This month we are embarking on a journey of discovery around our shadow self. This is about learning to recognise those things within us that trip us up, that we may not like so much about ourselves, and those thought patterns we often jump into.
When we begin learning about this side of ourselves, we can get a bit afraid of what we might find. However, when we explore this part of us, we move through pain, anxiety, ego, and resistance to get to a higher level of self-acceptance.
FACT: You are the amazing person you are with all your skills and attributes that you display BECAUSE of your shadow self, NOT in spite of it.
This is a key part of your whole self.
When we discover the secrets behind our shadow self, then we are better able to stand in our authentic power, be confident in any situation, and manage stress more effectively. We will find that people connect with us on a deeper level. All of these benefit career progression, our confidence to apply for (and get) that dream job, to earn more, to win more grants, to be able to communicate more effectively, and to live a life with more ease and fulfillment.
This seems like a panacea and it is. When we are able to dip in and out of our shadow self with confidence and courage, everything else begins to fall into place.
Let me share a story with you about one of our incredible clients and how she initially was not aware of her shadow self, learned to notice it, and is now working her way through the process of embracing it each day.
Jill (a pseudonym) identified her shadow self as a “right piece of work”, she even called her a “bitch” sometimes. Her shadow was the one that put herself last, argued with people, had to be right, wouldn’t admit a mistake, must save face in every situation, kept others in their place to feel in control, and always put on a big brave face no matter what was happening.
On the outside, she had it all. A title, a fabulous job, funding, opportunities, a team, and yet things were crumbling. Something was not quite right but she could not put her finger on it. She was getting drained, feeling incredibly stressed, and managing a toxic environment with unhealthy treatment from her boss.
As we worked through the trainings and realisations in our group coaching, with the support of all in the members, each person began to explore their shadow self with excitement.
Jill began to embrace the fact that her shadow self, kept her safe and secure throughout her career to date. It helped her achieve the highest level in her role. It provided opportunities to work hard, drive towards and achieve her goals, to be resilient, and contribute to the population that her research was for.
There are many positive sides to recognising our shadow self. However, the problem with living in fear of shadow self is that it restricts the level of fun, energy, creativity, innovation that we “allow” ourselves, because we live in fear that others “won’t like me” or that “I won’t be good enough”.
By embracing her shadow self and connecting with her learnings around Authentic Leadership, Jill is now flourishing. She has left her job, had come through a health crisis with incredible optimism and happiness, has just landed her dream job and team, and experiences the goodness of life in every facet (family, friends, leisure, calm, fun, gratitude, brightness, self…)
Over the next three weeks, we will share the three key aspects of how you can begin this exploration too.
After all, if we reject our shadow self, we are rejecting a part of ourselves!