December 17, 2020

When the Holiday Season Brings Out our Shadow Side—Do This.

The festive season is full of expectations.

The glitter, the sparkles, the time of great food and wine, the getting together of families, the holidays, the exchange of gifts—sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? ⁠ ⁠

But, there is another reality here, too.

A reality often missed in our pursuit of the ideal holiday season, in our attempts to fit into the expectations.

This reality is life, and life is messy. ⁠ ⁠

For many people, family time can be wonderful. For others, it can be torturous. Even if it’s wonderful, there remains the messiness of life—it is unavoidable. ⁠ ⁠

Expectations and family gatherings can highlight our shadow side: the losses, the traumas, the disagreements. ⁠ ⁠

More people than ever are embarking on personal journeys of inner work. This involves resolving and healing traumas held in the body from past events and experiences, reclaiming the lost parts of ourselves—the parts of ourselves that we do not like and hide—and welcoming them in, embracing our wholeness.

In a perfect world, everyone would do this work, and we would all live in a state of oneness and love. To do this, we have to acknowledge our pain first, feel it, witness it, process it, and accept it.

Can we bring humanness into the festive season?

Just like on a personal level, if we ignore our pain on a family level too, it will loom there in the background and cause even more pain.⁠ ⁠

But perhaps, if we acknowledge it, if we notice the realness and the trauma of family, of loss, of separateness, of pain, and disharmony, as well as triumph, togetherness, and joy—if we face our dark side and confront it and bring it to the fore—perhaps, paradoxically, we will find it easier to feel the joy, the gratitude, and the oneness that we so crave. ⁠ ⁠

Every light has its shadow.

Perhaps, if we acknowledge the shadow instead of pretending it’s not there, perhaps, the light will shine brighter. ⁠ ⁠

Denying our pain or our shadow for the sake of “keeping the show running” is part of our societal trauma.

It is more painful the longer it remains unhealed.



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