This week’s emotional fitness is a brief conversation around knowing our shadow selves. This topic is much deeper than we can get into in one blog post, and it’s individual to each person. Our purpose here is just to take a small step into our shadow self and ask ourselves if we know her/him and how it may manifest itself in our health and relationships.
Our shadow self is something we all have - every one of us. This is part of being human. When we know our own shadow characteristics, (or at least some of them) we can identify “ourselves” and where we might want to go deeper. Understanding ourselves takes a lot more practice (tons) than this one brief look within . Our goal at RUNClub is giving up offerings to knowing oneself, so we can be healthier and to continue to grow and expand in becoming our healthiest selves. Keeping in mind, this is not about perfectionism (which is impossible) or suppressing emotions (not healthy). It is, however, about knowing what are our own shadow tendencies, and being able to manage them so that we lessen negative consequences (and thus improve our health and happiness). This exploration may include laughter and humour too. When we see ourselves, we can also find the humour in our humanity and continue to work through the multitude of layers we ALL are (we are incredible beings!).
The key goal at RUNclub is healthy living. Becoming aware of our shadow self, assists us in our journey of healing and becoming healthier in our lives. To integrate an inner quality is to take ownership and responsibility for it, rather than rejecting, projecting onto others or denying it. The benefits are enormous: less anxiety, healing, greater compassion, calmness, understanding, and wholeness are all to be found in integration.
Some of the ways our shadow self ‘may’ show up:
Being opinionated, defensive, resisting change, self-sabotage, not believing in yourself (limiting beliefs), isolating behavior, illness, fatigue, poor health, not finding your true self (who you really are), wearing a continuous mask, repetitive thinking, repeating patterns in relationships, apathy etc.
It’s easy to want to run away from the darker parts of ourselves or to ignore them completely. But just as fighting your less-than-ideal emotions does more harm than good, so does not embracing your shadow side.
Not owning who we are—good and bad—is harmful to our health. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that participants who accept, rather than judge, their mental experiences may attain better psychological health. The reason: accepting our emotional imperfections makes them feel less detrimental and all-consuming. You might not be 100 percent happy about them, but, with acceptance, you can learn to manage how they affect you.
The Flip Side of Your Shadow Side (sometimes called your dark side):
A key to embracing your shadow side: Knowing that every dark side has a light side. When we accept the traits we might not love, that’s when that light side can shine through. When we truly know ourselves, we can have much more freedom and vibrant health (peace).
Some of the ways we can explore our shadow selves more deeply:
When we practice together we are better together. Thank you for being open and willing to practice in all forms ( physical, emotional, spiritual and mental fitness). When we change ourselves for the better, we can change the world for the better. Health truly is wealth.