There is something which is so little talked about in personal development, and it’s that everyone has a shadow side. We all have a side to our nature which we repress or deny, but it’s this side of ourselves which creates the recurring patterns we struggle with. It’s this side of our nature which causes our negative behaviour and judgement towards others, makes us feel judged by others, and takes offence when others are different to us and points out those differences.
We tend to be able to see everyone else’s issues without problem, but we feel deeply offended when someone dares to see ours.
We continually fight to keep our subconscious shadow side ‘safe’, and will find ourselves dancing around like puppets on a string as we dart around attempting to avoid anything and everything that threatens our ego. Our ego needs to be liked, to be agreed with, but then so does everyone else’s… so anything that doesn’t adhere to that is considered a threat.
Instead of taking the journey into our own shadow to understand it, then learn how to master it so it no longer determines the experience of our life, what we tend to do is search for solutions which allow it to remain in denial instead. We search for positive thinking tools which cover over the cracks and pain caused by our ego, providing us with ways of dealing with challenges so we don’t feel so bad when something outside of our control happens. But because this is dealing with the effects and not the cause, when the icing wears off, those challenges resurface time and time again, and so we search for yet another solution.
Yet when you really think about this, what this is actually doing is plastering yet another layer over your shadow, giving your ego reason to feel even stronger, even more superior than anyone who dares to nip or offend… (sorry, it’s not pleasant I know, but it’s very true).
When you face all of yourself, bringing your hidden shadow side into your conscious awareness and work on that, it allows you to see the reality of what is. It brings with it a deep sense of humility, because you begin to see the parts of yourself that creates pain in others, that manipulates others, and you begin to see your deepest fears and everything that your shadow has been working so hard to protect. So few would ever want to admit they ever do this, but they do. Just subconsciously, that’s all – this is what I mean by repressed or denied, thus it’s called ‘the shadow’.
Facing your shadow allows you to take a step back from your ego, and begin witnessing how you actually show up in situations, rather than directing your perspective only at others and feeling that it is everyone else who is somehow mad/wrong, whilst you are the only one who is sane/right.
It allows you to begin the journey of learning learn how to stop fighting to protect it, in other words, how to stop reacting to situations created by others, and how to also stop creating them yourself. You stop dancing around like a puppet, at the mercy of everyone else’s opinion of you, you lose any desperation to be liked, approved of. That really is all ego stuff, but it keeps you exhausted and fearful, because you are very much at the mercy of how others egos are going to react to yours.
It’s deep inner work, and the wonderful thing is that it’s not temporary. You cannot un-see your shadow once you see it for the first time. It’s an evolutionary journey – a learning which never ends, but which changes your entire experience of life from day one, whilst adding more and more beauty with each passing year. I likened it to waking up in a whole new world with eyes wide open, and learning to navigate from there. Yes, life really does change that much when you face your own shadow. You never rid yourself of your ego (it comes along with the human body unfortunately), but you can greatly reduce the power it holds over you, your life, your relationships and the patterns it plays with you and others. You can greatly reduce the pain it creates within you, which is pretty much most of it.
All victimhood is removed. Fear is removed. Everything is seen for the reality of what it actually is, rather than through the filter of how your ego sees it, and there is very little left to take offence at. You release others from being accountable to your ego, and they therefore begin showing up very differently around you. You begin to experience love as it really is, rather than having others dance to the demands of your ego, or else… There is no more inner-resistance, because you are not fighting for something which you are stubbornly refusing to see. You cannot change what you’re not willing to see, so until you’re willing to see it, embrace it and work on the whole of yourself, the search for tools to cover over it simply continues… and continues.
Aligning yourself fully brings with it a sense of inner peace, after the discomfort of seeing your own shadow for the first time of course (if it’s not deeply uncomfortable, then you’re not truly facing it), but this is a peacefulness and a feeling of utter liberation which is unlike any other.
Inner peace becomes who you are, not what you do. And that is the fundamental difference.