Lesson 6 – Accepting and acknowledging the shadow
We all have a dark side – our shadow as Freud calls it. You know, the one that wants to inflict pain (physical, emotional, mental or otherwise) on that person (or ones self) who:
- Cut you off in the traffic
- Put you down at work or school
- Pushed in to the queue at the supermarket
- Dumped you 5 years ago
- Lied to get you in trouble, and keep themselves clean
- Accused you of something you never did
- Gave you bad service or worse ignores you
- Dare I say, abused you in some way
The list could go on. Maybe you could share some of your situations where the dark side wants to come out and play.
What I do know is this – we all have this shadow.
To be human is to have the dark and the light, the yin and the yang. What is important is to love the shadow – as much as the light. Yes you heard me right…love the part of you that sometimes you hate and beat up. The part that is anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, rage, fury, fear or any other part that takes away from your best self or wastes so much energy and possibility.
And at the core of the shadow is something really simple and profound (at least in my experience), and it is accessed using this simple question:
What does the [insert shadow word] most desire?
As an example, if you feel angry because someone dumped you in a relationship, ask the question:
What does the anger most desire? The answer may well be revenge.
So, what does the revenge most desire? The answer maybe something like “To make them feel the pain I felt”.
What does the make them feel the pain I felt desire? The answer may well be, so that I don’t feel the pain anymore”.
What does the, I don’t feel any pain desire? For the pain to stop!! Ah, no more pain.
What does having no pain desire? The answer may sound something like relief, peace or calm.
So let me summarise.
The ultimate desire of the anger is relief, peace or calm (in this case). So how can we ever be anything but grateful for the shadow that keeps us down, makes us small or takes our energy and attention away from the main game?
So next time your shadow comes up, and it will, remember it has a strong desire to take you away from pain (and toward safety first), then hopefully something as rewarding as relief, peace or calm. When it comes up remember to ask yourself the powerful question:
What does the [anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, fear etc] most desire?
And keep asking until you find the source of the shadows reason for being. And in this moment you will find love for the whole of you.
Want to share. Please let me know your experience.
Live true until next time.