Like a sculptor, if necessary, carve a friend out of stone. Realize that your inner sight is blind and try to see a treasure in everyone – Rumi
Every aspect of our experience is a part of ourselves, hence, any attempt to eliminate or destroy any part of our experience does not help us but rather perpetuates and escalates inner conflict. Secondly, every aspect of our experience needs to be acknowledged, understood, and utilized in the contexts in which it is most useful, integrating it smoothly into the fabric of our lives.
Undesired and Unwanted Parts of Ourselves
I always remain pretty much struck when thinking and analyzing us and realize to what extent we humans are broken down into so many pieces – some in more some in less, depending on the environment we were brought in as well as circumstances we have encountered throughout life. We all have parts of ourselves that are split off, hidden, or denied. Living in the world cut-off from these parts can leave us feeling empty, as if we are going through the motions of our lives rather than fully living.
So many books, self-help literature, and essays have been written about growth and change that speak and lecture us about human desire to be different to how we are in order to be better than we are, to be more than we are. Why is so? Because deep down we feel ‘damaged’, unworthy, left wanting somehow.
I have learnt over years of my personal and spiritual development one thing – deep healing only comes with a deep acceptance of who I am right now. A deep compassion for my weaknesses, my unhealed damage, my darkness.
As we connect with, and embrace who we are in this present moment, then there is movement, growth and healing. Is it possible to ‘get rid of’ these darker, weaker elements of ourselves to become our ideal selves? Yes, it is. Can be difficult and painful process but is surely feasible. In this dismissal of who we are, in this rejection of our intrinsic self in this moment, is all the darkness that damaged and diminished us in the first place. It is as if we have internalised that rejection and harm and turned it back on ourselves. It is only with a profound love and compassion for all of us that we can find the freedom to be whole; not ‘perfect’, but whole. And with this wholeness we awaken to every part of ourselves that we have closed off to, and every part of the world that we have shut ourselves down to, including our relationships.
Turning towards the “shadow”, according to Carl Jung who described these repressed and disintegrated parts of the self, can allow us to feel more grounded, real, and whole. It can indeed take lot of energy and efforts to compartmentalize our disintegrated parts in order to accept them. Yet, in return it will give us good feeling to think of ourselves as beautiful, courage, strong, self-confident or smart.
Nevertheless, we generally hold equal amounts of fear that we will be seen as weak, ugly, or stupid. In truth, neither the light nor the dark alone comprise our wholeness. The need to be “right” also leaves us at risk of getting stuck in comparison and in dichotomies of right-wrong and good-bad. Rather than being black or white, the shadow lives in the grey and softens the boundaries between “me” and “not me.”
Accept And Uphold Your Shadows
By cherishing our shadow does not only illuminate the darker parts of our personality but also gives us access to the disintegrated positive parts that we find ”too risky” to bring out into the world. You will realize that when working with your shadows or polarities plenty of new possibilities can get awaken, such as that rather than “either-or” polarities we have used so far, we can switch into a “both-and” reality. Consequently, an opposition of angry and pretending to be polite , for example, are no longer mutually exclusive contradictions. The energy that was previously expended towards managing the disintegrated self stands available to you such as that it can be applied towards your full creativity and much effective way of communicating with yourself and others. In other words, higher quality of your life.
How Can I Help Myself To Accept My Polarities?
One of the tricky parts about working with the shadow is that we generally cannot see it! This is where working with a Coach or psychotherapist comes in as an external witness to help you gain insight into the unknown parts of yourself. The initial phase of integrating the shadow can be very vulnerable, uncomfortable, and can even feel shameful. Therefore, we often need some coaching and encouragement at the edge because is it seems easier to turn away. By holding a safe place for curiosity and mindful exploration we can lean into the uncomfortable edges together.
I love myself and what I do, perhaps not everything, but I love the good as well as the bad. I love my modest and filled with joy lifestyle, as much as I love my persistence and self-discipline. I love that I have ability to trust people with my brain and with my heart, even if I get disappointed or my heart get broken. I am proud of everything that I am and will become.
How about You?