Confronting Your Dark Shadow
I had a blog about freedom for this week, but a topic came up glaringly this past weekend and I wanted to address it now.
There are so many more conspiracy theories going around. Again I ask: do you choose to believe them and feel powerless, or do you choose to find the deeper lessons in this global reprieve and own your power on a more profound level?
Conspiracy theories help make sense of what feels out of control. We are birthing a new world. It is unknown, therefore not something we can control. That’s scary. It makes sense to think bad people are doing this to you. Yet, “if you make someone the villain, then you’ve made yourself the victim.”*
If you believe there are dark forces out there, maybe it’s time to do some deep shadow work on your own dark. As the world is excavating its collective shadow, you need to excavate yours.
I tell you to be the light, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There is darkness and ugliness on this planet. We live in a duality- the lightest light and the darkest dark.
You have to heal yourself FIRST, and that means looking at your own dark: your rage, your fears, your prejudices, your entitlements, etc. Do you forgive, or only when it’s convenient? Do you have compassion, or only with people who think like you?
Healing those first helps you be more of the light.
You are no victim. In any scenario you can control your response, thoughts, actions, and beliefs. That is creating your reality.
Let’s talk more about your shadow, because I’m doing a disservice if you don’t realize you have one.
We all have a light and dark shadow: the things we shove aside and don’t want to look at or deal with. In the dark shadow are, as I said above, your rage, your control, manipulation, self-pity, shame, etc. Now you may be aware of these and are actively working to overcome them. If so, great, they’re no longer in your shadow. The shadow holds what you don’t want to, or refuse to, look at.
Here’s an example: let’s say for Sally it’s easy to cry, that’s a safe emotion. She was taught to never be angry or maybe she saw an angry relative and vowed to never be like them. So whenever she gets angry, she cries. Or she smiles sweetly and either apologizes for getting upset, or acts as if everything is fine. All three of those options discount the truth that she’s furious and can’t acknowledge that. Where does the fury go? Into her shadow.
Vowing to, “not be like them,” either an angry family member or another authority figure, only holds that emotion like glue in your space.
Left unexpressed, the shadow gains in strength. Then Sally worries that if she were ever to express anger, it would be so ugly and destructive, that it's better to keep suppressing it. At some point, either she may become depressed, or have no motivation and be resentful. Maybe she does lose it and destroys her relationships, or more terribly, an illness gets created.
On the opposite side of that, let’s say Sally, in her anger suppression, is super sugary sweet and says she can’t even hurt a fly. She is so out of touch with herself that while she may not overtly hurt you, check your back for a knife. Again- shadow. She can’t show anger but boy will she harm you covertly given the chance.
Here’s another example: Joe was taught the opposite of Sally, that’s it’s manly to be angry and domineering but crying is weakness. So he goes through life getting more and more cut off from the people around him because he’s angry all the time. Through every loss, through all his fears, he can’t speak them because vulnerability is the enemy. He rages instead and pushes people away. Like Sally, the consequences could be severe, or seemingly benign yet filled with tremendous pain: a lonely, unfulfilled life, or, a seemingly successful life externally with all the trappings of success, yet without truly knowing love and inner peace.
Obviously there are gradients to how it plays out, the point is, a shadow unexpressed and unexplored is destructive and fodder for your negative ego. That which you shove aside both comes at you from the world and the people around you, and your negative ego will use it torment you. That’s actually a good place to look: what kinds of negative/upsetting situations do you continually find yourself in, and also, what is the nasty voice in your head telling you? You may get clues there as to what you’re not owning.
How many people do you know controlled by their anger or their martyring (sacrificing) themselves? Maybe they’re controlled by their need to control or their victimhood. The choices are endless, what controls you that you won’t look at? What’s the truth below it that’s waiting to be excavated?
You have to acknowledge and release your emotions, safely; i.e.: journal them, rage bubble them, take a pillow and beat the bed, go for a run while venting- you have to move them out.
Just like in the world, we’re all capable of the lightest light and the darkest dark. When you own that, it can’t have power over you. You know what you’re capable of and choose to respond responsibly and accordingly. And by the way, this is how you create greater self-trust and greater self-actualization. When you do that, you not only heal yourself, but you heal the world.
*Quote from Eileen McKusick
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Me, Tina Germain, just sharing ways to make you the best you can be!