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The Unmasking

"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."

- Debbie Ford



As children, masks were a fun and exciting way to become another character. From superheroes to monsters, a mask could change everything about how we showed up in the world. With October being "spooky season," so many stores have masks and costumes lining their aisles - Halloween is rapidly approaching! As adults, we mask frequently and sometimes so seamlessly that we don't even realize we're doing it. We repress a part of ourselves that we think isn't good enough and shroud it with something we believe to be more "acceptable" in society.


Are we scared that we'll be rejected if we take off the mask?


It's human nature to fear the unknown - especially when the unknown is masked in a veil of darkness. The thing about shadows appearing scary is that once their contents are illuminated, that power of fear dissolves. You find out what's hidden under that veil and then have the opportunity to examine it. It's like that place in your hometown that everyone knew was haunted and the stories about it were terrifying. Then one kid got brave enough to go check out the house while the rest of us waited on the driveway. It turned out it was just a grandma living there alone and she invited all of us in for cookies and apple cider. It was that one bit of knowledge that changed the whole story.


In September's blog, we discussed some of the different components of your shadow - things about ourselves that we hide from the public, things that bring us shame or embarrassment, and even things we hide from ourselves. But we can't bring these to the light without knowing what they are and how they showed up.


Grab your journal and let's make a list...

  • What is it that you judge people most harshly about? Our judgments of others typically reveal our insecurities.

  • Where and how do you troll people online? The internet offers this great "shield" between us and the world - with an almost complete lack of consequences for your words, this is where your worst attributes can emerge.

  • How do you treat the people below you? Whether it's subordinates at work, children, or even animals - when we don't feel like we have autonomy and power with those above us, we tend to take it out on those below us.

  • Are there any instances where you take a victim mentality? This one is hard to admit, so be brutally honest here. Often this comes from feeling insecure, weak, and uncomfortable with setting boundaries. It's much easier to hold grudges and blame others than to take accountability for our own actions.

  • Where do you have challenges in setting boundaries? Is it mainly in one area of your life or is it across the board? If someone treats you like a doormat, do you have any problem saying, "No, I don't accept that kind of behavior?" Women - especially - have been indoctrinated to believe that setting boundaries is unacceptable because we'll be seen as "a problem." This is not the truth, and we need to work to dismantle this entirely.



Think about your answers to these questions - do they bring up any memories from childhood? Adolescence? Adulthood? When you answer, what feelings come up in your physical body? What emotions come up for you? These are all things to write down in your journal so you can determine triggers, patterns, and what produces disproportionate responses.


There are several ways to approach shadow work:

  • A licensed therapist trained in Jungian analysis can take you through parts of your shadow work. As a beginner, having an outside person help can be beneficial, as they can often spot patterns that you didn't know were there. The therapist can also personalize your prompts to help you get to the root more quickly and effectively.

  • Spotting your own shadow - start by looking at your habits and reactions. These two things can show you a lot of where your shadow lives and how it shows up. Look at how you project onto those around you - this is a big clue to parts of your shadow.

  • What emotions, reactions, and parts of yourself were you punished for having as a child? When something is diminished as a child, we tend to repress that thing and it shows up later in our shadow.

  • Meditation helps immensely when observing and integrating your shadow aspects. Observe your triggers and emotions without judgment. Don't get on the train - just watch it pass by.

  • Journal and get creative. Put all of this on paper, create art, make music, and express yourself creatively - the more you approach it with love, the easier it is to accept all the hidden parts of you when they're brought into the light.

Answering these questions and doing the work helps us to accept and integrate all aspects of ourselves so we can show up with more clarity and authenticity in our lives. It helps us show up more confidently, build better relationships with others, improve our overall wellness, increase our creativity, increase compassion and empathy, and even find hidden talents we didn't know existed.




Take your time - getting to the root starts with skimming the surface and then diving deep.



Our October Favorites


Books

Let the Light In - by Frankie Francis (Yes, our SUPER AWESOME social media goddess!)


Meditation


Song

Raven - Taylor Mills (Lauren's Pick)

The Sea - Sierra Ferrell (Taylor's Pick)


Movies


Journal Prompt


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!





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