Learning to accept parts of yourself that you don’t like can be difficult. The challenge that comes with increased self-awareness is that you come face to face with your shadow side; you know, the little devil that sits on your shoulder and whispers negative thoughts into your brain.
The thing to remember about that little devil is that he wants to be loved and accepted.
He wants the very thing he can’t get if he stays hidden in the shadows, whispering negative beliefs and thoughts into your brain.
Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to bring him into the light and show him a little TLC! You’ll be amazed at how much he can help you achieve your goals once he gets some attention and love.
Nothing can bring out our shadow sides faster than interactions with our spouses or significant others! Being that I have worked in the ballroom dance world for many years, I have plenty of examples!
Below, is the story of a lesson I taught many years ago, and it offers a great illustration of how self-acceptance plays a key role in goal attainment.
A ballroom dance couple with many years of training came in for a lesson. After a few minutes of talking with the couple, I noted two things.
1) The female partner, in a very hostile tone, expressed how dancing was her passion and the one thing that brought her joy. She was completely unaware of the incongruence between her tone of voice and her statement that dancing brought joy to her life.
2) She was dissatisfied with the progress of the couple’s dancing, because her husband could not lead her adequately.
I asked the couple to dance for a few minutes, so I could observe what was happening.
The real nature of the problem quickly became obvious. The problem did not lie in the inability of the partner to lead, but rather in the inability of the female to receive the lead.
When the male partner tried to lead her into a step, her physical body became rigid and immobile. Imagine yourself trying to lead a solid tree rooted in the ground, and you’ll have a good image of what was happening!
This interaction was creating a great deal of anger, frustration, and resentment from the wife. The man, interestingly enough was quiet, asking if there was anything he needed to do to improve his lead.
The irony was, the very thing she wanted was the very thing she was blocking herself from receiving.
As the lesson continued, I suggested to the women that she relax her arms and body in order to better feel the signal from her partner. To this suggestion, she immediately went into another discourse on how he “should” be better after all the time and money invested in the dancing. Again, she did not want to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for the problems within the dance partnership.
After a few minutes of listening, I suggested as long as she was invested in being angry about where he “should” be in his dancing, rather than accepting where they were as a couple, she would most likely continue to feel stuck and dissatisfied. I went on to express that if she desired to improve her dancing and feel passion and happiness, she would need to learn to accept herself and her partner at their current dance level.
To this, she raised a single eyebrow in acknowledgment of my comment, and then with a tip of the chin, listened to some of my suggestions. In that moment, she began accepting herself and her husband and started taking responsibility for her role in the partnership, verses just blaming her spouse.
She had a choice to make:
1) continue to be angry and blame her husband, or
2) start accepting responsibility for the problem and empower herself to rediscover the joy and passion she was missing in her dancing. To her credit, she chose the latter.
Are there places you are blaming another or an environment for something you don’t like in your life? Choosing to explore where we encounter frustration and anger is not comfortable or easy. However, if you decide to explore those emotions, you will uncover rich jewels that will free you to overcome blocks and move closer to achieving your goals.
One of my favorite quotes comes from, “A Course in Miracles”…
“Your task is not to seek for love but to find the barriers in yourself that you have built against it.”
Choose to see the barriers you encounter as gifts, not obstacles. You will gain so much from adopting this perspective.