How bright are you shining your light? How much energy do you have? When and where do you find your energy depleted? Are you waiting for more energy, or better sleep or something else in order to complete on something that you desire in life? Do you have some great ideas, but never take them to completion?
These are all indicators that a shadow is dimming your brilliance. If you want to truly move forward and step into your full potential, power, energy and brilliance, you must uncover and embrace your shadow. Your shadow self holds the key to what is missing in your life. It holds the key to your unfulfilled dreams!
As I wrote in my previous Blog, shadows are parts of you that you have rejected or denied expression. You made decisions to push those parts away at some time in your past. You did this because certain behaviors were either not accepted & appreciated by your loved ones, or as a survival strategy to fit in to your environment. The shadow may have been created as a result of trauma.
Shadow example: Someone grows up in a family environment where one of the parents had explosive, unpredictable anger. Maybe the parent was even abusive in that anger state. As a survival mechanism, the child becomes highly sensitive to anger and angry people. Because they have seen how destructive anger was in their family environment, they suppress anger within themselves and over-react when anyone else shows anger.
It takes a lot of energy and will-power to suppress a shadow such as anger and keep it hidden from yourself and others. Rather than using this energy in your creative brilliance, you waste energy creating masks of righteousness, better than, less than, shame, pain, judgement, addictions or in reactivity to events around you. This depletes your brilliance. Left in the shadows, these rejected parts can destroy relationships and sabotage your goals. Occasionally, in your weaker moments when you are very stressed, tired or distracted, your shadow with all its suppressed energy will break free and you end up doing the very behaviors that you judge in others. An example of this could be "road rage."
But there are even more consequences in separating off and banishing parts of you to the "shadow-self". These shadows contain other sources of personal power and resourcefulness. They bring gifts. Those qualities that we have rejected are often the very thing we need to move us forward in life or assist us in a challenging situation. Anger, for example, when deliberately chosen, can be very helpful to set behavioral boundaries with others rather than let them "walk over you." Anger can be the power you need to protect your family from harm. Chosen, anger could fuel positive assertiveness, or become power to get you out of a slump to find a new job or move out of an abusive relationship. Anger and other shadows when embraced will brighten your brilliance! Left in the shadows, they will turn your lights out!
"What you can't be with, won't let you be" - Bill Spinoza
Note: Shadows are not just those qualities commonly considered "bad". You may have rejected your "good" too. Some people reject play over work and become workaholics. Others reject their beauty or their intelligence in order to fit in with others. To be in our brilliance, we must embrace all of who we are, unconditionally.
What parts of your brilliance have you hidden in the shadows?
The first step in embracing our shadow and claiming our full brilliance is awareness. We must first shine light towards our shadow to see what we have hidden away in the dark closets of our psyche. That's not entirely easy to do, because we have spent years denying and hiding these parts from ourselves and in many cases we are quite good at playing hide and seek with ourselves. We are afraid of exposing those parts for fear that they will destroy us. They are our imaginary dragons and demons. However, these dragons and demons only have power when we leave them in the shadows. In the light, they are transformed into power and freedom. They become part of our brilliance.
Shadow Awareness Exercise (from Derek Rydall):
1. Consider an area of your life where you are currently "stuck" or not stepping into your full brilliance. Pick an area of your life that you want the most movement in but you are waiting for something to change before you can move forward. For example, you want to write a book or create a new business, but are waiting for more inspiration, more time or more energy. Maybe you want to get more fit, but you are waiting for more energy before you go to the gym, or for a friend to go with.
2. Close your eyes and remember a moment when you felt really bad about this situation. Get into the feeling of what most upsets you about being still stuck and not being able to move forward in this. Notice what the feeling is. You could feel sadness, anger, quilt, shame etc.
3. a)What do you make situation mean about yourself or what label would you give another person that is stuck like you are? The label will be something like "incompetent", "a loser", "a fake", "stupid", "lazy", "not good enough", "failure", "unworthy", "aggressive", power-hungry" etc.
b) If you actually succeeded or achieved what you wanted to, what fears or concerns might you have? What are you afraid that other people might think of you or do to you if you succeeded? For example: If you succeeded, your family and friends would not accept you. If you succeeded, you could get overwhelmed by the fame you would get. If you succeeded, people would think you are selfish.
Each of the answers you get in step 3 will be clues to the shadow(s) that are holding you back from success in this area of your life. To move forward, you will need to embrace this part and release its energy so that it no longer works against you but even energizes the achievement of your goal and brightens your light!
If you would learn more about your shadows and how to embrace them to your turn up your brilliance, please contact us or join our Embrace Your Brilliance workshop!