Tag Archives: playing small

The Shadow

Happy Sunday All

I discovered something about myself recently that I’m not sure I’m very proud of, But I felt the insight was worthy of sharing. I discovered the shadow in me. It peeked out of my bag and I, though fearful, allowed it out to play.

We all have one or two qualities that we know need some work, however to suddenly discover my shadow, let it out of my bag of ‘secrets’ and REALLY look at it was quite unnerving, but I was determined.

The Shadow

black-and-white-1282260_1280 (The Shadow – a trait or aspect of your personality that you repress or hide, for fear of criticism; a quality you are afraid to show & one which subconsciously prevents you living more expanded and joyfully).

Discovering this particular shadow, one I had suspected was there in moments when it peeked out of the bag, sent me off balance a little.

The term ‘Shadow’ was first used by Carl Jung to describe the repressed or denied part of the self. You see when we’re born, we use express with abandon and without censorship: All of our feelings and moods and quirks and foibles, without censorship or compunction, But we quickly come to learn that sometimes the way we express or parts of our personality are not valued or accepted by the people around us (and usually closest to us).

Recipe for creating The Shadow

Perhaps you were ridiculed and our opinion not taken seriously, or maybe you were shamed when upset and called names or your upset & pain ignored; perhaps you weren’t allowed to express your pride when you achieved something, perhaps you were criticised instead? There are may reactions to our words, deeds and behaviours that cause us to see them as ‘undesirable.’

Once we realise this part of us or this behaviour is not accepted, we decide to squirrel it away. We begin to repress it; hide those traits and qualities we see as shameful or undesirable, we learn to hide away the anything that caused us pain as a result of it being shown.

Hidden but not forgotten

hiding-1209131_1280Though we ‘squirrel’ these feelings away, somewhere in our psyche we still carry them with us. It’s as though we put a sack or our backs and continue to ‘lug’ these parts we are afraid to show, the denied parts, the parts we feel we need to repress around with us.

Every time you deny yourself their expression another is added to the bag, and another and another, until the bag becomes so heavy so burdensome we can become ill. Hopefully we become so angry or so tired of bending ourselves into a pretzel to suit whoever and whatever, your inner spirit finally shouts: ‘ENOUGH!’

woman-1043030_1280The shadow can be positive or negative.

  • Positive: You develop a positive habit in order to gain approval you may develop a habit which garners approval from those around you, but one which is not allowing you to be your ‘authentic self.’ Even though seen as positive, it is still a ‘shadow’ trait if it means you deny or repress what would be a natural response or behaviour for you. If you feel you’re somehow ‘holding back’ a natural part of yourself.
  • Negative: You are constantly straining to hide an undesirable ‘shadow’ trait that you’d prefer others didn’t see because you’re unconfident about it or feel others will see you negatively because of it.

Consequences

Developing another way of behaving to avoid slipping into the behaviours you know others around you do not approve of (more often than not the criticism comes from a place of insecurity or jealousy on their part), is exhausting and damaging to the psyche and the emotions. Constantly hiding or denying a part of yourself is eventually going to cause you pain, but as a child, when you were disapproved of or criticised you didn’t understand that, did you?

My Shadow Revealed

I Am a People Pleaser

…even as I write it I wince! I feel a bit of a fraud

affirmations-441457_1280

But, I know one thing, I want it exorcised and out of my bag!

This realisation didn’t come to me in a flash I had to dig for it.

It all started a few weeks ago ( I wrote this post several weeks ago, but was too afraid to post it – My shadow again!) when one of my blogs was selected to be the ‘Blog of the day’ for the ‘Wellness Universe; a forum and platform for Wellness Professionals and people like me who just want to do our bit to make the world a better place.

I was rightly proud, so I posted the link on Facebook, but three words I used in the intro to the post really seemed at odds and evoked an emotional response in me.

They were: ‘It’s no biggie’

I realised that I always DO that, but why?

sad-girl-236769_150

I downplay my achievements and ‘play small.’ I strive to always DO THE RIGHT THING’ that way I will always win approval.

