Friday, April 13, 2012

The Shadow Side

Accelerate Personal Growth...

 We all have a shadow side.  Embrace yours for accelerated Personal and Spiritual Growth.
Photo courtesy of MikeyBoy76 on 

By Embracing Your Dark Side

Ah!  The Shadow side. We all have one.  As you'll hear Deepak Chopra say later on in this post, "if you don't have a shadow, then you aren't standing in the light".  It's part of the balancing act we all engage in on our Earth Walk. Even though we may consciously choose to live a life of purpose and love, looming beneath is the part of ourselves we aren't real fond of, try to hide and generally ignore.

I'm very aware that, even though I tout keeping my personal space organized and spiritually uplifting, I go through phases where I just don't care. I'm also very aware that even though I know the benefits of clean eating, exercise and meditation, I still go through phases where I just don't care.  

It's taken me a few years, but I have finally come to realize that this is my inner perfectionist reeling its ugly head.  I have a tendency to give up completely, or get "tired of it all", if it's not going perfectly.  Ironically, even though I know and coach others, that Personal Growth is about persistence, not perfection, I have a tendency to fall into the trap of my own shadow side; the side that gives up if everything isn't going according to plan.   This part of my shadow side is something I have always struggled with.  As I've grown, I've learned to put it in perspective and have achieved many things where, before, I would have simply given up. 

Putting your shadow side in perspective is imperative.  In order to acknowledge your shadow side and do what you need to do to change, a light needs to be shined your shadow side.  Don't allow it to lurk about.  Let it know you are aware it's there and it will become less powerful.  As its power subsides, you in turn become more powerful.

The interesting key to putting this post together was remembering Iyanla Vanzant's interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.  Vanzant is a powerful, spiritual woman who has helped thousands to live a life of healing, balance and worth.  Her message was so poignant and powerful that, for a time, Oprah would have her on weekly, sit in the audience and hand the stage over to Iyanla.  

In spite of this, Iyanla still had her shadow side to contend with; her lack of self worth.  Sure, she'd made huge personal strides and was therefore able to help others, but this shadow affected her so deeply that it led to some puzzling career choices.  She left the Oprah show when they were in the midst of preening her for her own show.  She went on to do her own talk show where she didn't have her own office and with producers and directors who hadn't even read her books.  Sharing this with the world was a very brave action and it was empowering for those of us who watched.  Seeing that this amazing teacher was still struggling with her self worth, even in the midst of helping others, was a huge eye opener for me.

It wasn't all deep and emotional.  A segment of the show 
got Iyanla tickled and she told Oprah her poor fashion sense
 made her situation look worse than it actually was. LOL!
"Times were difficult, but not that bad!"

Acknowledging my shadow side has reduced its power considerably.  I'm not afraid to admit when I've made a mistake.  In fact, I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself in front of others. It seems to only affect my "daily grind" from time to time, and always loves to show up when I have a big life decision to make. The good news is, I've learned to recognize it and use it as a signal for growth and healing.

Thanks again to the series, Healing Quest, I have found another great video to help me wrap up this post. Deepak Chopra does a wonderful job of putting the Shadow side, or Dark side of ourselves into perspective.  Unbeknownst to me, I have already followed his simple guide to dealing with our Shadow side:
  • Embrace your shadow 
  • Forgive your shadow 
  • Share your shadow with somebody you trust 
Somewhere in the midst of life, I learned to embrace my perfectionism.  I learned to make mistakes and to have fun doing it.  But like Iyanla Vanzant, there are apparently many levels to this side of myself and I still have some forgiving to do.  Finally, sharing with my readers has been quite healing.  Hopefully some of you will be inspired to do the same.

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