As you’ve undoubt­edly discov­ered over the past few weeks, these arti­cles have brought up some stuff for you. You may have been quite “trig­gered” by my words and have select words you’d thought about me or what I’ve said. Perhaps they involve some with four-letters.

Good. It’s by design.

Triggers are a bless­ing because they instantly high­light trauma or suffer­ing. This aware­ness helps us recog­nize when we are react­ing from fear or past hurt instead of respond­ing appro­pri­ately to the current situ­a­tion. The trig­gers show us we have a distorted view of real­ity.

This is impor­tant to your success because as your busi­ness grows, you will need to grow. As you expand, you press up against your limi­ta­tions like a balloon inflat­ing inside a jar. You can either stay confined by the jar out of fear and comfort, or face the moment of discom­fort and expand past life­times of constraint.

These are oppor­tu­ni­ties in disguise that happen dozens of times… a day! So let’s dive right into some of the most trig­ger­ing things you’ll read.

Have you ever…

  • Felt guilty for asking for a lot of money for your services?
  • Wanted to speak but the fear of embar­rass­ment and anxi­ety was over­whelm­ing you didn’t?
  • Created an entire story of how the other person doesn’t like you and how unlov­able you are just because they didn’t respond within a certain time… only to real­ize none of it was true?
  • Been read­ing a blog and were infu­ri­ated about how wrong this person was, and how you just had to prove they were full of it or talk trash on social?
  • Been offended and threw a hissy about some­thing totally mean­ing­less?
  • Thought an absolutely horri­ble thing about some­body and felt like you were just an awful person because “who thinks that way?”
  • Stolen some­thing and not felt guilty for it?
  • Noticed a secret part of your­self that enjoyed hurt­ing some­body and became afraid of the part of you that can harm, destroy, or even kill?
  • Been uncom­fort­able with compli­ments or receiv­ing love in general?

I have. Some of them scare the hell out of me, and quite a few I’ve been in denial of because “what kind of person would that make me?”

This series is slyly really about shin­ing light on aspects of your­self that you choose to ignore or simply weren’t aware of. The parts of you that you think are wrong, flawed, broken, scary, useless, or bad. The dark, evil, self­ish, destruc­tive, hurt­ful things you secretly know you’re capa­ble of. The “sinful” thoughts, judge­ments, limi­ta­tions, and views you hold.

Our culture’s handling of the “dark stuff” is very imma­ture and under­de­vel­oped. We are taught to suppress others’ behav­iors that make us uncom­fort­able and repress our own. We are taught comfort and being nice is more impor­tant than telling the truth and address­ing the issue.

Most trau­matic, is that we are told that our shadow mate­r­ial is “wrong”. That it’s bad we have thoughts of killing, raping, attack­ing, judg­ing, steal­ing, hurt­ing, seduc­ing, forni­cat­ing, etc. That we’re bad people if we’re self­ish, greedy, promis­cu­ous, deviant, noncon­form­ing, disobe­di­ent, sexual, afflu­ent, sell­ing, indulging, disrup­tive, child­ish, or lazy.

That we should not be these things or ever have these thoughts, and if we do, we should be ashamed of ourselves for being such bad people… even if we’d never act them out.

But if we do, there will be conse­quences. It’s impor­tant to have values, ethics, and a moral compass guid­ing you. But that’s differ­ent than fear, condem­na­tion, and denial of what’s real sham­ing you in line.

We inher­ently want to do the right thing… what­ever that means to each of us person­ally. Yet as chil­dren, we soon real­ize we natu­rally want to do things we are told are “bad”—and this terri­fies us. It confuses us, and results in distrust for our nature and spon­ta­neous impulses of expres­sion and desire. Innocently, we decide to hide all of these things we think are bad and unlov­able. The world—and most impor­tantly ourselves—can’t know the secret truth.

The “secret truth” that we have fallen from grace, and are broken, flawed, disgust­ing, unwor­thy, unlov­able, sinful, and evil.

So we shove it down to the dark­est, deep­est dungeon of our psyche, lock the door, and forget we have the key. Then it runs us; whis­per­ing below percep­tion as a destruc­tive guid­ing force of distor­tion and suffer­ing.

This is our shadow.

And it’s absolutely lovable. It contains some of the best parts about us.

We don’t suffer because we have a shadow—we suffer because we think we shouldn’t have one. We go to heal­ers, ther­a­pists, coaches, and gurus to elim­i­nate it. We are in a war with ourselves, and inno­cence, peace, self-love, and func­tion­al­ity is its collat­eral damage. The very things we think we’ll get if we conquer the “worst” parts of us.

You can trust a liar who knows he’s a liar more than one who’s in denial of it. It’s safer to be with some­one who knows they’re capa­ble of killing and chooses not to, than some­body who denies that and acts like they’re only benev­o­lent love and light.

It may sound like a weird para­dox.

We are danger­ous when we are out of rela­tion­ship with these aspects. When the “dark” qual­i­ties are deprived, denied, and under­de­vel­oped, they stay imma­ture and lack the wisdom of expe­ri­ence that brings appro­pri­ate­ness of context and proper value. However, if left to their natural course, they tend to inte­grate safely and usefully rather than get stunted and distorted.

I have been taking martial arts the past few years for this very reason. I was out of rela­tion­ship with my “killer”, which meant that I didn’t have access to my “protec­tor”. Every qual­ity has its creative and destruc­tive capa­bil­i­ties, as all coins have heads and tails. (Remember, these are arche­types we’re talk­ing about).

Not feel­ing able to protect women, chil­dren, and my loved ones in the chances some­thing happened made me feel emas­cu­lated, weak, and inse­cure. That was my story, and true or not, I knew I needed to go into what I was avoid­ing and uncom­fort­able with.

Guess what? I have yet to kill anyone or get into a fight. It In fact, from what I’ve learned, the best use is to never have to use any of it. All that train­ing to never have to use it. It’s having the sword in the sheath—not parad­ing it around, not thrown away, but by your side avail­able if needed.

It’s the oppo­site of what we think.

We may think going into the self­ish­ness and feel­ing it will make us Scrooge. We may think feel­ing our sadness will mean that we’re weak. We may think going into the lone­li­ness will cement our place as losers. But it ends up show­ing us how to meet our needs. We end up discov­er­ing our real strength. We end up seeing how we’re connected to every­thing.

Falling in love with your shadow does not mean you condone destruc­tive, evil, harm­ful behav­ior.

Falling in love with your shadow means you see the greater Truth. That you can’t mess it up. That, who you really are, is sinless. That as hard as you try to keep love away, there’s noth­ing you can do to be truly unlov­able. That all of those things that you thought people made fun of you for, may actu­ally hold your most wonder­ful qual­i­ties.

What’s hiding in your shadow is not what you think…

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