What aspects of yourself do you hide from others?
“It isn’t something to run from. It isn’t something we should hide from each other. If our true desire is more peace in the world and loving kindness towards each other, we cannot get there until we look at our darkness. If I want you to know me, and all I show you is parts of me that are polished and perfect, happy and light—you will never really know me. If you I want to love you, but don’t want to know your fear, your anger, your shame…it won’t happen.”—Kate Bartolotta
We learn at a young age from our environment that certain emotions and behaviors are better off kept locked up. It’s a learned protective mechanism.
I would like to believe I live in a place of seeing the truth about myself and others. But, if I am being honest that is not always the case.
I have spent the last 5 years actively working on transformation; weekly therapy, reading books, listening to podcasts, taking feedback from others…and yet I fall down these rabbit holes into an unconscious, black abyss which keeps me avoiding the real shit that keeps me stuck; aka the emotions and behaviors I learned to lock up!
This place…it’s called “being human”.
I want to acknowledge that, because we all avoid the real shit at times. It’s painful. It’s ugly. It’s embarrassing. It’s the stuff you don’t typically use to describe yourself. Out of fear of acknowledging these aspects, you lock them up. The problem is, suppressing them does not get rid of them…visitation rights just get revoked for a bit. But, eventually they pop their ugly head out and say “heeeeeey girl, hey”. Or boy.
I mean…lets be honest, why in the hell would you want to actually show someone who you REALLY are?
“Hi, I’m Brionna. I’m jealous. I don’t often tell the truth about my feelings. I hold grudges and resent people who don’t do things the way I had wanted them to, although I never quite asked for exactly what I wanted in the first place. I don’t define or bring clarity to things, I just go along with what’s happening and feel shitty about myself because what IS happening does not feel right to me at all. Yep, that’s right, I pretend my way through things when I feel stuck. If I feel like you’re not being honest, I will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth but then I won’t tell you I know the truth…because that’s how much I care about you, and your feelings are more important than mine. When I get angry, I may shut down in front of you. However, when I’m alone I scream and yell and fucking punch walls. I cry and cry and cry sobbing and screaming “why me”. I am so sensitive and read into everything. So….want to be my friend?”
Let me introduce you to my shadow. It’s not easy to get along with or even understand.
But, I want to share with you some things that can happen for you, IF you are willing to uncage those nasty aspects you think you have and let them be just as free as those parts of you that you show to others. You will be so surprised by how much easier your life is to live.
Yesterday, I came to a few “a-ha” moments that I realized about myself because of how I was being triggered by someone else. I asked myself the question “What is it about this person’s behavior that gets me so angry, so riled up, so obsessive over the why and the what of it all” do I actually possess in me; which I am too ego driven to acknowledge or see?
To manifest and become the next version of yourself, you have to unravel the darker, uglier, shadow side of you. It exists in each of you, believe me. You cannot hide from it. You cannot hide it from others. It’s there…and it will show it’s ugly face at one point or another, no matter how hard you try to keep it caged.
I am now at a stage in my personal transformation, where it’s time for me to look at those really dark, monstrous, aggressive aspects of me which I have been able to keep locked up. I believe this is why certain people enter your life, you are given specific challenges, and why you are faced with massive decisions.
You see, what I am learning is that those super shitty, hard to acknowledge, even shameful parts of you that WE ALL have, are actually the aspects of you that are your biggest ally! So, why not let them back out into society. Celebrate them. Own them. If we can change our minds about how we see our shadow, not as some criminal but as another human that we can give compassion to. Fully accepting it into our lives….could you imagine how great you would feel about yourself? Could you imagine how amazing your relationships with others would be, how connected and intimate and real they could be?
What the fuck are you talking about Brionna? How does that even make sense? You may be asking…
I’m telling you….those are the things that force you to grow. Those are the things that push you out of your norm. Those are the things that give you a strength to strive to be greater than your current status. It gives you the opportunity for endless possibility, a new life waiting to take form.
If you’re following me on this journey, it’s because you too are at a place in your life where you are clinging to the desire for growth. True growth. True self awareness. True strides towards becoming that best version of you; which involves getting so god damn humble and authentic in your ability to show and acknowledge both sides of you—the light and the dark, the good and the bad, the you and the shadow you.
My ego continues to get some major hip checks on a weekly if not daily basis somehow. I’m grateful to have people in my life who challenge me. I am also grateful to have the desire to be openminded about their feed back. I am hungry for a life of freedom outside of a cage, because the reality is I do not want to stay “this” person.
I have been forced to admit defeat, and plead guilty to the way I was living my life incongruent to how I NEEDED to be living my life; and was therefore locked up until I was able to surrender to the idea that I could not control anything other than myself. I allowed my self sufficient, bad-assery to get in the way of my reality. But you see, this is why the universe does what it does. Because it wants whats best for you. Life puts certain people in your life, takes others away, moves you and shakes you so that you can see more clearly.
In order to really uncage that shadow of yours, your level of self love has to be so damn high that no matter what obstacle you face, you love and accept yourself in that moment for who you are first. I know this, because for the longest time I used everything outside of myself to validate my level of self love. My worth came from my career, the way I helped others, my competitive/results driven nature, being a dog mom and volunteer, having a relationship and person to take care of and pour all my love into. Life forced me to let go of all that…so that I could be stripped naked, locked in solitary confinement, and shackled to the wall to think that shit out (with the key sitting right next to me).
This whole journey, for me, has been about being. It’s about living out my truth. Its about who I am and who I am not. And you will never get to the point of who you are, unless you are forced to grow by unleashing that shadow!
How can you being to free your shadow from the cage you’ve put it in?
- Innocent until proven guilty: You’ve already made your shadow a criminal. What if, he/she wasn’t really guilty at all. Shut down the possibility that your shadow is a bad guy, a villian, a killer. Envision it in your most empathetic way possible. Like an innocent little child.
- Ask yourself, what can I learn from this? No matter how hard it is going to be to look at this aspects of yourself, your shadow has so much value to give you.
- Jail break that bitch: You have the key right beside you, it’s just sometimes you choose not to use it at the risk of getting caught. Your shadow is like that one inmate with face tattoos, a huge posse, and tons of area claimed. He his feared by all…and yet give that guy a kitten and he is a weepy sap. His sweet demeanor is his shadow being unleashed all because of a cute little kitty.
- Seek Counsel: You do not have to do this on your own. Actually, you shouldn’t. Having someone who can be direct, non-judgmental, and supportive in pointing out those shadow attacks that rear it’s head out every now and then will help your awareness ten-fold.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — Carl Jung