“Sometimes anxiety is the friction caused by your shadow saying: ‘I can no longer contain the light you repressed here decades ago. It’s time to claim it all.’” Xavier Dagba. So often we look at shadow as a negative thing. Something that consumes the light, something dark. But what if the shadow is the tool we use to dim the light that already exists because we are afraid of being seen? What if we use the shadow as a tool to make ourselves more palatable to other people? What if the shadow is merely the hopes/things we wanted to do but were told were too crazy so we covered it, dimmed it down? What if the shadow makes so much noise and seems so terrifying because it contains all the energy we hoped it would and it doesn’t know how to handle it?
The shadow becomes all of he things we reject about ourselves whether it is because we are told to reject them or because we fear we won’t be accepted. If we self-reject, it somehow seems less painful to us in the moment. But the mind doesn’t know that, it categorizes it all the same. It’s a piece of us that can’t be shown and we learn to develop shame around it. And then it turns into this monster thing that we can’t ignore, that we try to run from. The reality is, it becomes a ten ton weight we drag around that is simply waiting to be acknowledged. It’s part of us and we are taught that we can compartmentalize and reject what we think is negative when really it is waiting to be integrated into our lives.
Shadow isn’t a bad thing. It is often the reflection of what we need most in our lives, and we are often too afraid to share that. We are taught to deny our own needs, to ignore what we know our instincts are telling us for fear of rejection. So all of what we know is blanketed in this dark cloud because we are taught that’s how it has to be instead of embracing what it really is: the very essence of who we are. Truth be told, it could be beneficial to deny our needs if it truly served the greater good or if we were allowed another outlet, if we weren’t taught that we need to give up who we are to get anywhere—or if we were taught the value of helping others—instead we are guilted into feeding the machine because we are told it will help others. It is again a conflict in what we know ad feel versus what we are told.
Our opening quote today is a reminder that we need to make peace with our shadows. They don’t need to be baggage—we can leave parts behind and honor what we truly are. I love this because the shadow is destroyed by light and that light is needed to guide our way forward. How beautiful is it that the very remedy to what we need to progress in life is already within our grasp? We simply need to let it out. Allow the light to shine. Forget what we are told or what we think people think. AT the end of the day it doesn’t matter regardless. It is time for all of us to make peace with the gifts we are given and accept them as such. Don’t let anyone tell you the gifts you innately possess are bad. Allow them to light the way for others who see you for all you are.