Ever felt there’s ‘something not quite right’ in your life? A subtle, underlying ‘something’ lurking ‘somewhere’ you can’t put your finger on or why you’re feeling it? The niggle has been there for some time, maybe even years. And frankly, you’re sick of it. Worse still, you’ve done all the self-help courses, read the books, and tried just about everything, only to end up back where you started… unhappy on some level. Sound familiar? If so, let’s take a look at what you can do to feel ‘happy’ again.
If you believe the love and light people, that’s pretty much all you need. Love and light. Meditate. Use positive affirmations daily. Banish your negative thoughts and replace them with love and light ideas. Yeah right. There’s only so long you can “tell” yourself this stuff before a part of you calls BS on it. And then it’s back to square one.
If you’ve come under the thrall of the love and light narrative only to be left disappointed – and still feeling pissed off often and/or triggered by recurring patterns in your life – then it’s time to look deeper.
You see the love and light solution in reality is surface-level stuff. To truly know yourself you must enter the darkness within, or your Shadow Self, and love these parts of you.
A journey into the Shadow Self is about exploring your demons. The Shadow Self is those parts of you that you don’t like, have shunned, and don’t want the world to see. The “bad” stuff that you’ve squashed down and tried to bury. We all have stuff in our Shadow. Jealousy. Feeling small or less than. Shame. Embarrassment. Taboos you secretly like. Ugliness. Anger. Bitterness. Hate. Rage. And more.
These are present in every one of us. And it’s why just “love and light” practices only ever skim the surface and work for a fleeting time.
Think about the meaning behind these “bad” words… greed, rage, anger, hate, bitterness, yearning, selfishness, desire, lust, power…
Is there any way these could be part of you? You’ve created success in your life… nice home, good career, lovely family, good circle of friends and more.
Who wants to admit, even to ourselves, that we possess this kind of darkness at times? Yuck, right? It sounds so bloody primitive and neanderthal that a modern evolved person like me can identify with them. Like if you did you would in some way be evil or completely inferior to others and their smiling social media posts. No way, right?
What we do then because it’s uncomfortable… that you were jealous when that conniving bitch at work got the promotion and you didn’t and you wanted to fly into a rage and break things and didn’t… or… you still harbour the resentment from being bullied by that big kid in Year 5 and if you saw him now you still want to punch him in the face and kick him in the crotch as hard as you can.
Releasing that kind of rage is just not the done thing now it is? So we repress the feelings. We pretend we don’t have them. We disown them.
And that’s the crux of it. No wonder we are unhappy. When we deny the feelings, we DISOWN parts of ourselves. We shun parts of ourselves. And we cut off parts of ourselves so we can show the world our ego-driven shiny bits. It’s only natural to want to be liked. To need fit in. And feel “good” by being accepted by others.
So we rarely reveal our “bad” bits lest we be judged.
Here’s the thing though, and if you’ve made it this far, my very good guess is that you instinctively KNOW this to be true… when we shun, ignore, and disown parts of ourselves, they begin to fester. They don’t go away. Instead, they grow. And they can run our lives without us evening knowing it.
We can’t eliminate the Shadow Self. It’s PART of us. It’s there all the time. The trouble bubbles up when we fail to see it.
What can you do to journey into your Shadow Self?
For starters, stop denying that part of you. Stop labelling your emotions as “good” or “bad”.
Also, notice when you judge, criticise, or blame others. As Dr John Demartini says, the seer, the seen and the seeing are one and the same. When you judge another, what in yourself are you judging or even avoiding by projecting outwards?
If you feel the pangs of jealousy, the surge of anger or the darkness of self-pity descending on you, pause and acknowledge its presence. Accept it. Welcome it. Sometimes I even talk to it as part of the process… Hello jealousy, nice to see you, come here and let me love you and give you a cuddle… it’s amazing how fast the spikey feelings become balanced when you do this. It can also help to ask yourself what core belief is behind this feeling.
The key is to be HONEST about your feelings. To NOT run away from them and disown them like you have done probably for most of your life.
One resource that helps this journey is Finding You. The exercises in it give you a structured way to look at your Shadow Self.
You are ok. You are human. Humans have these feelings. Own them. Accept them. Love them because… they are part of you.
Facing your Shadow Self is about freedom. Freedom to like you, all of you. And when you do you feel more flow, more alive and more like you belong, no matter the situation.
If this post has triggered you, great! Look at why. Name the emotion. Don’t judge it but give it a name. Anger at me for example. Or dismissiveness of me… Who the hell is this Steve Vincent guy, what would he know? Love that anger in you because it’s part of you.
Because only when we accept ALL of ourselves are we truly free.