The Shadow Self, One We Run From
Two more public figures lost to suicide, and many more that are not public figures lost each year. Many of us have aspects of our lives of self, maybe disappointments, things that we don’t always share with the world, even with our own family. We all have in a sense a shadow self, wear a mask to some degree. Who we are as a mom, sister, friend, how we act and behave in that context when we let loose with those people is not how we are and who we are at work, obviously, so we all have masks we have to wear to accomplish our goals and be effective in our work, as parents etc… However, sometimes the pain, the distortion of that pain etc… the wearing of that mask can run so deep, be so constant the person reaches a point where all they see is pain, darkness, an endless dark tunnel. They feel there is nothing of hope etc… to grab on to that can compensate for the pain, sadness, the inadequacy they feel. The Shadow lurks beneath the surface, bound by fear, shame and guilt. It can be difficult to detect without conscious awareness, of the tricks that the self will do to keep the wounds from being exposed. Often these “weaknesses etc..” are repressed, pushed away, ignored, with the idea that if I can just achieve a great success, then another and another, if I can do all this outward stuff, then that will make all the inward okay. Problem is that outward will never be enough, and you end up on a hamster wheel, going round and round, but going nowhere really, not emotional, not spiritually, not psychologically. In those respects you are stuck in that place of a little girl or boy full of pain, anxiety, sadness, of “look at me, see me, and I’ll show you, show all of you, I am good, I am worthy”. It’s a treadmill that puts you to a point of total exhaustion with life, with everything until you can’t live anymore, literally and you give up. You literally give up on life and decide life is to too heavy, it’s all too heavy and you find a permanent way out. How do you not get to that point? First you acknowledge there is a conflict a shadow self etc.., face it, see it, look right into the mirror at it with a good mentor, a person or group that can really help you through the process. It’s really important to be willing for all of us to work through our issues, not bury them, not pretend they don’t exist, for us not to wear a mask all the time, pretend it’s all okay when it is not. Not saying be snowflakes go around crying and whining all the time, be paralyzed by life, no, but periodic self assessment and helping others to do the same is a good thing, working with people who can help with that, a trusted friend even is a good thing. In a blog I came across on this subject three main steps were discussed for working with the Shadow self, hope this helps: 1. Be Kind to Yourself. To begin with, be gentle with yourself. You’re not going to do any good by beating yourself up for the fact that you’re feeling down or enraged or anxious 2. Give Your Feelings a Voice. Doesn’t mean you go into road rage or anything like that, but you experience it as it comes up. You say “Ok, right now I’m….., then take deep breaths and breath through it. 3. Physical Get the Energy Moving. Don’t just sit there seething, get up, go for a walk, go for a jog, do something to move the energy around, and channel it constructively. Don’t act like a brat, don’t throw wild tantrums that get you nowhere. For you own well being, try to work with these three stops and God Bless.