What’s Lurking In The Shadows
For the past few months I’ve been working on what’s called shadow work. I made mention of it in a recent post, 4 Steps To Rediscovering Your Dream. It’s not the easiest work in the world to do and it certainly doesn’t always have the most positive of beginnings. Being a reader of this kind of blog you’re probably pretty insightful so you probably have noticed a bit of a darker side of my writing.
What is shadow work, why is it important to do and could it be for you?
What Is Shadow Work
Shadow work is probably summed up best in a quote I shot out on Twitter today:
“Our indignation over the behavior of others is usually about an unresolved aspect of ourselves.”-Debbie Ford
This is a hard one for many people to swallow, including myself at one point. I went into a lot of resistance at first however I’ve come to the realization that what I resist, persists. And I mean that seriously.
Shadow work has you embracing the dark side of your world which all of us have and understanding they are parts of you, they are not the totality of you. If you find yourself judgmental of other peoples behaviors, habits or personal qualities then chances are that is something unresolved with in yourself.
Hard to believe?
“We project our own perceived shortcomings on others. We say to others what we should be saying to ourselves. When we judge others we are judging ourselves. If you constantly beat yourself up with negative thoughts, you will either beat up on the people around you-verbally, emotionally, or physically-or you will beat up on yourself by destroying some area of your own life.“-Debbie Ford
I know what you may be thinking, hogwash right?
Let me give you an example of why I thought this was bullshit and what the turning point was for me.
My First Shadow Work Realization
I can’t stand smoking. Not only can I not stand smoking but at one point I despised smokers. I would judge someone instantly if I found out they were smokers.
Because I was raised around parents who smoked. I still remember going on road trips and my Aunt would smoke in the car with the windows rolled up. She would get pissed if I complained and asked for the window to be at least cracked. So as a result I had come to despise cigarettes and anyone associated with them for the most part. At least that is what I perceived.
It came to a point that I would be driving a few months ago and see someone smoking at like, [7:30] in the morning and think to myself,
- “God how sick is that?”
- “Let’s have a tasty cigarette first thing int he morning for breakfast, you weak ass.“
- “Jesus what a loser that you feel you need to have a cigarette first thing in the morning to make yourself feel good. Don’t you realize how much you stink around other people?“
I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life although I’ve done plenty of other drugs in my past, I was quick to pass judgment on others anyway.
Here is the big realization..
The question I was asked is what kind of person smokes?
My answer: Someone who is weak and lazy. Someone who looks for the quick fix outside themselves instead of just doing the hard work up front that allows them to live a healthy life style.
I saw people who smoked as weak and dependent on something outside of themselves to feel good. The quick fix microwave mentality that weak people need instead of doing the hard work on the inside.
What I realized was that what I despised in smokers, I despised most about myself. That there was weakness in me. That I was about short cuts. It had nothing to do with smoking or even smokers themselves but everything to do with me and how I felt about myself and my lack of actions in my life.
I was projecting on smokers what I most felt about myself that was still unresolved inside.
Can you ask yourself where you cast and project the most judgments?
Identifying Your Greatest Qualities In Others
On the other hand the opposite is absolutely true as well:
“As long as we deny the existence of certain traits in ourselves we continue to perpetuate the myth that others have something we don’t posses. When we admire someone, it is an opportunity to find yet another aspect of ourselves. We have to take back our positive projections as well as our negative projections.“-Debbie Ford
Again, what you project on others is what you most notably have inside yourself, so the exact opposite is true as well.
Admiring traits and qualities in others are only a sign that those traits are available in you.
If you are inspired by a millionaire, actor, entertainer or body builder it’s only because that level of greatness is actually found with in you.
That’s pretty exciting isn’t it?
Take out a piece of paper right now and write down 1 or 2 people that you really admire and want to be most like. Then write down the 3 best qualities about that person that you admire.
Guess what, those are the top 3 qualities that are most inside you. 🙂
My Mental Health Disclaimer
Debbie Ford is most notably known for her “Dark Side of the Light Chasers” book where it supports you in reclaiming your power, creativity brilliance and dreams.
I hope these insights encourage you to take action as to starting the journey of discovery the life style you long for and deserve.
Not only has the shadow work allowed me to get back to the surface of the water, (from the depths I may add) but it’s allowed me to see where I may sore after breaking the waters surface.
Personally I have been through deep counseling as a child right after I went through serious child abuse, (Not by grandparents) and I know that mental health work has it’s place. There are people with serious illness that require more than a book alone can do for them.
However based on my challenges & experiences over the past 4 years I’ve felt that this has been one of the best plans of attack I personally could have taken. I didn’t use medication or physcoanalysis to skip over the roots of my challenges. (And make no doubt I’ve gone through bouts of depression)
I went to the root cause of some of my biggest mental, emotional & spiritual road blocks and took them head on with the assistance of a life coach as of the past few months. It isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done alone. However rather than treating the symptons I took on the causese. That takes work.
It’s my opinion and only my opinion that traditional medicine and treatment is handed out to thousands and thousands of people that doesn’t treat the root issue, only the symptom. I know someone will attempt to challenge me on the fact that this type of treatment does have it’s place and I’m not here to argue with you. You’re absolutely correct, in many cases. But many cases you are not.
Questions To Ask Yourself
What fear is there that keeps you from not only acknowledging your greatness but acting upon it?
What judgments are keeping you below the surface of life and are you willing to take the first step towards breaking out?
Write down some of your biggest judgments about others and ask yourself where they can show up with in yourself?
What kind of person owns those kinds of traits?
And what are the positive benefits of those qualities?
These are just a few of the key questions that will start to lead you in a direction of seizing your power back. The more you resist these negative qualities the more that energy continues to use your power of living in the now.
Free the energy and embrace your greatness.
“If you don’t go within you go with out.”-Jana fleming