Everyone has a dark side — a side we hide from everyone because if they were to discover it, they would run away from us. Bringing it to light gives us the power to control it instead of it controlling us. The emphasis in our culture is to focus on the positive, and that is wonderful in many ways, but it is also a disservice to our personal growth. When we solely focus on the positive and ignore the darker side of ourselves, or what I call our shadow pattern, we set ourselves up to be triggered unexpectedly by events, people and situations.
An essential step of our life’s dance of self-awareness is discovering and naming our shadow pattern. While the core pattern is the social mask we wear in our daily lives to project an attractive image in the world, the shadow pattern contains those predominant characteristics that we push away and keep buried under the surface. Every one of us has a shadow part of that we remain insecure about, no matter how prosperous, attractive, successful, lovely, spiritual or famous we are. The shadow pattern represents:
- The weakest, most undesirable, negative, hideous part of yourself
- The dark side of the ego
- The repressed, denied and hidden part of you
The problem is not that you have these dark parts, but that they remain invisible until they are inadvertently triggered by an emotion, event or situation. Because we deny an outlet to our shadow pattern, or we deny the existence of this part of ourselves, we often project our negative qualities onto others.
Why is it essential to become aware, recognize and embrace our shadow pattern?
Do you know that organizations, governments, countries also have shadow patterns? The more we refuse to see the ugly part, the more likely it will appear in front of us and take us by surprise unexpectedly. It is like the buoy that you push under the water. The more you push it down, the more forcefully it is going to bounce back. An example of this just happened in our own backyard during the presidential elections. The bad news is that the behaviors that were displayed by some candidates, media people, and public figures represented anger, hatred and other negative qualities we were not aware of or we did not want to see. We did not want to see the suffering, the anger that we have. The good news is that it popped up and surprised us so now we can at least deal with our collective shadow pattern.
As long as you avoid your shadow pattern, or those hidden parts of yourself you don’t like, you cannot be whole and you cannot contribute in creating wholeness in the world. Uncovering the shadow pattern, knowing it and naming it, will enable you to have control over it instead of it controlling you.
Are you ready to discover your shadow pattern?
If you want to discover your shadow pattern, use the exercise below and answer just 2 questions honestly and fully:
Think of a person you really dislike.
1. What is it that you dislike about that person? What does this person do, or how do they behave that upsets you deeply?
Does this person…
- Use sarcasm hurtfully
- Act selfishly
- Act unfaithfully
- Act stingy or greedy
- Boast about him or herself
- Act like he or she is better than everyone else
2. Have you ever done, or behaved in a similar way even once in your life? Have you ever acted a certain way or said something that you knew wasn’t kind?
We can only see in others what we believe about ourselves. The negative quality you find off putting in someone else may represent a dark side about yourself that you don’t like and don’t want to see. However, acknowledging this shadow pattern in you allows you to recognize this truth about yourself. This awareness brings healing and a sense of self-control that allows you to be more of who you really are and prevents you from being controlled by people and events.
If you want to go deeper into learning about your core and shadow patterns and how to use this awareness to create a more meaningful, authentic and purposeful life, I invite you to join me in my 11-part online course called The Dolphin’s Dance. Although this course is based upon my bestselling book, The Dolphin’s Dance, this is an opportunity to go through this self-discovery journey with me by your side. I’m offering a special low price of only $39.99 (a very small investment to finally uncover thoughts, behaviors, beliefs and patterns that keep you from peace, love and joy) and three bonus gifts until January 31, 2017. With the New Year, this is a great time to take the most important journey you’ll ever experience — the journey within. Sign up today and join me in The Dolphin’s Dance!