You may have heard of the term “shadow self”.
It refers to the parts of yourself that you don’t like and don’t show the world. The part you believe is bad.
Or that is what you have been taught to believe about your shadow self.
WHAT IS THE TRUE SHADOW SELF THEN?
When you are a small child, you learn how to live in the world of your family and wider society.
You are told what you should and shouldn’t do by your parents.
If your parents both work, you will be cared for by other people and you will be told what you should and shouldn’t do by those carers.
The web of people who influence your perception of self in your early years can be quite extensive … and destructive to self.
You will be praised when you do what others perceive as good and punished for what they perceive as being bad. But what you are doing is not necessarily good or bad. It is just what the person caring for you thinks is good or bad.
THE LITTLE GIRL AND THE HARRIED TEACHER
An example is a little girl I once saw who came to school bursting with excitement because she had learned to count to 20 over the weekend. This little 5 year old had just started school and was learning basic numbers. She was excited at that achievement. So she told her teacher.
The teacher was doing something else at the time, which the little girl did not have the developmental maturity to realise. To the little girl’s horror, the teacher reacted by slapping her leg and telling her to be quiet (I might add this occurred a few decades ago). What she had perceived as being something exciting to tell others about had become something shameful.
She never told anyone about her accomplishments again. She consigned that beautiful curiosity and zest for learning to her shadow as unacceptable and kept quiet about what she knew.
CHILDREN HIDE WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS UNACCEPTABLE.
Children will hide away what they believe is unacceptable.
But what they are doing is not necessarily bad, it is just not what the adult in their life wants.
It may be an inconvenient time, as with the teacher.
It may be the child is exhibiting strengths the adult is jealous of, so the adult shuts them down. Yes, it does happen … a lot.
It may be the adult was shamed about similar behaviour when a child and shuts the child down out of fear they will be shamed.
As an adult you may be able to recognise the motives of others, or put their behaviour down to them being wrong. But a child doesn’t have the knowledge of life to be able to do that. The child hides the parts because they believe they are unacceptable. Then they forget about them.
WHAT YOU HIDE TRIES TO UNHIDE
These hidden parts often reveal themselves later in life when you find yourself admiring things others do. You admire what you have in yourself that you have forgotten. Your admiration is longing for the part you hid. It is the call by your subconscious of that part to come out of hiding.
THE GOLDEN SIDE OF YOUR SHADOW
Other strengths develop due to early traumas. A lot of people don’t realise that they survived because of strengths they possessed or developed.
It is worth noting that hiding your strengths because you are told they are bad causes you to doubt yourself. This causes you to question everything you do. Often, uncovering your golden shadow and reclaiming those strengths you hid is an important empowering step to take.
It is important to be proud of your shadow side. It is said that your shadow is where your healing and pain meet the gifts you have to offer others. Pretty powerful stuff. Embrace it and be proud.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CONTINUE TO SUPPRESS YOUR GOLDEN SHADOW?
When you suppress your golden shadow, either deliberately or subconsciously, you will find your life full of problems, anxiety, depression, addictions, illnesses and perceived failures. You may not realise it, but your subconscious knows you are not living life true to yourself and it doesn’t like it.
4 WAYS TO DISCOVER YOUR GOLDEN SHADOW
- Notice where you feel envious of the abilities and qualities other people possess. You envy most the things you see in others that you yourself possess but have repressed.
- What do you admire and idolise most in others? You admire most in others what you yourself possess. There is great creative potential here for you to be guided by that understanding to uncover your own abilities. When you admire others you are admiring the disowned aspects of your own unique potential.
- Insecurities and feelings of unworthiness are another guide to your abilities. Did you know that not knowing your power creates insecurity. The parts where you feel the most wounded or where you feel something is wrong with you are indicators of your greatest abilities. When you have hidden a strength because you felt it was wrong you feel insecure. Insecurity creates a sense of unworthiness and emptiness. If you know your strengths you will have the space of gratitude for your own talents and to live in that strength. Then you will be able to reduce your self-doubt.
- Flip the script on your perceived faults. If you re-examine your beliefs about what is good and bad you may reveal strengths that have been disguising themselves as burdens. Look at your dark side and seek the treasures there instead of seeing that side as being negative and bad. Examples are to see introversion as a positive instead of a negative thing that holds you back. Another is to see what others tell you is laziness as the wonderful ability to relax. If you look at the opposites you will realise there is always more than one side to everything. Explore this and seek the positive.
HOW CAN I RELEASE MY GOLDEN SHADOW?
Your subconscious may hide your golden shadow, but it also tries to alert you to its presence. Work on healing the wounds of your past. Decide to choose strength over weakness, love over fear and inspiration over depression. Embrace your golden shadow. You will find a lot of your problems no longer exist.
Instead you will find you develop confidence, self-love, inner beauty, creativity and gratitude. All these contribute to you making positive choices in your life.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE JEALOUS BUT KEEP GOING – YOU HAVE THE POWER
As you embark on your own healing journey, be aware that there are always people in life who will feel threatened by your aliveness and try to damp it down or destroy it. It happened when you were a small child and it can happen now in adulthood. Just be aware of this and don’t fall for the destructive attempts of others. Hold your power and stand firm in it.
You may find being your true self is unfamiliar and frightening. After all, you have lived a different way so far in life. You learned early that fitting in was the safest thing to do. But fitting in is what brought you safety as a child when you needed to be looked after. You are an adult now. You can look after yourself.
Step out in your own true self and your own power. This may make your vulnerable to the reactions of others who feel threatened by your abilities. Do not expect approval for your glorious traits from such people. Look instead to other golden people who will appreciate your golden gifts. In other words, find your tribe.
BE YOUR OWN CHEER SQUAD
Choose to recognise, reclaim and express your great gifts and be delighted in yourself. Hang in there. There are people out there who will appreciate what you have to give.
Enlist the creativity and support of your own imagination. It is a great healer, so make the most of yours.
No matter what you have been told in life, you do have an imagination. Use it.
ALLOW YOUR IMAGINATION TO RESTRUCTURE PAST HURTFUL EVENTS
In your imagination go back to those past incidents when things did not go well and you suppressed those positive traits and were made to feel weak, small, unworthy and afraid. Imagine you making a different choice and run with it.
The magical thing about your mind is that the subconscious mind will not know if your imagining is reality or imagination.
Live those past traumatic events in the new power you are imagining you have. Say your piece, fight back, even call in allies (real or spiritual) to assist you.
Imaging bringing that spiritual strength you possess into those past traumatic times. Write them down, draw them, paint them, create them if that helps.
Believe you have redeemed those moments, because in your imagination you have. Allow the power you display in your imagination to shine and let your body be run by that power. Now let your golden shadow shine bright.
THE PATH IS ROCKY BUT WORTH IT
Note that entering your shadow side can be difficult. You first need to go down into those dark things you think you should hide. But exploring those and choosing to see them from a different perspective will reveal your golden shadow. Once you unleash that, you will discover so much more that you hid. This is an ongoing process, not a once only thing. Keep searching. Discover your true golden strengths.
NEED HELP? I CAN HELP YOU
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with discovering your Golden Side and healing, please contact me on 0409396608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz