Where there is light there is also dark. We may prefer the light of a sunny afternoon to the darkness of a moonless night yet both exist. Both have value. Within each of us is our sunny side, the side we wish to show the world. We also have a shadow side, the part of us we do not like and don’t even want to acknowledge.
The Shame of Our Shadow Side
With our shadow side comes shame and guilt and embarrassment. We don’t want others to know those parts of us that we ourselves do not love. Sometimes a client will say, but that’s not me, I don’t do or say things like that. Yet it was them that said or did those things. No one else made them do or say those things. We all sometimes say or do things we do not like.
Earlier today I rushed to send out an email. Being the recovering people pleaser and perfectionist that I am, I wanted to get the email out, before my morning coaching clients. So I rushed and did not take enough time to proof the email, I made a big mistake. I like to think of myself as a person who does not make mistakes. Yet I am both the person who can do things well and also makes mistakes. We are both the person who is kind and generous and the person who yells at our spouse and kids.
When we face our shadow side, we can acknowledge and accept those parts of ourselves that we do not like. We no longer have a need to defend them or pretend that they are not there. When we come more comfortable with ourselves, others become more comfortable with us.
The Gift of Our Shadow Side
It’s okay. It’s safe now to look at those parts of ourselves that we do not like. The more awareness we have of our shadow side, the less power we actually give it. Accepting our shadow side allows us to heal those wounds deep within us. When we love our shadow side, we are able to love ourselves.
Much of Debbie Ford’s work was on making peace with our shadow sides. Positive affirmations, doing good things and thinking wonderful thoughts are all nice, and a part of the personal growth process. But I agree with Debbie Ford that we can only be transformed when we make peace with our shadows. The gift of our shadow side is healing and wholeness when we allow ourselves instead of being ashamed and embarrassed by our shadow side to give it the gift of love. It is only when we love our shadow that it will no longer have any power over us.
“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to life in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.”
― Debbie Ford
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