Yet my vision for my life, my future & me is to be HUGE. I know I have so much to give the world and my mission is to help others discover and show their light; to help them blind you with their brilliance and learn how to shine without excuse and to know how to do so much sooner than I.

Not too loudly, Not too bright, Not too high,

light-1375158_1280It’s not people pleasing in an obsequious or arrogant way you understand, (well, I hope not!) but in a way that I fly just under the radar and do not shine too brightly; a way that means I don’t not sing too sweetly, so others criticise or chastise, so it draws too much attention. For those of you that know me, you may well be surprised, as I’m not exactly known to be a shrinking violet, but there IS MORE!

Yet, how can I hope to fully realise my ambition to be a fully realised and authentic hue-man, How will I meet my ambition to help others be the same, if I am still NOT truly open, still not truly Stepping into my light?

I pondered this for some days and discovered my ‘why’ and my ‘how.’

Starting again, and again and again

I became a people pleaser so I didn’t feel the hurt anymore; so I didn’t feel the pain of the criticism, the ridicule and the disapproval, but it also meant I didn’t ever meet my potential in anything. I did just enough for people to recognise I have talent and I was always promoted, but I never really Pushed through into the stratosphere of true success.

Just as I would grow wings and would really begin to fly, I would change direction or I’d be made redundant and make myself start again, from the bottom up.

Where did this come from:

As young children perhaps you were not allowed to celebrate your successes, I wasn’t…

shame-799095_1280

If we’re not given the chance to feel joy, not even the joy of just being ourselves as I was; or you’re expected to play the ‘big sister/brother’ role and always to:

  • Be sensible
  • Set the example
  • Know better
  • Do as you’re told
  • Not know too much
  • Speak when spoken to
  • Calm down (usually when we’re particularly happy)
  • Be quiet
  • Sit still
  • Don’t answer back
  • Respect your elders (which usually meant do what they say even if they’re wrong or are hurting you in some way)

Then somewhere in your subconscious you may have decided to play small.

I did…

  1. Because when I play small no-one gets hurt
  2. When I downplay my successes I don’t appear arrogant or ‘big-headed’
  3. When I play small I seem humble and self-effacing
  4. When I play small I’m less threatening
  5. When I play small I’m not criticised
  6. When I play small others approve of me (who doesn’t want their family and friends to look at them and be proud?)
  7. When I play small no-one has to explain my behaviour or make excuses for me
  8. When I play small society accepts me

I’m sure you get the picture

Enough, enough, enough, Enough!

cat-564202_1280I’d had ENOUGH I want to be fully realise, fully functioning, fully aware of & loving of myself; the whole 360’ of me.

By bringing our shadow into the light (that may simply be a share with one or two close friends or family or a wider more exposed announcement) we’re being the bravest version of ourselves we can be.

  • What qualities are you hiding?
  • What talents are you containing?
  • What feelings are you protecting out of fear?

When you expose your soft underbelly as well as hold yourself accountable for ALL that you are you are no longer afraid.

question-1301144_1280There is no criticism or that can hurt you, no ridicule or disapproval that causes you to wince, because they’re not revealing anything you don’t already know and recognise about you and guess what?

You’re working on it…

that’s the very best you can Do…

And that’s OK…

 Blissings & Much Love

Insightful Angel

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Playing Small

Happy Sunday All,

7th February 1965. It was a Sunday.

bird-287109_1280I like to think that there were bluebirds singing and the sun was shining, you know à la Snow White, but I doubt that was the case.

In fact the historical forecast says it was: “Dull, rather cold and very dry” So, not the Fairytale entrance I would have hoped for, however I was bright, inquisitive and curious and importantly I was and have always been very interested in people.

You know you have those moments when you re-assess your life, well, recently in that moment I realised I had spent a significant part of my life ‘playing small.’ It didn’t feel good and I know that now the time is right for me to JUST STOP IT!

Criticism: The Spirit killer

aggression-657087_1280I have always been full of curiosity and expectation; hungry for information and I tend to see life through hopeful and excited eyes, yet more often than not this was seen as a problem and I received much criticism for my exuberance and wish for knowledge.

