Working with shadow parts is always something that makes me feel apprehensive, even though I know it shouldn’t as it is just the lower vibrational aspects of our soul arising to be released.
It is scary when I find out things about myself that I really don’t like. Knowing that they need love and healing helps a little. Also observing them rather than attaching to them helps to quell any judgement of myself that naturally stirs.
Just because we know how we don’t want to feel or be, doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t feel those things or have those aspects in our personalities.
Recently I’ve been noticing cowardly parts of myself. Actually that’s quite a judgemental word, I think I prefer fearful. I’ve noticed that I am far too happy to stay indoors and away from people in light of the current coronavirus outbreak. Things have just ramped up a notch here in the UK, and we’re now told to only go out for essential purposes.
At the moment this hasn’t bothered me one bit. I love being at home, it’s peaceful to me, and in my current recovery from Coeliacs Disease I still have little energy (an earlier boost a few weeks ago has unfortunately subsided). I am an introvert at heart, but one who needs and loves being around people in small doses.
The new imposed limits in contact have awoken in me a realisation that I am greatly relieved to have an excuse not to socialise. Like seriously relieved! This really surprised me. I’ve always been aware that I’m very socially anxious, but I didn’t realise by how much, or how much it has been affecting me.
What scares me so much about socialising with other people?
I find it all too intense. Other people’s energy seems very “loud” if that makes any sense to you? I feel very overwhelmed by it very quickly. At some point I even questioned if I have Aspergers. I certainly fit some of the criteria, but not enough for a diagnosis I don’t think.
The overwhelm doesn’t just come from the other people, but also the environment we are in: noise, visuals, other energies around us.
But even in a peaceful environment, one-on-one with a friend, I can only manage a small amount of time before I feel overstimulated.
I am constantly aware of how the other person sees me, perceives, judges. I am constantly monitoring myself and them for signs of doing something socially inappropriate or upsetting to someone.
No wonder I get so overstimulated, and fearful also. I put myself under a microscope and am super-conscious of everything I do.
Exploring my fear has helped me judge myself less. I almost feel I am observing a frightened child, one who hasn’t managed to learn how to accommodate her sensitivities, and judges herself harshly for not fitting in, and not wanting to socialise. It feels easier to be kinder and compassionate towards her.
I find online friendships helpful. They create a little bit of distance and I like that I can reply in writing, which I can take more time over, and am not in a situation I find pressurising.
This social anxiety has greatly impacted my ability to hold down a regular job, coupled with bipolar. I think when the anxiety is all the time, everyday at a job, and I am constantly exhausted from it, that is when the mood swings kick in and bipolar cycles begin and escalate.
I wonder if part of me, maybe part of my ancestral karma, is extremely judgemental of mental illness. It shocks me to think so, but I feel emotional at this realisation, which makes me think there is some truth in it.
It’s slightly horrifying seeing as mental health conditions are so rife in my family.
Perhaps we have ancestors or past lives that involve severe judgement or abuse of the mentally ill. Of course I seriously hope not, but there is definitely part of me that judges myself harshly for not being “normal” (I don’t see others’ mental health issues in this way at all) and sometimes I think I do bully myself. I feel ashamed that I’ve always found adulthood extremely difficult- dealing with a job, plus housework, cooking, washing etc. In fact the last three alone I find challenging enough.
I feel ashamed when people ask me “so what do you do Rachel?”. I never know what to say really. I don’t have a job. At the moment I don’t use my time very wisely either- too much TV and internet, not enough writing, art, piano and flute. I think I do try and bully myself into doing them, which inevitably makes me not want to do them. I’m extremely judgemental of myself when I do participate and am a perfectionist. Not much fun!
Then on top of all that I feel like I’m putting myself into a position of powerlessness by attaching to beliefs about being a victim.
I just can’t win! 😂
So, it would appear I need to do a whole lot of release of judgement, and a whole lot of forgiveness. I know these things take time, and it happens in baby steps. I’ve identified the problem, so now I can do something about it by being much more compassionate with myself, much kinder and gentler. One step at a time.
It’s funny. I asked my husband once what he most loved about me and he said that I am kind and caring. Not to myself it would seem, but hopefully I will be able to turn those qualities inwards.
N.B It has occurred to me that just by acknowledging and accepting our shadow qualities, we are being courageous.