I’ve been diving deep into shadow work lately. Well, i always have been, but i didn’t really know it. So now I’m doing so consciously. Purposefully. I’m aware of it and pay more attention to it i suppose.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figured of light, but by making the darkness conscious. -Carl Jung
The shadow is a psychological term for everything we can’t see in ourselves. It’s every piece of ourselves that we have hidden, pushed aside, and tried to get rid of. Whether it was because someone made fun of us, or because we were scolded, or society has told us it’s bad, it’s the ‘inferior, evil, or unacceptable’ pieces we don’t want to show the world. It could be positive qualities too that we just don’t claim as our own (think powerful, strong, capable). Shadow work is the diving into it, acknowledging it, and owning it. Doing so integrates both parts of ourselves and improves relationships, authenticity, and reduces negative interactions with others in which we get triggered.
I find it ironic that we see children as being pure, simple, and the symbol of happiness. yet.. that’s when all of our unhappiness begins. that’s when we start to push things down, hide parts of us that others don’t like, and build up our shadows…. essentially creating the pile of shit we’ll have to work through as adults to find our happiness again. It’s when we get in trouble for being energetic, when we get made fun of for being goofy, and when we learn that standing out in any way puts a target on your back.
In my humble opinion, I think more people should be aware of this type of work, this type of healing, and be more conscious of it.. not only to help themselves heal and find happiness again.. but to help reduce the shadow their own kids create for themselves. if we keep assuming kids are all happiness and joy, we aren’t honoring their true feelings… we aren’t acknowledging how little, powerless, and hurt these humans are feeling.
It amazes me as i dig through my shadow how much comes up that i didn’t even realize was an issue for me. yet it all makes sense when take a step back and look at my life. Let me share my shadow with you.. or at least a piece of it…
I have had an issue standing up in my own power because of the role I play in my family. I’m the baby of 4. And as such… I’m young, inexperienced, naïve, gullible, out of touch with reality, and a brat. For my entire life I’ve been challenged whenever I have an idea, an opinion, or a plan. I’ve always been asked where I found the information I have, have I done the research, what if this or what if that. I’ve been made to feel like an idiot, or brushed off like “what does she know.”
I know how that sounds.. and I hate saying it as I’m sure some of them might be reading this.. but it isn’t all bad! It has helped me grow in many areas and made me a critical thinker. I have learned to stand up for myself when it counts, and to make sure I have all of the facts before presenting something important. I’ve learned lessons from my older siblings’ experiences. I’ve managed to avoid trouble, do what needs to be done, and be good at whatever it is I’m doing. I basically took everything they are and tried to be better. I do love my family, and this dynamic has definitely shaped my personality and how I approach the world. but it has also made me incredibly defensive, and it’s kept me living small.
I’ve lived at home the longest of any of my siblings. Granted, one only lived in my home for a few years, another left as soon as it was legal, and the third didn’t beat me by much… actually I left before he did, but I came back. I came back broken, shut down, traumatized, and completely lost. So now it’s this point of embarrassment for me honestly… because I tried, and I failed, and im still not succeeding because I’m still here. I’m still here trying to make it, healing and growing, and refusing to move out and find roommates because my last one was abusive (that’s another story).
But I have a deep seeded passion to do what I came to this life to do, and quite frankly I don’t have the patience for anything else. So I’ve worked hard to build a business, and I’ve changed directions a few times. And that’s okay! Because its my story. Its my life. Its my journey. I love who I am, who I’m becoming, and every step of this journey because it’s mine.
Diving into the shadow of what my family has told me I am, recognizing now as an adult what’s true and what’s not, releasing all that isn’t true, and accepting all that is as not a bad thing… is completely transforming who I am and my relationship with them. Accepting that it’s not a bad thing to still be living at home is completely changing how I feel daily and how I interact with my current roomies (my parents). They’re retired, and our relationship now is very much like roommates. It’s never been hard to live at home.. the only part that’s hard is society (and my siblings) telling me I shouldn’t.
Well guess what society… f you. I don’t care. I love my space, I love where I live, and I love that I’m not always drowning in bills to live in this overpriced area (or settling for a shitty roommate to do so like I’ve done in the past)!