The longer I am a trauma therapist, the more deeply I believe in accepting your Shadow. So much pain comes from wanting to not face reality. It’s like we will do anything to avoid guilt, shame, and pain. We push those things into Shadow and unconsciously act from that place when we can simply Be.

It may sound like I am speaking as if I am outside of that cycle, but I do it too. We all do. Just some of us do it more than others. Some of us do it more unconsciously than others.

The first step to healing the Shadow is to make it conscious. Accept that we all have a Shadow. It’s the part of us that we don’t want to see.

The second step is to choose truth over self deception. When we honor the Shadow, we heal its pain and move into wholeness.

All day long, I do some version of helping someone bring hidden feelings and words out of the unconscious and into the world. It can be reduced down to saying something like, ” ‘This’ happened, and I am still okay” or “I did/felt that, and I’m still okay.”

What powerful, healing words those are! When we know this in our bones, we are no longer imprisoned by our feelings, judgments, or past.

We are the only ones who can create separation from others or the whole. We are the only ones with the power to restore that relationship. It begins by honoring your Shadow.

All people are Light and Dark. All of us make mistakes. Imagine how freeing it could be if, when someone says, “You’re being judgmental” you could just say “Yes, that’s part of my nature” and not let it be the thing that shuts you down or turn a discussion into a fight.

Imagine what it would be like to respond to, “What’s wrong?” by speaking your truth. In other words, what would it be like to show up and live your honest and true life?

I imagine the Shadow would still be there saying, “No! Stay hidden! You can’t say that!” You can honor your Shadow and say, “I know you want to protect me, and I have the skills to do this. Thank you” and go on about your day.

This is NOT easy. You have to have support and skills, but it is something you can develop. Think of someone who lives this way. Is it Oprah? Iyanla? Your mom? Use him or her as a role model. And get there one courageous step at a time.