Exploring your Shadow Self

While teaching myself how to read Tarot cards in November, I came across a Pinterest post about shadow cards. The shadow card is the card at the bottom of your deck & represents your innermost hopes & fears. This is why I always include the shadow card in my Tarot Card of the Day Instagram posts. Psychologically, our shadow is a catchall term for our dark behaviors that others & sometimes we are not even aware of in ourselves. Inspired by the shadow card of my Tarot card readings, I finally started my shadow work to face my fears & inner demons in December.

For a very long time, I was comfortable being labeled as a “Mean Girl”. I didn’t care if I came off as a bitch, & I always rationalized my bad behaviors. I would tell myself things like “It’s fine because they’re stupid & don’t even know what they’re talking about.” or “They’re just jealous of me, because I’m prettier & have everything that they wish they had.” My mean girl past is probably why I always relate to villains more often than heroes in my favorite movies. I also seem to only attract people with similarly shameful pasts. Your shadow will be comprised of negative human emotions & impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, lust, & striving for power. Exploring my shadow was a very scary & painful process, but I’m proud to say that I’ve come out on the other side feeling more authentic, creative, & spiritually enlightened.

Here are three ways I successfully started exploring & healing my shadow self:

Explore your emotions & your emotional triggers

I was bullied as a child, so I grew up having a lot of pride. I never wanted to appear weak or as a pushover. My rising sign is also a Leo, so naturally, my goal has always been to present myself to the world as a confident, regal, & fearless leader. The honest truth is that I have a lot of insecurities. I’m afraid of the dark, & I sleep with a nightlight when I’m alone. I’m afraid of making mistakes & failing, so my perfectionism keeps me stagnant at times. And whenever I’m given a new leadership role or project, I usually go through a bout of imposter syndrome. Early in my career, I would challenge authority figures often, especially if I knew I could manipulate them into getting my way. While I’m not proud of my past, I’m proud to say that I’ve become more self-aware of my emotions & when the actions of others trigger me.

Challenge when you feel “good” or “better” than others & ask yourself why

When I was two & a half years old, my younger brother was born. The attention that I received from my mom & my sister was suddenly stripped away from me, because of the new baby. Subsequently, I hated him! For years, I would push my brother when no one was looking, & I would secretly plot how to get rid of him. Because of this, I also grew up loving attention. I loved getting good grades & awards as a child. I loved being on a stage & performing, whether it was dancing, singing, or even playing sports. I honestly still LOVE when others tell me how much they love & look up to me. I love getting likes on my social media, & I love getting recognized for the hard work that I put into all the different facets of my career. I’ve lived the majority of my life seeking attention & validation from other people. With this shadow aspect of my personality finally brought to light, I’m relieved to say that I am no longer a social media influencer. I purged my personal Instagram & switched it from a Business account to a Personal account, & I’m much happier because of it. Now that I’ve finally stopped seeking love & attention from others, I’m humbled to say that I now proactively give love & attention to myself every day.

Identify your enemies & explore the truth behind your hate

When you hate someone, there is usually something about them that exists in your shadow. I disliked one of my managers for being an unfriendly know-it-all. I hated another one of my managers for not being compassionate or understanding. It wasn’t until I became a people manager myself that I discovered my own struggles with pointing out when people needed more knowledge or training & being more compassionate & understanding to the circumstances of others.

While I’m happy about the progress I’ve made so far, I know that I’ll probably need to continue to do my shadow work for the rest of my life. I can now recognize when I don’t like someone that there’s something about them that is also in me that I still need to address & heal. I can now clearly see when a man has bad intentions towards me & still needs to heal. I’ve accepted that I’m not perfect, & my emotions can & will get the best of me at times. But it’s the self-awareness & effort that I want to put into improving myself that matters the most.

XO Denise

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