Why We Must Examine Our Shadows
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
I have so many thoughts running through my head, but they are jumbled, messy, unfocused. Yet, there’s one message that screams loud and clear: now is the time for humanity to come together.
First came COVID-19, and along with the virus, the impact it has had on our communities and economies. Now, we are becoming more aware of the pain and anguish of those who have been affected by centuries of racism, both individual and systemic.
Our black community is suffering. While this is nothing new, many of us who are not black have been incapable of truly comprehending the impact of these injustices. I am a learner on this topic. As a privileged white woman who grew up in a community with little diversity, I realize that in no way do I understand. While this does not make me a terrible person, it is my human responsibility to educate myself so that I can be better. Otherwise, I will not grow, elevate, and be part of the solution.
As I tried to decipher a central theme from all of the chaos that surrounds us for today’s blog, and one thought prevailed. Before we can love another, we must truly love and accept ourselves. Why am I turning this conversation inward? Shouldn’t we be concerned with those around us? Absolutely. But if we wish to authentically appreciate and care for others, we must first be whole. And, I’m not so sure that most of us are.
I’m not implying that we’re bad. Rather, we’ve been taught to hide the sides of us which we prefer not to see, those inconvenient pieces of our ego that don’t present as well as we would like. However, in order to heal these damaged fragments of our personality, we must first acknowledge them. Only then can we become the humans we are called to be. I’m suggesting that we look inward and be open to all parts of ourselves, our conscious and unconscious prejudices, judgments, and fears. Now, more than ever, we must be honest and own even those aspects that we’ve kept hidden and wished would disappear. Humanity needs us to so we can unite and there can be peace.
But how do we do this? How can we grasp another’s world, especially when ours has been so different?
We begin by examining our shadows
These are the conscious and unconscious elements that we hide and keep in the dark. They prevent us from fully loving and accepting ourselves and others. They cause us to judge, doubt, fear, and hate. Yet, it’s only when we shine the light on our shadows that we are able to coax them out of the dark. Then we can begin to heal these wounded pieces of our soul.
Consider our belief systems
Have experiences formed our thoughts and behaviors, or have our belief systems created them? Belief systems are powerful influences, and we often have no idea how they impact us. Are you aware of your foundational beliefs? Are these truly your ideas, or have they been inherited or learned from others? Maybe you once believed them to be true, but now, you’re not so sure.
It’s critical to dissect each belief to determine whether or not it still resonates with you. If it doesn’t, discard it, for it no longer serves you or the world. Also, are there new ideas that you would like to adopt? If so, incorporate them into your updated belief system.
Accept that we are perfectly imperfect
But know that this is no excuse for inaction. Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.” If we educate ourselves, remain open to different ways of thinking, listen to others’ perspectives, and take part in those difficult conversations, we can better understand, grow, and love. These are the ingredients we need to evolve into more compassionate and loving individuals. And then the magic can occur.
We are all beautiful souls connected energetically, on a level where there is no fear, hate, anxiety, envy, or ignorance. But, as humans, we possess egos. And, while the ego strives to protect us, its sole focus is on us and our requirements. Our egos are unaware and disinterested in the needs of others. This doesn’t mean that our egos are faulty. Their job is to be loyal to one and only one person – us. Yet, now, we must get past our own egos and look deep inside. It’s time to be honest about our fears. How have they impacted our beliefs? What can we do to educate and heal ourselves so that we can be better, do better?
Focus on love
The Universe is sending us a clear message. It is time to discard fear and focus on love. But it starts with us. We must first love and heal ourselves before we are truly capable having compassion for another. We must accept our own humanity, both our strengths as well as our weaknesses, before we can fully embrace the humanity in others. We need to dig deep and face the shadows that we’ve kept buried in the dark recesses of our souls. For only then can we can truly become whole, allowing space to hold for others.
Our humanness does not make us uncaring individuals. However, if we refuse to look within and own our “less than” selves, then we become stagnant. We are here on Earth to evolve and now is the perfect moment to do so.
Let’s make the commitment to become better human beings together. Only then can we support one another and fight these injustices hand-in-hand. Our continual growth and understanding of ourselves is key so that we can then understand others. Now is the time to face our fears, challenge our beliefs, and educate ourselves so that we can become a united humanity.
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