Oh you thought I was full of sunshine and rainbows and positive thinking?
I’m also a little bit of darkness, bullshit and drama. You know, just like you. Those parts of us we don’t want to share, see or even look at. The dark thoughts of judgement, anger and liking it.
Some days I come with a side of sour.
In self reflection we cannot only see who we became when others were nasty to us, didn’t support us, wronged us, we must also see our own nasty side, the parts we don’t want to admit are there.
We shy away, won’t look at them because we think they make us a bad person. We can’t imagine what people would say if they knew the negative thoughts we have. The way we think of ourselves, other people, the world.
It’s easier to look at how other people wronged us, what’s wrong with the world than it is to look inside and see ourselves the way we are. It’s easier to be angry when we are “justified” because “look at what he/she did to me“.
But what if it’s deeper than that? What if it’s not really about what someone else did to you but it’s about how you’re reacting to it? What if it’s about how YOU are showing up in the world? Hmm…
I know… I didn’t want to go there either. But here we are, so buckle up…
I thought going there would make me a bad person. I didn’t want to give those dark, negative thoughts any attention or fuel. At least that’s what I told myself. I told myself they weren’t true, that’s not really how I feel. Don’t give them any attention.
But in reality, what we hide grows. And I didn’t want to see what it was covering up, because if I saw it, I would change it. It would lose it’s power. What we hide grows in shame. When we shine a light on it it’s like a gremlin or a monster under the bed, we can see it for what it is. We can get under it and find the real emotions we’re feeling.
Looking at my negative, self absorbed, me me me thoughts didn’t make nasty, it actually deflated them. It didn’t make me meaner, it made me see how untruthful they were. It made me look through a lens of compassion, at myself and others. It made me see how much I withdrew, cut myself off. That I saw things as I wanted to, that I looked for things to be angry about.
It was so easy for me to see how others wronged me, hurt me but it wasn’t so easy for me to see how I hurt and wronged others, how I hurt and wronged myself, how I chained myself to an image of what I thought I was.
Sometimes I want to be bitter. Sometimes I want to be angry and dark and brooding. Sometimes I want to focus on what’s wrong. It meets my needs. My emotional needs (we all have 6 basic human needs that we meet in a variety of ways) were being met by this emotional place of bitterness. It allows me to separate, to hold myself back, to withdraw.
That place helps me keep the world, and potential hurt, at bay. The twist is that I’m hurting myself. I look for proof that people hurt you, and I find it. I look for proof that I’m not good enough and I find it. I look for proof that others are not good enough and I find it.
But none of feels good. It all feels like crap really, feeling that way is comfortable. It’s “home”, a place I know well. A place of poor poor pitiful me. As long as I’m there, I’m safe because no one can get to me. If I screw something up, it doesn’t matter because I’ll just pretend it didn’t matter to me.
But in reality, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t close off. If I didn’t know what deep hurt felt like, I wouldn’t withdraw. If I didn’t know what failure, being made fun of felt like, I wouldn’t shut down.
When I’m in that sour place, I am not exposed, not open to being hurt, made fun of, rejected or failing. Instead of creating and going after what I want I’m destroying it. And blaming the world, other people for it.
“I would be successful if people cared about _______”
“I would be healthy if _______”
“I would______, if_______”
I mean, fill in the blanks. We all do it. If you’re honest, you do it too. And it’s not fun to look at or admit. But a wild woman looks right at what she sees and doesn’t look away. Even if it’s her own darkness, her own shadow.
We all have a shadow. A dark side that we’re not proud of. Pretending we don’t doesn’t make it go away, it makes it grow. We silently feed it with our negative self talk, limiting beliefs and beliefs about the world we live in.
Looking right at it helps us see what it’s really about, what it’s really covering up. We learn more about ourselves when we explore our darkness than our light. Everything isn’t always sunshine and roses. Life can be really hard sometimes and we can develop issues, patterns, habits and behaviours that do not serve us.
Looking at them can help us uncover deeply rooted belief systems that prevent us from living the life we truly want to live.
Looking into my sourness allowed me to see that I was operating with a belief system that people are unreliable and untrustworthy.
That’s sort of ludicrous, isn’t it? I mean NOT EVERY SINLGE PERSON IS untrustworthy and unreliable.
Ass soon as I looked into into my darkness, ok, bitterness, I could see that old belief that formed as a result of being hurt and let down numerous times.
Did that happen? Yes. I was hurt and let down. But instead of using discernment about the type of people I was trusting or making other people’s stuff about me (as though it was my responsibility to fix people, if I could do enough, be enough, do more, be more…)I made it mean that people are unreliable and untrustworthy.
Now if I believe that, how can I get close to other people and have healthy friendships and relationships with people? I can’t. How can I build a business that relies on the relationships I build with people. I can’t.
The conflict is real. It’s why we want what we want but sabotage ourselves consistently.
But it’s not true. That belief system isn’t true. But I can’t change it if I am not willing to look into my sourness. If I keep looking away, I cannot see what it is covering up, what emotions I’m feeling, what patterns, behaviours and belief systems that are in conflict with my true beliefs.
In reality I believe people are doing the best they can. And that just because someone might not be ready, doesn’t mean I’m not good enough and it doesn’t mean they’re untrustworthy or unreliable. Just because someone is late or cancels, doesn’t mean anything about me, or them. They’re not unreliable or uncaring – maybe they’re having a rough go of it and I shouldn’t judge because I have no idea what they’re dealing with…God knows I have had my share of rough days.
Why is it ok for me to have a bad day and not someone else?
In my life I’ve experienced the worst of people. But I’ve also experienced the best of people. I’ve learned that family aren’t always there for you. I’ve learned that strangers 1/2 way around the world cried with you when you experienced a tragedy. I’ve been hurt in many ways and I’m sure I’ve hurt people in many ways, but I’ve always been shown compassion and love in ways and from people I never expected. And I’ve shown compassion and love that many have never seen… sides of me I also hide from many people.
Just because some people hurt us, doesn’t mean everyone will. Just because someone “burns us” doesn’t mean everyone will. When we hide from our darkness, we lose the opportunity to grow and learn from it. We keep trusting the same type of people, we keep looking for love in the wrong places, we keep expecting things from people who simply cannot give it to us. And we keep getting hurt because those sneaky little belief systems that are lurking underneath our nastiness.
When we have the courage to face our own darkness, we can see the belief systems that do not serve us and we can change them. They won’t be changed overnight, they will be changed with consistent action to change them.
But if you don’t know you have them, how can you change them?
You can’t. I can’t. We can only see them when we are willing to uncover them. And that means we have walk through the darkness. And that’s not comfortable. It’s downright ugly at times.
Our shadow is our biggest teacher.
So some days I come with a side of sour, but I’ve learned the sourness will always lead to sweetness, the darkness will give way to the light, if only I will surrender to it.