Our shadows get a bad rap.
Every aspect of ourselves that we judge or criticize or reject, every part of ourselves that we blame or shame gets shoved into our shadow. And so, over time, our shadow embodies our shame.
But that shit is not on. Your shadow is nothing to be ashamed of. It may be darker and edgier. But it’s mostly just misunderstood.
Your shadow began as a tiny thorn. Maybe that thorn came from a stem of self-judgment. Maybe that thorn was criticism misconstrued as fact. Maybe that thorn was a mistake made in innocence but later infected with the anguish of regret and guilt. Maybe that thorn was the burden of someone else’s unmet expectation.
In silence and darkness that speck of shame smoldered and grew hot. Because that’s the nature of shame, it festers in silence.
As the shame grew, so did your shadow. And naturally, you wanted to distance yourself from that which shames you. So you disowned your shadow, afraid that it might overtake your light, snuff it out. You learned to live in fear of your darkness.
But here’s the truth: your shadow doesn’t conceal your light. It compliments your light. It’s the perfect partner, the complementary aspect. Just as nature is balanced by sun and moon, we’ve been gifted with light and shadow. Think about it. We don’t fear the night or worry that the sun won’t shine in the morning. We embrace the qualities of each aspect. Each has a purpose. One is not better than the other. They're just different aspects of a system.
The same is true of your light and your shadow. Both are worthy. And both of them are aspects of you that deserve your attention and your respect.
It’s time to unearth those parts of yourself you misjudged and labeled unloveable. It’s time to dig out the parts of yourself that you have silenced and restrained and subdued in darkness. It’s time to exhume the aspects of your you-ness that have been tainted with humiliation, comparison, regret, stigma, and remorse. It’s time to reclaim your shadow and reexamine it on your own terms.
Is there work to be done? Probably. But it’s the shadow work that renders the richest returns. So don’t be afraid of the dark.