Yesterday I invited my shadow self for tea.
I told her she was valued, accepted, and worthy.
Then I proceeded to forget all about tea and went back to work.
What is a shadow self?
Shadow is the part you might be inclined not to share with others – like when we’re playing the “my life is perfect” game on social media, we don’t talk about her.
It’s the side of us who obsessively creeps people who unfriend us.
She picks fights with your lover, thinks hateful things toward people you love, and says the dumbest stuff – hopefully only in your head.
She’s the side that wants to lash out at those who hurt us.
She’s the part of us who is jealous, vindictive, or bitey when hungry.
And we generally don’t embrace those parts of ourselves because they’re just not nice, unpleasant, or even socially unacceptable.
Why would I honor her, then?
Most of our lives have been a featured story of “how we ought to be.”
Our culture thrives on giving us rules, regulations, guidelines, and tells us that until we are those things, we are not enough.
Of course, those messages are total lies. You are fine, even if part of you visualizes running someone off the road. (hopefully just visualizes, because actually doing that is totally not something you should do and I can’t condone that shit.)
So while we’re busy hearing, “do this, don’t do that, you’re only good if you are like ____,” we get pretty caught up in thinking that we suck because at least some part of us is a shady asshole.
This is the same subconscious messaging that tells us we shouldn’t be selfish or say “no” when we want to.
And here’s where I give you permission to take all that noise and throw it out:
Even your shadow side is worthy of the things she wishes she’d receive – like honor, respect, compassion, and loyalty.
And because part of healing the hurt that causes such vile reactions is self-compassion and self-love, what better avenue to begin with than to start treating ALL of you as though she was worthy of honor?
Even the parts that pretty much suck.
As a collective whole, we spend far too much time vying to be something we aren’t. Starting today, I challenge you to acknowledge those things about yourself that you wish were different.
Acknowledge, and then invite that part to sit down in conversation.
Let your shadow self be heard.
Let your shadow self speak – even if it’s only to yourself.
(it’s probably BEST to say it only to yourself LOL)
Let your shadow self know that she deserves to be given the emotional support that she longs for.
But isn’t this all woo-woo mumbo jumbo? You’re not a shrink. Why are you trying to psychologize me?
Look, every one of us has parts we wish to hide.
And every one of us – on a soul level – needs to be heard.
If we don’t stop this behavior now – we will continue to spiral into our hallucinations of separateness.
And as much fun as disconnection, loneliness, embattlement, and distaste sound, here’s your sign – your permission slip – to feel better.
How’s that work? How do I make it right with her?
When you begin to see yourself doing the things you’re ashamed of, pause.
Pause and instead of choosing to shame her, acknowledge her.
Tell your shadow self, “I see you.”
And follow that up with, “I hear you. You’re enough.”
Know that she’s vulnerable and needs you to validate her. And just because she’s acting out, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be loved, too.
Talk to her like you would a friend. Let her feel safe.