Embracing your Shadow with Pride
We spend all our lives being perfect while in essence it is our imperfections that spice up the world.Take a minute and think about something you did that was out of the norm. Like a time you got really angry, jealous, excited, happy, envious, hateful or lustful. You will find that from this strong emotions you made a decision that made an impact in your life.
Our parents pinch us, scowl us, beat us up when we are out of line so that they we can be exemplary citizens. Like the Swahili saying goes “asiyefunzwa na mamaye hufunzwa na ulimwengu” then when we have learnt how to toe the line they forget to teach us how to embrace our ‘shadows’.
A shadow in this case is an aspect of ourselves that has been suppressed out of fear or shame. This could be a deep desire, a strong feeling or something you did that you’ll probably go to the grave without sharing with anyone. However, not everyone is lucky enough to go to their grave with the shadows. In some instances, the ‘shadow’ basket my overflow and that’s when one of your shadows is exposed. In other cases, the ‘shadow’ basket can be too heavy and weigh you down and prevent you from accessing your goals. In both instances, the shadow will emerge when you least expect it and in the most unusual cases. You could be in a meeting and from nowhere and you blow the fan over a trivial issue or in extreme cases you could turn out to be a rapist.
The only way to identify your ‘shadow’ is by being conscious of the intensity of emotion projected when faced by a person or event. When you are in a situation or with someone and you feel too angry, jealous, joyful, envious, excited or hateful, then you need to step back and figure out what that person did and what it means to you. That’s the only way you can trail your shadow.
For example when you find yourself in relationships that are unfulfilling, violent, you feel as though you’re not being treated as you deserve; that’s your shadow right there. Find a way to heal the scars caused in that area through prayer, meditation or counselling. Some books suggest that you need to comb through your mind and ask yourself; what did I learn from that situation? What are the ten things I’m grateful for being in the situation? Only then will you be able to embrace the situation and see the bright side.
Now after a while you will notice that you are sorrounded by a different group of people or a situation that used to make you so angry or jealous or envious or joyful goes unnoticed that is you’re indifferent to it. That is a good indicator to show that you’ve embraced the shadow or as Kenyans would say it ‘you’ve accepted and moved on’ in the actual sense though. This means that you’re no longer blaming people for the way things turned out, you are able to laugh at yourself, you feel lighter when you talk of the situation, you’re able to interact with the person you could never see eye to eye with and you are no longer dependent on a drug or drink to make you feel better. In spiritual terms it can be said that your soul and heart have been renewed.
Its only by embracing your shadow that you can enjoy the light. They are one and the same thing really; only the direction of the source of light is different.
This weekend, make a conscious effort to spot your shadows, acknowledge them and then embrace them.