I’m reading a really interesting book at the moment. The title is Falling Upward and it was written by Richard Rohr. As I was reading this morning the following two quotes jumped out at me.
“Invariably when something upsets you, and you have a strong emotional reaction out of proportion to the moment, your shadow self has just been exposed.”
“The gift of shadowboxing is in the seeing of the shadow and its games, which takes away much of the shadow’s hidden power.”
The shadow self Rohr is referring to is our egoic self. It is that part of you that has kept you safe, has protected you, and you have listened to over the years through your inner chatter. It is the voice that says I’m this, or I am that, and this is happening because I’m a failure, I’m not good enough. I think you get where I’m headed. And when he says it is exposed my interpretation of that, you know in your heart it is not the real you, the you in your heart.
It is interesting because I learned this same concept in a slightly different way but has the same result. My mentor and friend, Jennifer Hough, taught me that when I have an extreme emotional reaction, whatever I’m thinking at that time is untrue. Because when she was first assisting me with this I had some pretty large … okay, massive protective mechanisms in place and she started by calling it the sniff test. It was a way my ears could hear it. So when I was having a strong emotional response she would say … what does it smell like … my answer was sour, awful, rotten … you see it was my way to connect that what my inner chatter was telling me was way off. I had to bring it back to my senses. Now through lots of practice when these types of things come up I stop myself and say … you know if you are having this type of reaction it is not true.
Trust me it still happens to me but it is the amount of time that I stay there now, which is typically not long, that’s important. In the past it would have taken me days, even weeks to get my thinking turned around. Now it’s minutes, sometimes hours if it is an old pattern which needs to have extreme light shone on it so it can finally leave. This is the gift of shadowboxing … the more you shine a light on the shadow/your ego the less power it has over you. You spend more time being in your heart and shining your light.
If you have moments when you feel like your emotions are way over the top for the situation, try what I mentioned, and see what happens. This is a journey and we all need some tools to help us get rid of the shadows. If you try this, leave me a note and let me know how it went. If you would like to discuss this further, send me an email and we can tackle your shadow self together.