How something I used to hide from became something I value the most.
It’s no secret that everyone’s emotions are heightened right now.
Small things we wouldn’t normally react to are ruining our day.
We feel emotional for no particular reason.
People from our past are pissing us off and making us doubt ourselves even more than before.
And honestly, I think we are all done with not being able to go anywhere.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the spiral of self-doubt, self-loathing, sadness and anger when there’s nothing we can do to distract ourselves.
But… should we be distracting ourselves or should we be questioning “WHY” we’re feeling this way? Should we be spending time getting curious with our shadow?
With this being the case, I thought I’d share some of the ways my shadow has impacted my life.
If you’ve never heard of your shadow, or don’t understand what it is… the easiest way to put it is, it’s the parts of us we try to ignore, try to pretend doesn’t exist or maybe parts of our lives and selves that we’re ashamed of. Think limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, projecting emotions onto other people… all that stuff.
I spent so many years in the shadows, so many years being scared and afraid, but ultimately just wanting to be loved. I wanted to feel good enough. I desperately wanted people to like me and wanted to *fit in*. I wanted to fit in so much that I was the world's biggest people pleaser, I was the *grey* man - meaning, I’d just agree with whatever people said because heaven forbid they don’t agree with me. But really, I was just petrified they would stop being my friend if I said something *wrong*.
The problem was, while I desperately wanted to be loved, I didn’t love myself. I didn’t even like myself, so how on earth did I think I could have these wonderful things?
Subconsciously, I became the master of self-sabotage. If anything was going well in my life, I would do something to ruin it. I pulled people down. I created drama and conflict. I’d bitch and moan because I thought by doing that I’d fit in, and it made me feel good. But it didn’t make me feel good.
Not at all. But it fed my story of “You don’t deserve to be happy”. I honestly believed my life was *easier* when there was some kind of conflict or drama.
There were times I couldn’t control how I reacted to situations. If something didn’t go my way, if someone said something about me, if someone didn’t include me – I’d react. Usually by sending a really shitty text message. Which, obviously, never ended well for anyone.
One of the hardest and most sobering things I’ve done is take responsibility for my own actions. I’m talking complete responsibility, not the “Yeah I did this, but they did that” rubbish. I’m talking – “Yes. I did this and I’m sorry.”. Part of taking personal responsibility, also meant not being afraid to be myself… my whole self. And FUCK is that hard?!
In order to be myself, I had to be ok with knowing that some people, who I thought would be in my life forever, would no longer be part of my life. They wouldn’t be in my life anymore because
a/ they didn’t like who I was; or
b/ I didn’t like who I was when I was around them.
And it hurts saying goodbye to people.
For years I’ve held onto some really deep secrets. Secrets of things I have done to people, ways I have behaved, situations I have created that I am not proud of. I didn’t want to speak of these matters because I felt so much shame, and I believed that speaking about them would continue to make me a *bad person*. But the reality was, I needed to speak about them in order to release them, in order to give them less weight. So, over the past few years, I reached out to these people and apologised.
I won’t lie, I was petrified of what they would respond. But I knew that I would be ok with whatever the response was because I had done the work. I wasn’t apologising to get attention, I was apologising because the shame was weighing me down. I didn’t want to hold anymore secrets.
I feel both sadness and pride writing that. Pride because I am proud of how far I have come and who I am today. And sadness because the things I did in my past have hurt me, but more importantly, they’ve hurt others, and for this I am truly sorry.
❣ I’ve lost friends because I was distant and non-committal.
❣ I’ve lost friends because when I finally had the courage to speak my truth, when I wanted nothing but honesty, I offended them. They weren’t ready for honesty.
❣ I’ve lost friends for being myself and for being friends with someone they didn’t like.
❣ I lost friends because they weren’t there when I needed them. Which was never often. I never asked for anything, but when I needed them, needed someone to know my pain, needed to be seen and supported, they were not there.
Loyalty means different things to different people, and people have different ways of showing their loyalty. If you are my friend – I’m there for all of it. I’m there for you no matter how badly you fuck up, how sad you are, how much you’re succeeding, the highs and the lows – I’m here for all of it! My flaw was thinking that others would be the same – and being pissed off when they weren’t.
Writing this now, I’m in tears. Because anytime our heart gets hurt, especially by people we love, it stays with us. My heart has been hurt many times. The cracks heal, but the scars remain. It is these scars, the ones hiding in my shadow, that were the reason I reacted badly, put my walls up, left me being desperate for attention and left me feeling not good enough.
While these lessons were not easy, it was part of the journey I needed to go on so I knew when incredible people came into my life. People I know I can turn to. People I’ve never met in person but support me louder than people I’ve known for years. People that don’t really get what I do, but love me anyway. People that love me, my idiocies, my cackle, my strength, my vulnerability and my fun. People that love all of me.
These lessons also taught me how to truly see, hold space, support and guide other womxn who no longer want the be controlled by their shadow. These lessons taught me to be strong but gentle, firm but kind and how to love HARD.
Now, when I’m agitated, hurt, frustrated or sad, I get curious. When my shadow shows up, rather than react, I pause, I ask questions and I’m completely honest with myself. I ask myself (and you might like to ask yourself) these kind of questions:
✨ “Why am I having these thoughts?”
✨ “Why am I projecting this onto someone else?”
✨ “Why does someone opinion of me bother me so much?”
So, my message to you beauty, is this...
When we embrace the days we need to rest, we allow ourselves to make room for creativity and peace.
When we allow ourselves time to be creative, we open our lives to new possibilities.
When we allow ourselves time to learn, we improve what we already knew and further develop our minds.
When we decide to take action, no matter how big or how small, we allow ourselves to take 1 step closer to our goals.
When that voice inside our head gets louder, it’s a sign you are on the right track. Your ego wants you to stay small, to stay ‘safe’ because it’s comfortable. But what happens when comfortable becomes too painful?
Are we then prepared to change… to connect with our true self?
Is that really changing at all?
Some of our closest people will move away, because they aren’t used to seeing us. They aren’t used to you setting boundaries and their selfishness makes them project onto you. Do not let their thoughts and fears bring you down. It is not a reflection on you, it is their own shadow coming out to play… but they have not recognised that yet.
My shadow is my friend. It is my teacher. Whenever we talk, I learn more and more about myself. I embrace and accept more of me. I let down another wall and begin to accept me and release my judgement of others.
When I dance with my shadow, I fall a little bit more in love with me. All of me.