I spent a lot of time over the past year trying to understand a time in my life when things had gone *a little haywire*. And while I recognized that that this was an important phase in my personal development, I still felt a lot of shame about the person I was then.
Lately though I'm getting a clearer picture of the gifts of that turbulent period.
I had spent the first 30-plus years of my life trying to be who I thought others wanted me to be. I hid (even from myself) all aspects of myself that others might find unacceptable. I had been told from an early age that I was too sensitive, too emotional, and too intense.
It happens to a lot of us.
So I kept myself dialed back. I didn't show up as ME, I made every effort to send out a pleasant representative. I learned to be accommodating and unopinionated and unquestionably nice.
An alien feeling started growing deep within me that was clawing to get out. I suddenly had a need to stand up for myself, to say what was on my mind, and to say "no"--often vehemently.
I busted the sides out of that sweet-pleasant-helpful box I had been living in.
And while I'm not proud of the volatile and reckless ways that I acted out, it did introduce me to another side of myself. I got to meet the part of me who was bold and spontaneous and wholehearted. I learned that I had chutzpah. And that I could ride motorcycles and mechanical bulls and tell people where to stick it.
I needed to let all those stuffed down parts of myself out for me to grow (and to grow up).
This was my shadow side making itself known--the part of me that needed to be brought to the light so that I could become an integrated whole rather than just a people-pleasing persona.
Danielle LaPorte says (oh so eloquently), "Love the you that you outgrew. These are the disowned parts of yourself that are less spiritually cultivated than you are now. You have to bring them into your heart and treat them like you would a sister or a beloved. Until you reclaim those unintegrated parts of yourself, you do not have your full power--part of you is out there, wandering around, looking for a loving home or a rock band to belong to".
You cannot practice self-acceptance or truly love yourself until you go through this process of bringing the shadow to the light and giving space to all the complexities and contradictions that make up the your fully authentic self.
If you're in the midst of this process or have a sense that it is coming on or are on the recovery side of it, you are opening up for some serious growth and expansion. If you want guidance through the tricky parts of it, I'm here to help you find your way.