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Ok here we go…
Someone and I bumped up against each other recently in an uncomfortable way for both of us. It was uncomfortable because we bumped into our shadow selves in each other. Knowing that helps me welcome the experience with an open heart and great appreciation for this someone’s presence in my life.
Let me explain;
While we are growing up we learn what behaviour works best in what situation. Now, our childish interpretation of ‘works best’ is not always so kosher because, quite frankly, we only have half a brain at the time. (Ok I don’t actually know how much of a brain we have working at any given moment we are growing up but our brain is mostly fully developed only when we are around 21 years old so there are things we just don’t have the brain capacity to grasp when we are little).
So we might see, “Hmmm, throwing a tantrum works best because it gets me what I’m asking for.” Or we might see, “Yikes! I won’t try scream and shout like that again. They rejected me and closed me in a room on my own.” One child learns expressed anger is good and the other learns expressed anger is bad.
Based on these kinds of experiences in our family and school we learn how to be in the world. Then we are grown and we head out into the wider world certain that we know how to be. And then we trip up because, again frankly, most of our families have their own unique weirdness and what worked with them doesn’t always work with others. This is one of the reasons we go a little crazy in our early twenties. We are facing our patterns for the first time.
So why am I writing this and how is it related to being pissed off? Well we are mostly all born with a tool box with the same selection of tools in it. Through our life experiences we learn which tools we want to associate with ourselves and which not. The ones that serve us, stay in the box and the ones we judge to be useless or detrimental to us, we throw in the back, into our shadow. In the example above, one person will accept anger as a tool – may even be proud of his anger – but will throw ‘nice’ into his shadow because that really got him nowhere. The other person is ‘nice’ but doesn’t do anger. Anger is in his shadow.
It works very nicely this method – until we grow up. A fully functioning adult needs ALL his or her tools. If you can’t do anger when appropriate, people walk all over you. If you can’t do ‘nice’ as needed, you will have poor relationships.
Problem. We put those aspects into our shadow because they felt dangerous to our well-being. That means that going to fetch them can feel like facing death. Seriously, it can feel that dramatic! So we have all sorts of ways of avoiding seeing that stuff in ourselves.
How do we access our shadow then, you may be asking? How can we even know what’s in our shadow? And WHY is this relevant to getting angry at someone?! Ah, well here is where it gets VERY interesting.
Because people, b e c a u s e your shadow shows itself to you in everything you judge and don’t like in others – of course including your children. And of course whoever pissed you off.
But don’t stress to hear that because
SOMEONE WHO SHOWS YOU SHADOW ASPECTS OF YOURSELF IS A GREAT GIFT!!!!!
In case you dissociated while reading that let me say it differently – when someone makes you uncomfortable or angry or scared, they are offering you your own tools back that you have rejected in the past.
So, look around at those you don’t like in your life, those you judge, those who make you nervous or uncomfortable – yes, very much including your children. Each of them is one of your angels helping you become whole again. You only have to learn to love and accept them as they are in order to make peace with those parts of yourself. (Or you can make peace within yourself in order to love and accept them as they are).
Simple right? Ha ha!
This is where our blessed children come in to help us. Again. Their HUGE gift to us is that we already love them a lot. That makes it a fraction easier to look at those things we REALLY don’t like with more openness and compassion. And those things, my friends, are parts of you.
So love thy neighbour after all – for he is you. A whole new twist to the various world conflicts right?
How are you doing with loving all the parts of yourself?
I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this one…
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I like to be in control, Harry our son is teaching me that Chaos can be okay too and that you can’t control everything. He has made think a lot about where that need to control things has come from. And, it’s good to let go everything usually works out either way!
Oh Gis I hear you on the control thing. Control is the first thing we lose on the road to becoming a parent – such a shock. 🙂
I can hear you’ve been on a journey with this already that you can say chaos is ok too. It’s amazing to hear how you see it in yourself and are thoughtful about it and I love that you are practicing letting go. I’ve learned to try to let go as quickly as possible if I realise I’m being controlling because I actually find that things go a whole lot better if I’m NOT in control of things. Apparently my opinion that I know best is a little faulty…
Thanks so much for sharing. It’s so reassuring to hear where other people are at with all of this stuff.
But what if I’m pissed off at MYSELF??
That’s such a deep and excellent question – and weirdly enough, I think this week’s new post answers it. Let me know if not?