Behind the shadow of me that doing chores and taking care of family
There is another me that wants to show my soul, my fears, insecurities and vanity
I am into deep conversations about life, love, and loss
I dip and roll and race and dive and hurt and cower and hope
I am the Queen of Shadows
I live comfortably in the darkness showered with my own misery
On spotlight, I am a happy and bright mother, spouse, and daughter of an aging mother
No one really knows who is behind the dark shadow
I can be anyone who they expect to see
How the shadow was born
This poem pretty much sums up my life story before I had a breakthrough moment in life at the age of 35 years old. Ironically, I was at the peak of my corporate career, yet walking out seemed to be the only way out. It was either giving up on everything that I built and worked hard for or taking my life away.
Growing up in a small village of Indonesia as a Chinese, Catholic and Woman, I managed to tick of all trifectas to be a minority. This childhood conditioning has made me develop beliefs of not being good enough and constantly seeking acceptance from others.
I carried this childhood’s conditioning into adulthood, where I was fearful to show up and speak up as myself. I was burning out from climbing the corporate ladder in an attempt to get acknowledgement from my parents that I achieved success in life. I was bullied, harassed and assaulted in attempt to fit into others’ dreams, expectations and boundaries.
My new life journey started when I had spiritual awakening while trying to get my skin clinic business off the ground. I started to look at life from a very different perspective. I became aware of my beliefs and pattern of behaviors. And most importantly my own shadows.
What is a shadow
Shadow is a dark side of us, a negative personality trait that we often try to hide from outsider, like a greed, anger, jealousy and more. Everyone has shadows; however, some mastered their relationship with their own shadows better than others. When we harmonize our relationship with our shadow, it can also be our greatest strength and supporter in the face of adversity.
Through my journey of spiritual development, I uncover that one of my strongest shadow is being rebellious. This shadow was my way to show up and express my own self to the world. Given the childhood conditioning that I was living in, I felt that the only way that I can get attention and acceptance from others was through breaking through norms and cultures. This was my strength to overcome challenges and struggles over my life. My shadow was what kept me alive and thrive to current.
However, sometimes this shadow can also be my greatest enemy especially when it made the connection with my ego to look for challenges, just to prove a point. It can also sabotage my manifestation process as it tried to control the “HOW” where a lot of the time I knew that I should surrender and allow myself to be guided.
Our shadow is a part of us and cannot be separated from us. The best way to work with shadow is being aware of it and manage its role in circumstances where it can be working for or against us.
As Jung writes in Psychology and Alchemy, “There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.”
Never try to repress our shadow!
Our shadow can work without needing our consent, meaning we do things that we wouldn’t voluntarily do and regret it later (after we reflect back), we say things that we wouldn’t say and our facial reactions express emotions that we don’t consciously feel.
What happens when we try to reject this shadow? We will project onto others anything we bury within us. Projection happens when we are struggling to deal with our own issues. For example, I was struggling to accept that a guy that I was dating refused to commit in a serious relationship. I started to feel rejected and abandoned because of his lack of commitment.
However, after digging deeper into my own self belief, I realized that later on I projected my fear of commitment onto him. I suffered from distorted reality that I was a victim as being not good enough to have commitment from him. I felt disempowered and behaved in needy and forceful which beyond my consciousness at that time.
Benefits of shadow work
Shadow work is not an area of personal development that everyone would be very excited about. No one would like to look at their own flaws as it often still carries association with past negative emotions such as resentment, regret or disappointment.
However shadow work can be very liberating and open up space to move forward by reclaiming back your own power. Here are 3 greatest benefits of shadow work:
- Better relationship with our own self and others
When we accept that our shadow is a part of us, we will feel more confident and grounded on a daily basis. Especially when we feel triggered by others’ thoughts, actions and words, we can differentiate our own issue vs others. We would then able to communicate better to others which leads to a better relationship with our family, friends, or anyone else.
- Raising our self awareness to allow clearer perception of your own reality
The more we integrate ourselves with our own shadows, we will feel more congruent with our own authentic self. We are also able to accept ourselves as who we are and express our own authentic self to the world. We would also develop better empathy and compassion towards others as we appreciate and accept others’ shadows.
- Reframe its role from negative to positive traits in our daily life experience
Our shadow can play different roles at different times, it can be positive or negative depending on the role that we allow it to take on. How we relate and manage its role is more important than giving identity as being a positive or negative shadow. A positive shadow can also be our greatest enemy if we don’t manage it well.
As long as we deny our shadows and repress certain parts of ourselves, a sense of wholeness and unity is elusive. We are struggling to accept ourselves if we keep judging any parts of us being good or bad. By accepting our shadows, we will achieve the next level of emotional maturity.
Harmonize our relationship with our own shadow
Here are 4 ways to harmonize our relationship with our own shadow:
- Cultivate self awareness
To be able to see our own shadow, we need to start by cultivating a self reflective mindset and this can only be achieved through meditation or mindfulness exercises. When we train our mind to be silent during meditation, we raise the ability to stay aware to observe and evaluate feelings or emotional reactions without judgement or criticism.
- Cultivate self compassion
Practicing self compassion is important to create a safe and nurturing space that allows us to accept this shadow into our identity. If we are focusing too much on perfection or to be good enough, we will never know about our shadow, or even ignore it which is when the problem arises. Keep in mind that we are living in the third dimension plane of existence that comes with rule of duality, good vs bad, light vs dark. Our perception controls how we see things, if we change our perception, we will start to see things differently.
- Own our projections towards others
Treat others as our mirrors and we cannot see our own inner struggles, fears or insecurities without seeing it through what we see, feel or project towards others. When we pay close attention to our own reaction towards others especially the negative ones, we will notice our shadow in action. Get to know that part, one that we disowned within ourselves and make it a part us and in the future it will lose its power to evoke a strong emotional charge.
Taking this in a deeper level, we need to own how we feel, think and project towards others as our own issues not others. This will take us from victim mode to self responsible mode. After all we are the creator of our own reality and we attract certain life experiences into our life through our vibration.
- Engage in inner dialogue through daily journal and reflections
I translate journaling process as like whispering to one self and listening at the same time. There are so many benefits of practicing daily journal and reflections especially after meditation. One of them is we get to engage with our inner dialogue and digging deeper to our inner self. A writing journal where we record our new discoveries about ourselves is a significant part of healing journey. Writing these insights and reviewing them later helps encode the discovery into our own awareness.
Getting to know our shadow and healing journey is a life long process so please be patient and allow it to happen one step at a time without feeling discouraged when we have to face the same lesson again. Treat it like a self discovery process and be excited to work through it which in turn will help to achieve a greater result. Consider getting an energy healer to do a healing session with you if you want to go deeper within yourself and achieve a greater transformation result.