in my line of work I am able to really help them find their own happiness. I have to still be very carful to not take responsibility for other peoples happiness but I can support and challenge them to find it by believing in them.
This is by no means a full list of all the things that I believe are negative in myself but I wanted to share a few so that you can start to see how you can take a negative and find the positive.
If you are not sure what your faults are there is a very simple method to find out. Observe what triggers you when someone accuses you of it. For example if somebody had accused me of being impulsive or being inconsistent (and I hadn’t integrated or accepted that part of myself) I would have become defensive. Anytime you feel sensitive about some aspect of who you are this is a part that you have not fully accepted. In fact in one of my previous relationships (and I know I have mentioned this before) my partner used to call me pathetic. It really upset me until I realised that being pathetic meant I was able to ask for help, it made me humble and allowed me to relate to other people, it also taught me to surrender and let go. I have always been someone who tried to be strong so being called pathetic was the worst criticism. However once I looked for the good in it I saw it as a balance and an antidote to having to be strong. Now if someone calls me pathetic I just find it funny.
Once you have identified the aspects of yourself that you are not entirely comfortable with then you need to sit with them and work with them until you can find out how being this way serves you. Looking back on what I have told you, you will see that I have taken things I did not like about myself and found how they serve and why I would want to have them as part of me. Shadow work is not about cutting out parts of who you are but looking at them differently to see how they can actually serve you.
There is a power in owning every part of who you are. There is a strength and a wholeness and a unity in owning those parts of you that cause you discomfort and they no longer have power over you when you own them. When you own them you become whole you become more complete and more grounded and more present. When you are fractured your energy is everywhere and you will find you easily get triggered by other people.
So much love from me to you