I’ve been considering this week the parts of myself that I don’t like. The things I’m ashamed of. Not the things I’ve done, but the things that I am. The ugly parts of my personality that I try to keep hidden from others that cast a shadow on the best parts of myself; the things of the light I push forward in vain hope that the shadowed things will fall away…
These ‘ugly’ parts are often more prominent in my life when exacerbated by certain circumstances, or individuals, or my own errors. For example, there are some people we meet that simply grate on us, no? Sometimes there’s a clash in personality, sometimes they have said something to upset us; other times they may remind us of someone else we once knew who we did not have a good relationship with. These people we avoid because they make us feel uncomfortable, they annoy us, they cause us frustrations. Essentially, they highlight the ‘ugly’ parts of ourselves we would rather forget are there…
These types of people or situations are actually some of our biggest blessings in life, annoyingly. If we allow them to, and we allow ourselves to stay with them, they can show us the things in our lives that are largely unrefined. Of course, we always want to be patient and understanding…and it’s easy to be patient and understanding when the people we are in relationship with make it easy for us, or life is going great for us! But the people who are hard to be patient and understanding with, or the situations which cause us stress and difficulty – these are the things that break us and, through the cracks, they shed light on these ‘ugly’ parts that we try so hard to hide.
These causes of frustration are only highlighting the unhealed parts of ourselves. They push on a sore spot in our hearts. They are allowing the repressed pain to surface or, perhaps, other repressed negative emotions that are deeply rooted within us. I believe that anger is particularly insightful, if we allow it to be, as it’s the first glimpse of a deeper emotion that we avoid connecting with. We don’t connect with this deeper emotion (whether it be sadness or pain or something else) because it makes us feel vulnerable, exposed, and causes us to remember our lack of perfection. We then avoid certain circumstances, or certain individuals, or avoid taking risks because the discomfort it can bring is a reflection of the hurt we hold within ourselves.
But, if all we choose to do are things that are safe, things that are comfortable, and people who are easy to be around, we only allow ourselves to live a half life. Without the challenge of discomfort, and anger; without the revelation of impatience or unkindness or bitchyness, we fail to feel the full spectrum of our emotions, live in tune with ourselves entirely, and evolve into who we may potentially be. You see, our repressed anger leads us to the pain; the pain leads us to the trauma; the trauma leads us to the healing; and the healing leads us to our passions in life.
We truly need to sit with these emotions when they arise in order to dig deeper to the root. The only way we will know the root is to be in uncomfortable situations, being with individuals who challenge us, or pushing ourselves beyond what we think we can do. Our discomfort is the map we need to explore the most shadowed parts of our soul…
In Yoga this week, we completed some Yin Yoga moves. They focussed on the hips and my teacher explained that the Yin was perceived as feminine, as lunar, and as emotional. The hips are perceived as holding a lot of physical emotion so, when we move these parts in Yoga, it is not only releasing the physical tension but the emotional tension, too. My teacher went onto add that people often cried during Yin Yoga, despite them not understanding why they did so, because they were releasing these emotions through this focussed movement of the hips.
Yin and Yang, she further explained, was a representation of life. There is light and dark, hot and cold, feminine and masculine; the dark and light spots held within each opposite half of the symbol was to represent that there is some dark in the light and some light in the dark. Together, they are balanced and in harmony.
Life isn’t about being perfect. You are not perfect. You never will be perfect.
Instead, you are a child of the world which changes and moves daily; you are a human being having a human experience which comes to both good and bad parts, good and bad days, good and bad plans, and so on and so on…
Each are in balance, in harmony, dancing together through this whirlwind.
Let that person annoy you. Move beyond your comfort zone. Take a risk.
Feel the discomfort in your very bones and, when you’re ready, choose to move deeper into yourself and find out what it all means for you. Then, use it as a catalyst to heal, develop, and grow.
It’s not about becoming perfect, it’s simply about healing. And healing yourself is the most nurturing, loving, and caring thing you can do for you.
And now you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.
~ John Steinbeck