“Be what you is, coz if you be what you ain’t, then you ain’t what you is.”

~ Epitaph, anon


The traits that most bother us in others are those we don’t like in ourselves. Otherwise it wouldn’t bug us so. Of course, it takes one to know one, does it not? We all have these traits that we were told, or felt, were “bad” when we were young ~ so we learned to hide them, not just from others, but also from ourselves.

Let’s be very clear here: our shadow part is not the problem. The problem came from labeling it “bad,” as society had trained us to. This split us. Only when we accept and love these parts, do we become whole again. It boils down to knowing and approving of our whole selves, so we can be more relaxed with who and how we truly are. Then we don’t need to be better than we are, we can just be at peace with who we are. We become more confident and more genuine.

Why limit the rainbow of our personality? We are here to love all our parts: the bright, the strong, the soft, the sad and the vulnerable. It increases our scope.

 … Why do small kids have so much magic, so much energy, so much power?  Because they are whole. They haven’t yet condemned, split themselves. Our creative power, our very life energy, our own flow, is blocked by holding ourselves down.


Encouraged by our own drive, our parents and our education to excel, we have been all our lives busy enhancing and applauding our best and brightest sides. That’s all cool, except that the other parts, the less liked ones, have been ignored. Pushed into the shadows of our subconscious, they became our shadow. Unknown to us, our shadow determines our daily life, affecting our relationships to ourselves and to others.

… It is vital for us to know our shadow parts so that we harbor no inner conflict, and therefore no dis-ease. So that one part of us is not condemning another part for not being smart enough, strong enough, or good enough. And so that our “acknowledged” part does not overpower, override, or overcompensate for our “unacknowledged” part.
         What are our shadows likely to be? Often a part that feels not good enough, incapable, hopeless, or depressed; or a part that is superior, mean, manipulative, or greedy; or one that controls, intimidates, or freaks out. Now let’s look where that originates from…


… By accepting those parts we become more centered. We stop the swinging from one extreme to the other. Our shadow side has been yelling for our attention. By approving of it, we stop running to the other side, and so it stops pulling us back. Accepting the “dark” doesn’t mean we have to wallow in it. Simply allowing it to be there, it stops bugging us. When you pick the child up, it stops tugging at your sleeve… We become at ease with our undercurrents, we stop avoiding them and they stop ruling us.

“We overcome our enemies when we make them our friends.”    ~ Dalai Lama

… These unacknowledged traits are continually brought to our attention through the people and events we attract. Once we do acknowledge these parts within ourselves, we magnetize them less, because now we no longer need to have them put in our face. By welcoming our shadow parts, we better understand and accept ourselves, others and life; we gain great peace of mind. We retrieve balance on the tightrope of life…


Passages from EMBRACING OUR SHADOW   Read the chapter »


For those who seek to increase self understanding, love and inner peace ~ by recognizing and embracing our own repressed shadow sides ~ I well recommend THE SHADOW EFFECT film (interactive version) by Debbie Ford