I found myself smiling at her as we sat on our beige couch in our brand new apartment with wine glasses in our hands. She just catapulted herself into another drawn out story of how she wanted to get to know herself better and how she felt cheated that she didn’t give herself the valuable time to do it sooner. I nodded and kept the grin on my face as I took another sip of wine before I said, “I think getting to know yourself is one of the most empowering things you can do.” I had always been intrigued by the idea of self discovery- the idea of diving into the unknown parts of ones self and bringing to light the hidden treasures that lay beneath the surface. Whether it was learning what music inspires me to learning what unhealthy patterns I keep cycling through. My dear friend before me wanted to know the WHY. The why behind everything that made her HER. I almost forgot how exciting it was to start that journey of finding ones self. I have yet to even come close to the end of it, even though I believe it would take a lifetime to do so. I keep learning new things about myself daily, which is a beautiful gift in my eyes.
I wanted to understand myself better so I could understand people better. It is in self discovery that we can find the gem of compassion. To understand your shadow side, is to understand another’s. A person’s shadow side is the part of themselves that develops from negative aspects of our traits. You cannot have a light without a dark. For example, I have a tendency to retreat into alone time. The light of this quality is that it allows me to pour back into myself and to hone into my creativity. The shadow side of this quality is that, if I am not careful, I can shut people out and get too caught up in my own thoughts. This part of me isn’t going to go away because it is a part of me, but I get to choose if I want to operate in the light or the dark. Its my choice. Another example would be my love for storytelling and being in front of people. The light would be that I’m not afraid of public speaking and that I can use this energy as a platform for teaching. The shadow side is when I demand to be the center of attention and am desperate for it that I would act out to get it. By understanding my shadow I can see people with patience and forgiveness. I know what it’s like to not be perfect, to be human.
To examine yourself is to understand that the parts you might dislike can always be turned into a positive and put in check. I always disliked that I wanted to be right all the time. I would argue or speak louder to prove my point over someone else’s. Which we can all agree is not a flattering trait to have. This came from a place deep within my psyche that felt if I was wrong about something, then I must be stupid. Instead of holding onto that negative energy, I decided that I could hone that energy into changing “I have to be right,” to “I am always learning new things, expanding my knowledge.” This allowed me to listen better. This allowed me to realize whenever I would start to feel that old negative energy creep back, I could put myself in check and turn it around to the positive of using this opportunity to become more knowledgable about a different opinion/belief/etc thus making me “smarter.”
In order to operate in the beautiful light that is within you, you must take a hard look at the shadow. You must acknowledge it’s presence and understand it, you take away its power over you by doing this. So I encourage you to take a look within. It truly is one of the most empowering things to know yourself. It allows you to be grounded in your truth. It allows you to not take things so personally because you know another person’s negativity towards you is just their shadow side, not a representation of your light. It’s not easy getting to know the inner workings of the self but I promise you it’s worth it.
Love and Light,