Those Undesirable Unmentionables: Hello, Shadow!
“I just want to lose my desire for love. I hate needing approval. I hate being needy. I’ve asked the Universe to remove these defects in me. This neediness in me is pathetic.”
A new client wrote this to me last week, and when I read it, I felt a stirring in my heart, a sadness, a sorrow for this woman, who feels that her desires are so undesirable, and burdensome. I have been this woman.
I wonder what hurts she must have experienced, to want these desires gone. I felt a heaviness thinking about her pain and frustration with herself and her innate desires, her own human nature.
It stirs me every time I come across someone I care about who is fighting who they are at the core.
It saddens me every time I come across someone who is desperately trying to reject their human qualities, in order to be more spiritual, closer to God, or in order to simply feel less.
Our desire for love, approval and appreciation makes us so very human, This desire is a primitive, innate, and powerful driver. To deny it exists, to reject this part of ourselves is to reject our humanity, our very essence as human beings.
From the moment we are born, we seek love. As small children, our identities are shaped by attachment and approval. It’s how we learn to be human, we are formed through connection, we need each other.
Last night, dancing with a group of women in my BodyLove Affair Rendezvous, we stopped dancing to debrief after a soulful shake-up.
We talked about the ways we are “supposed” to be, the parts of us that are easy to accept. And the parts of us that are… less easy. The not-so-pretty parts. The undesirable unmentionables.
We talked about the pressure to appear as we have it all together, at all times, when really, on the inside, we are screaming, we are wailing. We are pieces held together with tape and chewing gum, and one blast of wind might send us into smithereens, or so it seems.
Our shadow is described as the parts of us that we reject or hide, from the world or ourselves.
And guess what? What we resist persists.
I’ve been there. This self-rejecting path was the way I lived. Parts of me were easy to accept and love. Others, not so much.
Like my client, neediness is also one of my shadow traits. I spent the first three and a half decades of my life trying to “not be needy.”
I am fiercely independent, so being or seeming needy had always been loathsome and avoidable at all costs. And it cost me a great deal: True, deep intimacy and connection with others.
Because I am human, I have needs.
And sometimes, I am even needy. I accept this now.
I continue to do my shadow work, which is, I promise, a lifelong project. I am learning to embrace my neediness. The needy part of me is very young, and very precious, and deserves my love.
When she is triggered, I am learning to acknowledge her and love her. I do not reject her. I do not send her away. I see her. I allow her. I tend to her.
What I’m also learning is that as I continue my healing work and personal evolution, my need for outer validation, love, appreciation or approval does not drive me the way that it used to.
It’s there, as I mentioned, I’m human, and plan on being so for a while longer, so I don’t wish it away or reject it.
But what’s naturally happening is I am finding direct access to my own love. The love that I am. After all, why seek what you already are?
I’m tapping into a deeper source for these feelings, that of my own soul’s wellspring of love and worthiness. I do not rely on outer validation for my worth. But I still desire it. Who doesn’t!? It feels great!
This is evolution. This is a revolution.
What parts of you do you find difficult to love or accept?
And what if the most difficult parts of you to love were the most precious?
How might they transform if you simply embraced these shadowy parts, acknowledged them as part of your totality? Your wholeness?
You are all things.
You are light and shadow. And the more acceptance and acknowledgment, curiosity, compassion, love and allowance you offer to your shadow, the less shadowy it becomes.
You grow, you evolve, you heal. And you don’t need to reject, change or pray away any part of you.