The 4 Steps to Loving Your Ugly and Finding Emotional Freedom

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Here’s a quick and easy way to do Shadow work, which brings about healing all those wounds we carry with us every day.

Famed psychologist Carl Jung said it best: “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”

If you’ve been ignoring your “dark” side all your life and you feel it’s time to accept all of you, or, as Jung said, embody it in your conscious life” then these four steps will help.

Step 1: Awareness. Thoreau said most of us live lives of quiet desperation. Another way of looking at it is that many people walk around in emotional pain and have no skills to deal with it, so they put up with it. Or they are so numb they do not know they are in pain and spend their lives on autopilot… go to work Monday morning, have a few drinks on Friday evening, catch up with family and friends on Saturday, rest Sunday. And repeat. Week after week. Year after year. You, however, because you are reading this are awake and aware. So let’s look at…

Step 2: Manual and Monitor. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life. Work. Family. Partner. Friends. Hobbies. And more. Being swept along in all of this is like cruising along the freeway in a self-driven car. Life wooshes by and you seemingly have zero control over anything. When you feel this happening, be deliberate. Stop. Be still. Go manual. Be aware. This takes some doing. But it’s only from a place of ‘control’ that you can monitor and then deal with your wounds. When you do, you go to…

Step 3: Suspend judgement and acknowledge (your feelings). That’s ALL of your feelings, even the ‘bad’ ones. When we get a spike of emotion it’s easy to run from it and avoid it. Stop. Go manual. Acknowledge the emotion. It’s part of you. Which leads to…

Step 4: Love it. That’s right, it seems counterintuitive, but it’s important to love that “yucky” part of you. You can even talk to it… Hello jealousy, come here and let me give you a hug. And love your jealousy because it’s part of YOU.

When you do, when you cease to deny a part of you, it’s amazing how much freer life becomes. Why? You love ALL of you, not just the nice bits you show the world, but also the ugly stuff you’ve kept hidden in the dark, in your Shadow Self.
Shadow work need not be daunting. It can be fun getting to know the ‘real’ you. My book Finding You is one tool to use because I take you through exercises to help you dive into your Shadow Self and love all of you. Think of it like this: would you stay with a person if you only loved half of them? Might explain why you’ve never really loved yourself. The good news is, it’s never too late to change.

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