I had a client about a year ago who came to me to “find himself”. He was entering a new phase of life and he was looking for something that gave him a sense of true meaning and significance. He had been delving into many pursuits for years but nothing seem to work out for him. He was at a loss.
What we discovered after looking at his archetypes – which is always the first step that happens when someone works with me because it is so revealing – is that he has the seeker archetype and it was in shadow. When that happens the seeker is aimless and unfocused.
Side note: “What the heck are shadow aspects?”, you may be asking. We all have them. It is an aspect of yourself that you feel you must hide from your family, friends, the world and even yourself in order to gain love and acceptance.
Back to my client…
In addition to his shadow seeker, his eternal child (in shadow) was motivating the actions of his seeker which caused him to avoid committing to any one decision. He would get close to it and always have an excuse as to why that couldn’t move forward. And of course he did – his eternal child in shadow will always do whatever is possible to avoid accountability.
Ultimately, he found ways to honour the knowledge his seeker discovered along his journey while bringing his eternal child into the light by healing his relationship to his ideas about committing to any one thing.
Summing this up in a few sentences might sound like it was easy-peasy. It wasn’t.
There was a lot of effort and introspection put in to get to that point dotted with moments of frustration along with major a-has.
The path for each person looks different but the formula to get there is the same.
First and foremost, you need a willingness to see the truth of the matter – not as you see it from the stories you’ve come to believe about yourself but how it actually is.
The key to embodying wholeness is to accept those
parts of yourself that you would rather forget existed.
It is pretty easy to get to a point where we express the parts we love about us. The real effort comes from learning to love what we hate.
Step 1 is to identify those parts of you that you don’t like and are afraid to tell anyone else. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- What traits or qualities about you do you dislike?
- What traits or qualities do you have that make you feel ashamed?
- What is something about you that you would be mortified if other people knew?
Step 2 is to take those answers and list how they show up in your life on a daily basis.
- What situations come up and how often where you try to hide a part of you from people?
- Where are you out of integrity with yourself to hide these facts you dislike so much?
- Are you frequently lying to yourself or others, being disrespected or disrespecting people in an effort to hide?
- What feelings or actions are you suppressing to continue to hide shadow aspects?
- Where are you not standing up for yourself in your life because doing so would mean “outing” a part of you that you think others would not accept?
Step 3 is to write a worst-case scenario, best-case scenario and most likely scenario for each answer from Step 2. Really sit with the answers to these scenarios. Let the feelings for each wash over you. How does it feel? Often what happens is there is a shift in your perception of some of these shadow aspects and the power they hold over you.
Don’t skip over step 3. There is real power in this exercise. Often, most of our stress and anxiety come from building things up in our minds that will never come to pass. Once you see it on paper in front of you, it is easier to get a handle on the situation. Developing non-attachment as a way of approaching all situations in your life can give you freedom from this.
Now obviously, not all of these will shift easily and more peeling back of your layers will be needed which is exactly what I do with my work with clients. But even the slightest shift creates space for more movement to happen.
It’s like when you are trying to pay off debt. You start with the smallest bill and, pretty soon, you have an excitement about paying off the bigger debts.
This is similar. It is easier to get momentum going when we feel as if we’ve had a win, no matter how small it is. Try speaking your truth on the smaller issues and see where that leads. Once you gain some confidence in that area, it will lead to greater truths being spoken.
It is necessary to accept your shadow aspects in order to feel whole, fulfilled and at home in your own skin. Every time you suppress the truth of who you are, it chips away at your spirit.
You will see that the more you speak your truth, the happier you will be and the more you will rely on your inner compass to lead your life.
And it will be true and clear and take you in the right direction every time.
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