In yesterday's self discovery workshop we talked about the Shadow Effect. It is a book written by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. Taking a small reading from the book we had some good conversation on how the "shadow" has shown up in our lives. The shadow is essentially your inner self, that part that you have hidden, maybe it's secrets or lies, those things that haunt you that would kill you if anyone knew, or it could be guilt and shame. The book describes it in much more detail, and i'm interested to read the entire thing.
Step one of finding your way out of your shadow is to stop projecting. This is about putting your own issues/weakness onto other people. The whole idea of what you see in others could be found in yourself (though often we don't want to admit that). In the book it gives a list of different forms that projection can take and what that projection can hide. For me I identified with Superiority and Defensiveness. It's funny because I don't identify with the definition of superiority, but I bang on identify with the attitudes and feelings that come along with it. Here is an excerpt directly from the book.
Superiority: "I know that I'm better than you. You should see this and acknowledge it."
The "shadow's" unconscious feeling is: "Superiority disguises the feeling that you are a failure or that others would reject you if they knew who you really are."
Defensiveness: "You're attacking me, so i'm not listening to you"
The "shadow's" unconscious feeling is: disguises the feeling that you are unworthy and weak. Unless you defend yourself from others, you will start attacking yourself."
I definitely don't go around thinking i'm better than anyone, and hope that is not what is seen (though new attitude remember, don't care what others think). Where I identify is kind of an overlap between the two. For example, if I come up with an idea or suggestion (work or personal) and the other person doesn't see my perspective or "way of doing things" I get defensive. The internal dialog goes something like this: why don't they like my idea? what's wrong with me? why did they ask for my opinion and then not take it? don't you know i've done this before why aren't you listening? i'd better not open myself up again because they will likely shoot me down.
Like I said, I identify more with the feelings associated with the forms of projection. I have a deep seeded feeling that I am a failure, I've lost 190 lbs and i'm a failure, yup - that's how I feel deep down, because I allowed myself to get to 360 lbs that's a failure right? This is all stuff i'm working through, and working on improving, and absolutely can say that I know I am in a way better head space at this moment than I have been in my entire weight loss journey. I'm starting to become proud of myself for the little things. I feel incredibly blessed to have such amazing, supportive people in my life. And i'm learning that it's okay to show those failures, because it shows that i'm human.
Next step? Find my way out of the shadow, stop allowing my beliefs of myself prevent me from being open. Again, another test of life, and we will see if this one works. Last week's test, "ask for help" and I have raised about half of the money it will cost for the course, I'd say A! Because this test was not about actually getting the money, it was about going through the process of asking for the help from those around me, and being okay with them seeing my struggle.
Look at me - i'm growing up! :)