Photo courtesy of: http://irastrange.livejournal.com/
I had professor recently say, “When you understand someone’s difficult behavior, you can at least feel bad for them that that is the way they are, and be glad you are not them, but the the greater question is if they seem like they are trying too hard, why are they not being themselves?”
Sometimes conforming within other’s projections of ourselves will lead us to our darker shadow side. That is the place where we will find a way to create what we want and to be who we are.
Meeting our shadow brings a new depth to our being, our self. When we were born we were told we were good little boys and girls. Most likely our parents were instilling a sense of self esteem with these coos and smiles. As toddlers we learned that “being good” was rewarding; we followed rules and then we were praised. If we didn’t follow the rules we found ourselves standing in the corner for hours (okay, maybe 10 minutes, but we were three years old, it might as well be hours).
We watched programs and movies that rewarded the hero and we booed and hissed at the villain. We learned that society adores the martyr, the hero, the good one, but on that flip side the villain is dark, hidden, vile, and an outcast; alone.
As creatures of tribes the last and greatest fear we have is to be alone, fending for our ourselves, and to be unloved. The fears we carry prior to that are the worries that we will create a situation where we will be alone and unwanted. So what we do is behave and be good. We want society to see that we are worthy to live in their space so we put our value behind other’s in hopes to find acceptance.
It does not work.
I have been a fraud. I have wanted to live in my fantasy for my whole entire life (The one where I write for a living and people can hardly wait to read what I have to say because I am so AUTHENTIC!!!) I can still hear my mother chanting, “This is reality, Tina, not a fantasy!”, when I locked myself in my room with an old Corona typewriter for hours. Oh, how I cringed when she said that! (I know she meant it for my own good, I’ve been that voice for my kids from time to time.) But the next morning I put on my smile and went to school where I felt like the odd-girl out. I have always been like-able, and I dare say even love-able to many and I enjoyed my classmates and cherished my friends. Because I felt like I was different I let very few get to really know me for me. The most ironic thing is that the kids I was my truest self with are the ones who loved me best.
When I went into the workforce I always did a great job but I could not wait to get home to be me My favorite job that I ever had was raising my children. My second favorite job was having my home day care (so I could work at home with my children). Oh, how much fun I had around the kids! I would love to watch their behavior and I would always laugh at their shadow side when it popped out. That was when they were their truest self and they were so funny! (I am giggling in my head as I write this!) I had endless energy at that time of my life because though I was divorced and was as poor, really as could possibly be, I was me all day long. And at night I would write, I wrote all the time. There are pages and pages around here somewhere…..
Now my kids are grown and these days I teach CPR and I have my circles. I have a lot of fun with these, it is rewarding because I get to know people and have the opportunity to help them see the greatness in themselves. I am more of my authentic self when I work now. And I am still writing.
Often times when “kids say the darnedest things” or are seemingly “innocent”, what they are doing is showing their shadow side. For lack of a better picture, I imagine the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. I love that little devil, it usually exclaims the truth while the angel is looking for a polite way to express it!
The beauty that I find in the image of the devil and angel is that they are not good nor bad. They are opposites. After all, there couldn’t be good if there weren’t bad, dark without light, tears without joy, young without old; you get the picture: They make-up the two halves of the whole.
Problems arise when the polar opposites are off balance. Too much of anything is not good, it surely causes lack in the other. We are about to experience balance soon at autumn equinox, when our Mother Earth will tip again toward the dark until spring when She will then reach out for the light once again.
After many years, and decades for some, there is a final breakdown. The “I can’t take this any more!” because you’ve been walking through life in the most uncomfortable shoes or an annoyance like having your bangs fall in your face all day long. These irritants are constant reminders that you are not being your best and fullest you.
Autumn is a good time to take an inventory of your authentic self. What have you been hiding from yourself and others? How have you been masking your true nature? Some turn to addictions, sarcasm, blame, pity, are control freaks, or lead plain old lack-luster-lives.
This week, I invite you, and challenge myself, to sit in peace and think about what makes you happiest. When are you YOU? I bet if you acted more like you, you would breathe a bit easier, smile a bit more, and find that you are more creative and authentic. It is good to know that your shadow has your back.