I Change, but I am also the Same
I want to believe that I can let the ugly, self-absorbed, unbecoming parts of me go, never to let them surface again, but no matter how much I learn and grow, the indestructible, truest parts of me are always there. I only need to see them, accept them, and shift my perspective - rather than pretend I am beyond these core parts of me.
"Owning one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human." - Robert Johnson
Being willing to look at the darkest parts of ourselves, the parts we hate most, takes courage and continued discipline. I sense my shadow side emerging and I want to turn away, How can I be acting this way? I thought I had dealt with this already?
When my boys ignore or disrespect me, I lose my mind. It sneaks up on me every single time. I start by asking calmly for a behavior to stop. Nothing happens. I ask again. Still nothing. Finally, the situation escalates and I am screaming and giving out multiple punishments. I am furious that I have been ignored and dismissed, how dare they? Every time I come down from my high-and-mighty explosion, I wonder why I can't behave more rationally. There's no reason I have to yell to discipline my kids. There's no reason I can't be firm and also at peace. Of course, my children are touching something inside me I despise, which is why my reaction is so charged. Their behavior has opened wounds from past relationships and circumstances when I have been tuned out, and I let my pride and my ego build into a frenzy over something that has nothing to do with parenting the boys.
When our shadow side comes out, it feels eerily painful because it is a part of us we desperately want to go away. Johnson's quote above suggests we own our shadow rather than disregard it. I can work to let go of pride, but I will always be full of pride at the same time. I can work to let go of my need to be right, but it will always feel good to be right.
I'm amazed at how my children know exactly where to push my buttons. They know how to get me worked up and frazzled - fast.
How do they know?
My children only expose every insecurity I've ever had because parenting is a daily practice in self-love and self-discipline, which are two areas I need to work on. No matter how much we grow, awaken, and work to reach our highest self, we are still ourself. Owning my shadow might look like accepting the fact that I hate being rejected and ignored. But just because I feel dismissed by my children doesn't mean I have to act on it by overly blaming them. We still have the parts of us we don't like, but willingness to accept them and face them makes these qualities a little less scary, and a little more manageable. Owning the shadow lights up some of the darkness.