This morning I was working out with a friend who was telling me a story about how he went to a quintessential Cuban cafe for breakfast. Although he used his best Spanish to order, they ended up giving him the wrong kind of steak with his eggs. Now my friend, who is dedicated to health and fitness, is vigilant about what he puts into his body and eating clean. When I asked him if he sent his meal back, he shrugged his shoulders and replied,
“No. I don’t want to be that person.”
Being raised around people who sent things back at restaurants, got upset if the service was slow, or took it personally if they didn’t get “the right” table, I vowed at an early age not to be a complainer. I, like many of us, have played the role of the meal martyr and tolerated underwhelming service, waiters getting my order wrong (you know, the whole “no croutons, dressing on the side” thing), and my biggest pet-peeve - cold food, just because I didn’t want to be that person!
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have sat silent, fought with ourselves about whether to say something or send something back or not, and paid for things we did not order because we didn’t want to be that person. Our fear and worry about being judged or labeled as a complainer, spoiled, entitled, or a pain in the butt has caused us to bite our tongue and swallow our integrity along with an order of food we didn’t want or care for.
But what would be possible if we could make peace with the fact that we ARE that person?
Would we be able to speak up?
Our shadows are the parts of ourselves that we deny, disown, and don’t like. Not wanting to be seen as a certain way, we tend to overcompensate for that which we don’t want to be. So we dumb down who we are and create personas to prove to ourselves and the world that we are not the people we judge. Even when it comes to sending back a meal at a restaurant, our shadows strip us of our power and cause us to betray our truth.
Shadow work is based on the concept of wholeness. Doing shadow work, we learn that we no longer have to worry about being that person. Why? Because we are that person. We are all that person…and that person…and that person - we are everything.
Whether we realize it or not, or want to admit it or not, the fact is that inside of each of us is every quality, trait, and emotion that we see in others. And not only do we need to own we are everything - every quality, trait, and emotion - so that we can feel whole and complete, but also if you want to be the fullest and most authentic expression of who you are in the outer world, then you need to own all that you are in your inner world.
Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. If you are only owning 25, 50, or 75 percent of who you are internally, then that is what you will be able to manifest externally. By owning that you are that person and that every quality, trait, and emotion lives inside of you, you gain access to that quality.
And it is when you gain access to a quality that you reclaim your power of choice.
You can choose whether to display the quality or not and it is in that choice that you then you are able to respond to a situation from a place of empowerment as opposed to fear.
You get to choose:
· Will it serve me to speak up or not?
· Am I deserving of getting what I ordered or should I just eat what the server brought me?
· Do I value my time by asking about the long wait or do I sit here and let my schedule get derailed?
So, this week I invite you to own that you are that person! You are a complainer and you are as considerate as can be. You are spoiled and humble, entitled and generous, judgmental and compassionate, selfish and selfless, and a pain in the butt as well as a pleasure to be with!
Owning that not only are you in the world but the world is within you will support you in not only bringing your full self to every moment of your life, but also as the Burger King slogan says, “Have it your way.”
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Listen for that voice inside your head that says “I am not that person.” “I don’t want to be that person.” “I am not like them.”
(2) Then ask yourself:
What is the quality that I see in them that I don’t want to be?
How have I (or could I) demonstrated that quality?
What could be the benefits of being able to demonstrate that quality? How could it serve me?
What has been the cost of pushing that quality down or trying to overcompensate for it?
(3) Take an action step that will support you in integrating and befriending that quality and have fun doing it!