The other day I went back to a gym that I had not been to in about two months. As I was rounding the corner of my second lap around the track, the owner of the facility who I have known for years ran up along side of me and said, "Kelley, you are getting too thin!" Breaking out in hysterical laughter, I looked at him and said, "Oh my G-d, you just said to me the words I have been waiting a lifetime to hear from my mother!"
The fact is that there are words we all are waiting or wanting to hear from someone else. We are looking for someone to tell us, "You are smart, doing a great job, loveable, good enough, or fabulous just as you are." We are all, in some way, looking to the outer world for affirmation. The problem is, as long as we are looking to the outer world for validation, we are not filling our own cup and as a result, we will always feel empty or incomplete. As Debbie Ford says in The Dark Side of The Light Chasers,
"Your healing will not come from another person.
It must happen within you and it happens by owning all of you."
Some people think that shadow work is only about owning the "dark" or negative parts of yourself that you do not like or have disowned...but that is only partially true. Shadow work is as much about owning your light as your dark. And for many, owning your light is often much more challenging! As Debbie says in Dark Side, "Some of us recognize many of our gifts while others only recognize a few, but it is rare that I meet someone who's comfortable with the full brilliance of their light. Everyone has different positive traits that he or she has difficulty embracing. It is just as difficult to take back all the light aspects of ourselves as it is the dark ones."
Many people also struggle to own their light because they cannot see it in themselves or they think it would be arrogant or conceited of them to stand in their magnificence. Yet as Debbie writes. "Not only is it okay to say nice things about ourselves, it's imperative. We must recognize our gifts and talents. We must learn to appreciate and honor all that we do well. We must search out our own uniqueness. Many people cannot own their own success, happiness, health, beauty, and divinity. They are afraid to see that they are powerful, successful, sexy, and creative. Their fear keeps them from exploring these parts of themselves. But in order to authentically love ourselves we have to embrace all of who we are, not just the dark but the light as well."
It's a continual practice of remembering that you possess all of the positive qualities you see in others. It may be particularly difficult to embrace certain traits that contradict external reality. For example, it may be hard to embrace rich or successful if you are in debt. It may feel challenging to embrace loveable if you are alone. And for me, like many others, it may feel like a real stretch to embrace skinny when you have always had body issues or the scale says a certain number that you don't define as "skinny." But as Debbie explains,
"If you don't own the skinny person within yourself,
he or she will never be able to come out.
If you're single and want to be married,
you'll have to embrace your married aspect."
Owning a positive trait that you've denied is scary because it requires that you leave all your stories and excuses behind. It requires seeing yourself with new eyes. The sad reality is that we are taught not to acknowledge our greatness. Most of us believe we possess some positive traits but not others. We have convinced ourselves that we are less than we are. We look to the outer world to affirm us so we can feel good enough, deserving enough, or even worthy of being and feeling loved. It is time to lighten up! It is time for you to own all of you are. Your soul yearns to realize its full potential. Your soul longs for you to deliver your unique gifts to the world. It's time to own your light and allow your light to shine! The world needs you and you need you!
Transformational Action Steps
1. Make a list of light qualities that you are not owning. These may be positive qualities you don't see in yourself, qualities you admire in others, or qualities you wish you had.
2. Take some slow deep breaths and read through your list saying, "I am ______." for every word you have written down. "I am healthy. I am brilliant. I am sexy...."
3. Pick one of these qualities to work with. Start with the one that feels like the greatest stretch, brings up the most emotion, or that you really ache to be.
4. Journal about a time in your life when you possessed this quality and how this quality has or could serve you.
5. Every day for at least a week, wake up and ask yourself, "What is an action step or something I can do today to support me in owning and displaying this quality?" And then take that action!
6. Join us at The Shadow Process. We spend Sunday owning our light!