Last year, a couple of spiritual based 'self help' books made their way into my world despite the fact that I thought I had pretty much read them ALL over the past ten years. The first one was Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford which led to the second book by the same author called Why Good People Do Bad Things. She also made a movie called The Shadow Effect which was equally enlightening. Debbie passed over to the Spirit world earlier this year and lucky for us, left her wisdom behind in the form of her journey and her books.
Since reading Debbie's books, I've been consciously watching myself and my shadows and asking Spirit to show me myself and these darker parts I was possibly still hiding from myself. You know what they say, ask and you shall receive! This journey into shedding the light on those still unseen parts of myself is one that has been instrumental in my growth process. It becomes more evident by the day, that things outside myself that trigger me have nothing to do with them and everything to do with me and my shadow (God I love when it comes out like a song?). :-)
We are all human so we all have this part of ourselves called the shadow or wounded ego. Many people are afraid of their shadow and don't even want to consider that they have one, let alone look at it. It's that part of ourselves that believes bad things about ourselves because of earlier conditioning and usually painful experiences in our lives. It is our inner loser, inner bitch, inner critic, inner judge, inner fraidy cat, inner rage, inner greed, inner jealousy, etc. All of those traits we would rather 'push away' or not admit are there. So we go through life pushing away and not accepting those 'ugly' parts of ourselves, instead of accepting they are a part of us.
Going through life pushing down or hiding our pain, shame, guilt, anger, and self hatred takes A LOT of energy. It causes us to push away those darker qualities of ourselves and bury them so deep we end up wearing masks to cover up what we DON'T want to be. We put on a 'show' to compensate for what we perceive as our shortcomings. In the end it surfaces anyway. The more time we spend trying to hide or cover up that part of ourselves, the bigger the incident when it rears it's head.
It's interesting because we actually need our shadow sides at certain times in our lives. It's to learn to call on those part of ourselves when it's appropriate instead of denying it's even there and walking around like we're all that and a bag of chips. To quote Debbie in her movie "either you're going to use IT (your shadow) or IT'S going to use YOU". I agree whole heartedly. There are times when we need our inner critic, our inner bitch, our inner fraidy cat, etc. We need not deny these parts of ourselves, we really just need to be aware when those parts of ourselves are making themselves known, and ask ourselves if it's an appropriate time for that part to be heard.
Our human basic 'shadow beliefs' are that we are not good enough, we are not loveable, and we are not worthy. It makes me sad just to type that and think of all the years that I've allowed those beliefs about myself lead me through this life which kept me stuck in my old patterns of self hatred. It really does make me sad to know that any human being feels that way about themselves, yet the fact is we all have or do. Now how do we help ourselves move through our shadows?
The key to our freedom is in EMBRACING instead of RESISTING those parts of ourselves that have caused us the most pain and realize there is no dark without light and no light without dark. We need to be grateful for the dark because if we never knew fear, we would never know our courage. If we never knew weakness, we'd never know our strength. If we never knew anger, we'd never know peace, and the list goes on and on. The trick is to not get stuck in the old behavior and stories that run through our heads over and over.
We need to have the courage to look at the parts of ourselves that we hide, not only from others, but even from ourselves! We also need to fully understand that when we are triggered by the actions of another, that it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with us. If anger, guilt, shame, or jealousy comes up through interacting with someone or perceiving a situation, it is there to teach us. To show us a part of ourselves that still needs to be healed. My experience with this process has been that the triggers are huge at first, and the pain sometimes excruciating. However, over time the triggers become less and less until they're gone.
"The cost of ignoring a destructive pattern in ourselves, is self destruction" and "when we embrace our TOTALITY we experience freedom."
A man on the Shadow Effect speaks candidly about how he was sexually abused in a church setting when he was a young boy and how he lived his childhood in fear and his adulthood carrying his secret inside and the shame that was attached to that. He explained that it was only when he was ready and willing to look at his 'shame', talk about it to someone who didn't judge him, he was able to find forgiveness in his heart for the shadow part of his abuser and the part of himself that felt responsible somehow. He found he was able to free himself and move on to use his life to help others who've had similar experiences. Forgiveness is not saying what someone did to us is okay, it's forgiving the shadow part of another human and letting it go in order to free yourself of the burden we carry. It doesn't mean we have to be friends with that person, it's something that's in our hearts. The first step is to simply be 'willing' to forgive...the process takes time but the willingness is the first step.
Our relationship to ourselves is the most important relationship we will ever have so it's worth bustin' out our mirrors! This process isn't an overnight deal...it's pretty much an every day, life long deal but it's definitely worth the ride because in the end we will be shining our true light in the world and feeling lighter and happier than we ever have. At least that's how it's working for me!
We really are good enough, quite lovable and very worthy, regardless of what our shadow tells us.
"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ The Shadow Effect