Embrace Your Shadow Self and Find Freedom as a Whole Person
It’s no surprise to me that I’m writing this article just a few weeks after the Autumnal Equinox, as our days (at least in the Norther Hemisphere) are experienced with a larger portion of night.
Recently, I finished reading Debbie Ford’s amazing book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.
My main takeaway? It’s OK to accept that portion of you that you deny or denounce as inappropriate. In fact, it’s important to your health that you do embrace it.
Just as our days are comprised of a portion of darkness, we too contain parts of ourselves that we hide from the light.
You know what it is – that thing that other people do that triggers thoughts in you such as, “I’d never act that way,” or “I’d never do that.”
Maybe not, but if you are honest with yourself, most likely you would. You just won’t admit it to yourself.
Possibly you learned as a child that expressing anger was inappropriate. Perhaps you saw a parent who was quick to ignite and you noticed how it this expression affected others.
In response to this experience, you created a syllogism for yourself that probably goes something like this:
Expressing anger hurts others,
I don’t want to hurt others,
Therefore, I will not express anger
And BOOM!. You started stuffing down every bit of anger and frustration because you told yourself it was not good to let it out.
What wound up happening?
I’ll bet that you stuffed and stuffed (and stuffed and stuffed) until you couldn’t hold it in anymore, and one day you just blew up. You let it all out in one explosion of anger, and it was probably way over the top for the issue at hand.
In that moment, you reinforced your idea that it is inappropriate to express anger as you saw others shocked and hurt by your rage.
So you went back to stuffing and stuffing…until…all that pressure…just…needs…to…get…OUT!
BOOM! Cycle repeats, false belief reinforced. Cycle starts again.
(Funny thing about cycles – bicycles or behavioral cycles – once we learn to ride them, it’s really difficult to forget how not to ride them.)
Let’s play a game.
(NOTE: While the following questions use the word “anger” as their focus, you may insert any negative emotion in its place.)
Question 1: Why is it important that you shouldn’t express your anger?
Question 2: Are there times when it is appropriate to express anger?
Question 3: Does anger always need to be expressed at a Level 10, or could some situations warrant an expression at Levels 2 or 3 as an expression of Assertiveness?
Shifting from Anger to Assertive – Embracing the Shadow
On a scale of 1 – 10, where Peace and Calm is 1 and Full-Blown Anger is Level 10, the expression of Assertiveness is probably somewhere around a 2-4 depending on the situation.
Assertiveness, standing up for ourselves or what’s right, is a very similar energy to anger, but it comes from a more reserved place. A place of mindful control of emotion.
What if instead of stuffing your anger (or any negative emotion that you are denying) in every situation that triggers it, you instead embraced those low-level expressions and released that energy in the moment at an appropriate level for the event?
What would happen if you gave yourself permission to be assertive?
At first, it will probably feel a bit weird and uncomfortable, but within a short period of time, you’ll notice that you feel less-stressed and find that situations that used to bother you (triggering that pent-up collection of emotions that just want to get out) will not affect you in the same way anymore.
By embracing your shadow and finding the power within it (yes, all aspects of your Self have power), you become a healthy, whole person.
All emotions have useful power.
Just ask The Hulk. Scientist Bruce Banner tries to remain calm because he knows that anger releases the green behemoth within him. In fact, the classic line from the Hulk TV show gets straight to the heart of our denial of our shadow selves, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
But the power of The Hulk can solve some issues that Banner can’t.
Or to quote Anasi from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – “Angry is good. Angry gets shit done.” (Warning: explicit language in link.)
As you test out this new way of being, remember that these old beliefs are familiar and easy to fall back into. Give yourself time to notice the shift and embrace even the smallest change toward your new expression as you create your new story of yourself as a whole being.
If you find yourself having trouble releasing your old way, hypnotherapy is a wonderful tool to help you release those old beliefs and connect to your new ideal in a powerful and efficient way. Hypnotherapy goes straight to the source, the home, of those limiting beliefs and helps you to change them so that you can be your powerful, whole self.
If you’re ready to become a whole person, contact me today.
Together, we can create your Whole. New. You.