Instead of being of being congratulated for being curious and thirsty to know more I got instead:

“yuh too farce!”

“yuh know too much”

“yuh always have and ansa fi evryting”

Criticism which made me second guess my own decisions and be unsure about what I should do and which decisions I should make that were in MY best interests.

The second thing that I think contributed to me subconsciously playing small was developing a fear of upsetting others. When we are made to believe that our successes are at the expense of others and that in doing so others may suffer, then we unconsciously pull in and stop ourselves from expanding too greatly or from shining too brightly.

Comparisons

leaves-79990_1280When I was young my sisters and I were obliged to spend a lot of time at my aunt’s house. We were practically brought up with our cousins but it meant constant comparisons and our achievements being pitted against each other…

As a very academic youngster and a naturally curious person I was more often than not out front in that particular race and so when my cousins were chastised for not being able to keep up, I realise now that on a subconscious level I dimmed my light because shining too brightly meant others would suffer.

PLAYING SMALL.’

This has been a recurring theme in my life and no doubt for some of you too. The thing with playing small is that it’s quite an insidious and subconscious little saboteur. It’s also a bit of a chameleon and shape shifts, like a ninja when you least expect it to.

What do I mean by that?

What I mean is that we play small for a number of reasons, but how you play small can show up as something else entirely.

In what ways could you be playing small?

Playing small for me manifest as people pleasing. I learnt quickly as a child that I would receive positive affirmation and attention if I did as I was told, if I did the things my primary carers expected of me.

hand-683909_1280 (1)In addition to this I am an eldest child and so we  are, more often than not trained to be responsible not just for ourselves, but the behaviours and emotions of those siblings that come after us. Now this is great up to a point, but it didn’t exactly endear me to my siblings nor some of my peers when you’re behaving like yet another ADULT in their lives.

It’s a heavy burden and a responsibility which leaves you feeling you’re stuck between the ‘rock’ of adult and carer expectations of your behaviour and the ‘hard place’ of just being a child, relating to your siblings and peers and doing what other children do because when you do allow yourself to be a child, you are chastised.

“You’re the sensible one!”

“I didn’t expect this from YOU!”

“I trusted you to…”

“You should know better…”

and so on…

Who am I really?

Stepping up to life can be fearful...What's next?
Stepping up to life can be fearful…What’s next?

In order to avoid the guilt and disappointment we can often feel we are creating, the result of the expressed disappointment, we can spend a life-time giving out and being what everyone else needs us to be, when they needed us to be it and forget – no, never really knew that we are the first person we should give to.

It is only when I give to myself, that I am filled up enough to overflow and spill out with the energy abundance, love, affection, advice, support, confidence or whatever it is that others want and I choose to give out.

The other way that I ‘played small’ and I know there are others of you, who do this too, is that I constantly looked to others, seeking their advice and approval before making decisions for my own life and myself.

I failed to trust my own intuition and my own guidance.

Whether you look to the advice of someone you respect, the advice of friends, teachers or Gurus OR whether you look to horoscopes, Runes and Tarot, what you’re doing is relinquishing your power to another and playing small.

Now don’t get me wrong, the advice of others can be invaluable…

person-110305_150However, it’s when you allow that advice or opinion to usurp a burning desire within you, when you allow that advice to quench the fire of feeling uplifted and expanded, when you overthrow opportunities that makes you feel excited & joyous because someone cautioned you against it, that’s when you know you’re playing small.

Their advice becomes the excuse you use to justify not stepping up to the expanded and amazing self you know you could be.

How do you know it?

Because you felt excited by the opportunity.

Remember most people, even with the best of intentions, operate from within their own experience, thoughts and feelings. So, even if their advice comes with love and they have the best intentions for you, they can only advise you from within the confines and limits of their own life’s lessons.

THESE ARE NOT YOUR LESSONS!

So, the next time you’re faced with  a decision or opportunity, check in with yourself consider if the choice you’re about to make makes you feel expanded or constricted, reactive and motivated by fear or expanded and joyous.

Blissings & Much love

Insightful Angel

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