Being rigid pushes my buttons.
I don’t deal well with it.
When I am faced with someone who won’t budge, who sticks to their guns and refuses to see the other side’s point of view, the monster inside of me rears its ugly head.
It’s not a pretty sight.
I’m not very proud of it.
But I can totally nail it.
I become very aggressive.
Angry and annoyed.
Pushed to my limits, to the point of… tears (I am remembering a recent episode of my power being cut off for 49 hours, and being told it had been reconnected, when it clearly hadn’t been).
Why does this happen?
Why do we sometimes explode and become a different version of ourselves?
It’s our shadow.
What’s a shadow?
It’s our evil twin.
It’s our negative behaviours and emotions.
It’s the things we don’t allow ourselves to be.
It’s all the parts of us that we deny ourselves to be and have hid away.
The parts we’ve been told since we were children that we shouldn’t be like this, that or the other.
That it’s wrong to act in a certain manner.
So in my example, I can also be rigid.
There are times when I, myself, am rigid.
When I don’t budge.
But that’s the part of me I don’t like.
The part of me I don’t embrace.
The part I don’t normally allow myself to be.
Which is precisely why it pushes my buttons.
So when I see it in others, it is reflected back to me and… I react.
And it’s not a pretty sight.
We all do this.
Each of us has our own shadow.
So what happens?
Well we don’t want to be ‘bad’ so we lock those behaviours into little boxes and close the lids.
But they are still inside us.
We just don’t allow them to come out and play.
But when we see this behaviour in others, when we are confronted with it, it is mirrored back to us and it’s as if it sends a signal to that emotion we have locked up deep down inside of us which pops open like a jack-in-the-box.
And out comes the ugly monster.
Probably even a magnified version of the monster.
Because it’s been kept in the box for so long, so it is fully charged and eager to speak its voice.
But actually it’s just your shadow.
It’s harmless really.
It looks like a scary ugly monster but it really isn’t evil.
It’s just been shut away for too long.
It hasn’t been allowed to express itself.
And it doesn’t know how long it will be ‘allowed out’ before it is caught and put back in its box.
So now what?
You need to set it free.
You need to face it.
And see that the scary monster isn’t that scary after all.
Accepting that you have flaws is key.
Getting to know your shadow and be chummy with it are key to having less of those explosive reactions.
Knowing that it is ok, that there is actually nothing wrong with having negative emotions is key.
So how do you do it?
Self-awareness to start with.
Then being totally honest with yourself.
Taking notice of what pushes your buttons, what triggers your reactions:
- what just happened beforehand?
- What did the other person say and do?
- What are the kind of traits you say you “hate” or you say that you “are not”?
Let’s take an example if you find yourself thinking or saying:
“I hate selfishness.“
“I hate selfish people.”
“I am not selfish.”
Then “selfishness” is part of your shadow.
It’s the part you don’t usually allow to come out.
But if you are really honest with yourself you can surely think of a time when you have been selfish.
So even though you usually aren’t, you do know how to be.
It’s part of who you are.
It’s just that we have learnt to wear masks and hide the parts of ourselves that we don’t want others to see. Because it’s the ugly part.
But the thing is our shadow is part of us.
It is a part of our essence.
And it holds gifts: valuable lessons.
So make a list of all the parts of yourself that you don’t like. That you are ashamed of (there’s one right there, being ashamed). That tend to rear their head when triggered.
And accept yourself wholly. Fully. The good and the bad.
Because we all have all the emotions.
We all have good and bad emotions.
We all have every existing human quality.
But some of these qualities are labelled as ‘bad’ ones and so we don’t want to accept that they are a part of us.
Your shadow is the person you would rather not be.
But if you don’t embrace the negative you are also not allowing the positive to beat at its full force.
Meaning, if you don’t admit that you have fear (viewed as a negative trait) you will also be reducing your courage (viewed as a positive trait, its opposite).
How will you know what it is to be really brave if you don’t allow yourself to be really scared?
Our shadow, our dark side, our evil twin is just stuffed away deep down.
But it is there.
And it will have come out at one point in your life.
Because, just like me, you are human.
As the saying goes ‘what you resist, persists.’
Once you allow it, you take away its power. It doesn’t need to be ‘out of control’ any more.
So give yourself permission to be whole.
And watch the magic unfold.