When you start looking into Shadow work, emotional responsibility, processing or authenticity you can be faced with quite a bit of discomfort. Habits, thought patterns and ways of behaviour can be brought to light, and it can be difficult not to feel like you’re a bad person/ failure/ insert-your-own-term.
Some of us have a habit of being harder on ourselves than on other people, and when confronted with the things that are holding us back from deeper healing it’s no different. Facing these aspects of ourselves is not easy, it’s not comfortable, and it can feel rather overwhelming. It is all too easy to fall into berating ourselves, giving our inner critic an even bigger stick to beat us up with.
One of the biggest things that has helped me this last week (in this respect) is accepting that I sometimes have not-so nice thoughts relating to a friendship that ended badly. On a more spiritual level I know this person has taught me some incredibly important life lessons that are going to make me stronger and more aware for the future. The more ‘human’ level of me is still nursing wounds and working through processing. When a bad thought or grumble came up I’d be really mad with myself, thinking, “why can’t I let go of this? This is not forgiving or spiritual.”
My breakthrough came when I realised I wouldn’t say this to someone else. Yes, I’d try to help them to see the lessons to be learned from the experience, but I’d let them work through things and I wouldn’t berate them like I do myself. I told myself, “Okay, you’re having these thoughts, but you’re working on things. You’re still healing, you’re still processing. You can see some of the larger spiritual lessons, but your brain needs a bit of time to catch up. Stop worrying about having these thoughts and whether they’re spiritual or not. Stop beating yourself up.”
Don’t make yourself a victim of yourself.
– Brene Brown, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
And you know what? I realised I had built up such a complex about having these thoughts that once I accepted I have them, and I don’t need to beat myself up about them (because I am doing the work to try and learn and move on), things started to shift. The fearful feelings relating to this lessened significantly and I started getting further insight. It’s like a weight has been lifted, and because I’m no longer on the lookout for where I’m ‘failing’ spiritually I am thinking less of that person and situation.
Sometimes we have to face our mistakes, and though we may be spiritually aware (to whatever degree) we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for tripping up now and then. Sometimes we need to accept our faults and learn to forgive ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to feel what we feel instead of pushing it down. Then we can use that mental energy to concentrate on working through our side of things, and healing.