How do we forgive our self when we are not being or doing what we think that we should?

Loving our Shadow side…

We all have those bits of our self that we’d rather forget existed. The part of our self that we feel ashamed about and want to hide from others. Perhaps that’s a part of you that gets angry, or defensive, or jealous or insecure.

Perhaps it’s the part that feels needy and wants to emotionally eat, or that part that wants to blame, judge and criticise others, or even yourself.

If you are not sure what your shadow side is, then ask yourself what irritates you the most about other people, and you can be guaranteed that is it….

I have a shadow side of me that expresses itself through anger and resentment. It’s a part of me that in the past I have felt ashamed of and total regret at times. It’s a part of me that I want to kept hidden in the closet and pretend it doesn’t exist and sometimes I even get angry at it for existing….

You see this angry part of me used to express itself a lot when I was a child, particularly when I felt overwhelmed and tired and was picking up on others stresses around me and didn’t know what to do with the excess emotions that I was feeling.

My gorgeous Mum, obviously doing her best and wanting her daughter to be the best version of herself as well, used to pop me in my room and would let me know that I could come out when I was happy…. Which I’m sure seems completely rational and normal as a parent to do that. It’s even something that I copied for my own children, until I understood the ramifications.

Well for a small child, isolation certainly makes you get your emotions sorted very quickly, as the need to be loved and to fit in and belong, as we all know is hard wired into us from birth, as a survival mechanism. We all want to be loved and belong.

I learnt very quickly, how to shove down those emotions, swallow those feelings and to “pop on my happy face”, just so that I could come out of my room and re-join my family. With intense emotions these types of behaviours are driven deeply into our subconscious as patterns that resurface in a similar situation, until they are consciously challenged and transformed. (Generally as an adult)

Knowing what I know now. I realise how much suppression of my feelings and shame that I have felt when experiencing different emotions, when they were anything other than what would be “pleasant or acceptable” for others. This is not to say that it’s ok to behave any way that I want to, however by not taking the time to understand my initial feelings and emotional hurt, then it becomes a perpetuating cycle that deepens with pain and angst every single time it is experienced.

My need to hide and withdraw from others, when my “bad behaviour” arises has been massively challenged by living in a larger family now and has forced me to really look at this aspect of myself and to make peace with it and yes even forgive it, and also forgive the other parts of myself that have judged myself for this behaviour in the past.

To do this, I started to journal about my angry side. I discovered how judged it had felt, when all it was trying to do, was to protect me, to help me, to be my friend and stick up for me when I was too scared to speak up for myself. My angry side was there letting me know by its presence, that I needed to rest, to not push so hard, to be kinder to myself, so I could also be kinder to others.

However in pushing it down, in supressing it, in hiding it, in locking it away and feeling shame around it, I couldn’t learn what it’s positive intention was for me. I couldn’t love it and thank it and appreciate it. I couldn’t discover, what it’s positive intention was and choose a different and more resourceful way of dealing with those feelings and discovering a higher path to meet those needs.

Pushing it down and hiding it away only further perpetuated the cycle. To transform any unresourceful, reoccurring emotion or behaviour we need to shine the light of love on it, by being present with it.

Take some time to think about what is an aspect or part of yourself that you are ashamed about, or that you don’t ever want anybody to ever find out about?

Ask it to speak with you, ask it how it feels? Write down anything that comes to mind, without judgement without criticising it or defending, justifying or withdrawing anything, just let that aspect of you express itself. Just like a hot air balloon exhaling all of its hot air. Until nothing else is left…

Then ask it what it’s positive intention is, ask it how it helps you each day? You may be surprised by the answer. Thank it. Genuinely thank this part of you for helping you and letting you know what now needs to change into a more resourceful behaviour so that it can be at peace now.

There is no right or wrong behaviour. That is purely a judgement of the mind. Everyone just wants to feel better and if we are consciously not choosing what needs to happen, then our subconscious programming will continue to show up and perpetuate our cycles. Our shadow side will continue to do what it does, until it feels fully loved, appreciated and thanked. It is no different to the rest of us. We all want to feel loved and appreciated.

This is true self love.

You see, it is easy to love our self when we are kind, when we are respectful, when we are doing the things that we believe that we should be… It’s much harder to love the lazy aspect, the uncommitted aspect, the unappreciative aspect, the nasty or spiteful aspect, the gossiping aspect, the victim aspect, the sad and angry and depressed aspect. And yet, this is what we need to love and appreciate the most, because until we do, we will always be irritated by others and our self when they are demonstrating this aspect as well.

Self- Love is not conditional. It is loving all parts of our being, for when we do so, it is transformed by the light of the love in our heart.

We cannot fight darkness with darkness, by shining the light of love into our darkest, deepest parts of ourselves we begin to heal and feel whole in our self again.

Sending you all so much love,

Sal xox

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