Have you ever stopped and wondered why we do the things we do? Why we react in specific ways? Behind every action we take, there is an intent, and sometimes that intent can be clear as day, but other times it is more hidden in the shadows working behind the scenes. It does this for a reason, at one point we decided that parts of ourselves weren’t acceptable in the social structure we were at, and so we pushed them away into the background thinking that was the end of it. Boy, were we wrong.
A few years ago, I made a decision. I wouldn’t give out any more advice until I started living by it. This need for being of service is something so many of us do. We spit out wisdom all over the place like we got it all figured out when the truth is, has anybody figured anything out? So the crucial question I had to ask myself was, why am I so desperate to fix everyone’s problems? The answer was hidden in my subconscious mind.
In my childhood, everyone seemed to be a perfectionist. In my family, it was hard to please people, and being a people pleaser that just made it more of struggle. Now looking back I can clearly see people-pleasing was a way to make myself less of a threat. It started to feel like I HAD to be the one with all the answers, the one that was strong and never vulnerable, because being vulnarable was linked to shame.
The problem was I was missing one person, and that person was myself it felt like an internal scream that had been covered up. It just got louder and louder. I understood that while I love being of service and helping people, I hated being co-dependant. There was so much anger I had suppressed, and most of it was towards myself. I felt like a fraud, so I desperately wanted to understand what was going on with myself. This story brings me to a critical process in life called making the unconscious conscious. And like I mentioned, I was taught not to touch anything that could be too messy, but to sweep it under the rug. I wouldn’t even think much about it, that is until I tripped all over it.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
― C.G. Jung
This process was not a conscious act on our part, and along the way, we forget about those parts. The only problem is that they don’t go anywhere they remain somewhere unseen; thus why it’s called the shadow by many.
I am well aware that this sounds awful to many of us. Like there are parts of our personality we haven’t even met. I choose to see it as getting to know myself all over again, and every time one of those tucked away sides comes up, I feel it, keyword being feeling. Using our emotions to guide us through life is something this world discourages us from doing many times.
As children, we get shamed when we act a certain way that goes against the grain. Shaming is abusive. It cuts us off from our true selves.
If you find yourself in a situation where your emotional body is screaming GET OUT, and yet you still stay those are one example of how the shadow makes itself known, but we, not knowing better shove it back where we found it. I would instead challenge us all to get uncomfortable and invite those parts and do your best to love them back to life.
Becoming aware of ourselves is a life long process, and in that process, you find out who you indeed are and what makes you happy. I am not advising you to do some rebellious act where you cut up all your clothes, call your parents to tell them how they ruined your life and move away while screaming f*ck you to the world, even though that sounds kind of liberating. It’s about not resisting your true essence. That is why being present in the moment and anchoring yourself is so important, not just some hippie mindfulness talk. We can use our great minds to escape reality, or we can use it to become aware and, yes that is painful sometimes but pain is temporary always remember that.
If you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t feel good like the example above, ask yourself questions, and you will see that there is a legit reason for you feeling that way. And then listen to that and choose from a place of compassion and understanding. We all have our intuition and know deep inside what feels right for us and what doesn’t. It gets messy when we don’t follow that natural compass and start looking for the answers outside of us. Many times we do this to have someone to blame if things don’t go as planned. That is not taking responsibility. All you are accomplishing with this behaviour is giving over the power of your decisions to someone else.
Life is about living true to who you are. And to give yourself space to be what person. We grow, change and mature so make sure you have all of yourself on board and not just the sides society deemed acceptable. What does society know, anyways? Look around you; it’s a mess.
When we can take responsibility for our inner nature, we can also begin to understand our fellow human beings. Instead of reacting and jumping to defence when someone goes against us, we can try to be vulnerable, to say how we feel instead of playing the blame game. It might not always be easy, but it’s worth it in the long run. Like anything else, the more you do it, the more natural it will feel. Don’t ever apologise for being authentic. Healing takes time, courage and patience. Let yourself experience it.
And yes some days and some patterns that bubble up will feel like you are in a full-blown panic attack. You can feel part of your ego fighting for dear life, trying to find all kinds of excuses and justifications. And that is entirely understandable when we live from the same patterns for years. It feels like there is no other way. But remember it’s not about pushing yourself away but about integration. Feeling safe and trusting that there always is a choice. The thing is, we can never change something if we don’t acknowledge it first.
And hey, we are in this together so please ask for help and support. This in and of itself can be filled with anxiety, but trust me if it makes you feel like that, support is a need you have to meet.