The other day while i was walking the dog, I looked down and saw this heart etched into the road below me. I love seeing hearts in random places so I took a picture. Afterwards, i noticed how cool the picture is – but later on realized it had even deeper meaning — love in the shadow.
What is your shadow self?
Your shadow self is the cumulation of the parts of you that you don’t want to be. The parts that you run from, have immense shame around, and do your best to cover up and/or hide from everyone else – mostly yourself.
You know when you’re knee deep in your shadow when you judge someone else for doing something you’d never do – or you judge someone for being something you’d never be. Or, if you’re accused of being a certain way – and you get enraged at the thought of it – then you know you’re hovering over your shadow.
Our shadows, like every limiting belief or thought process, gets it roots at an early age. You most likely witnessed those that you’re connected to in your family dynamic being destructive or unloving and made a promise to yourself that you’d never be like that. You’d be different. Better. More of something. Just not them, or that.
So, you become the opposite of your shadow by building another ego self that you can be proud of and that is *accepted* by the outside world. You do the right things. You follow the rules. You make the right choices. You follow the right path. Until you don’t.
Making this decision about who you wouldn’t be, put your shadow self into a box, and your intention was it would never, ever see the light of day. Yet, your shadow has different intentions – its intention is to show you who you really are – so you can accept ALL of you – and ALL of others.
If you walk around not accepting parts of you – you’ll walk around not accepting parts of others. You’ll judge you just as much as you judge them. And, with judgement being the absence of love, no one heals from that.
By ignoring, rejecting and abandoning your shadow, it will crop up when you least expect it. It will crop up when you’re doing your best to be someone else – but your shadow reminds you that it’s there – and unless you acknowledge, accept and love it, it will continue to sabotage you.
So, how do you learn to embrace and accept your shadow self and realize it’s a part of you that needs love?
They key is to acknowledge your shadow and know that these aspects exist within you – and to remove judgement. The next step is to witness but not react or engage, but rather integrate.
For example, the other day I said to my coach, I’ll never be enough for something I truly want. He encouraged me to see how I’m repeating a thought process that is telling me I’ll never measure which essentially means “ever” – it will never, ever happen. Yikes! I then asked, “Okay, how do I heal this?” He simply said, “Can you love that you’ll never be enough?” In that moment, I felt unleashed in my reply of “Yes!”.
So I’ll pose the same question to you – can you love the parts of you that you don’t want to look at or acknowledge? If you can, you’ll begin to experience true freedom. Give it a shot. And remember, like anything it’s a process of integration.
Tip: Look for the gifts in becoming the opposite of who you never wanted to be – and then look for the gift if you embrace all these aspects. The best gift to realize is – if you embrace and love your shadow, it will lessen it’s hold on you and stop haunting you.
As always, it’s your choice.