They keep us sick.
"We live under the impression that in order for something to be divine it has to be perfect. We are mistaken. In fact, the exact opposite is true. To be divine is to be whole and to be whole is to be everything: the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, the holy man and the devil. When we take the time to discover our shadow and its gifts we will understand what Jung meant by, "The gold is in the dark." Each of us needs to find that gold in order to reunite with our sacred self."
~ The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford
Recently I've been engaged in the work of deepening my authentic self. A big part of that has been owning the parts of me I don't like, I want to hide, and I tend to judge in others.
How do I know where these parts are hiding? They're hiding in my triggers. Every time I'm triggered, a disowned part of me says "Hi, I'm here."
We hate being triggered. We also don't feel good when we judge others. And yet we feel the need to judge. It's almost as if we need to judge others in order to feel better about ourselves.
Here's what we say when we're triggered or judge others:
- "Thank god, I'm not like that."
- "I would never do that."
- "I can't imagine how she can treat someone like that. It's SO wrong."
Everything that triggers us and everything we judge in others is also present within us. Others are simply holding up a mirror to what we don't see/want to see in ourselves. I'm not saying that if we judge a murderer, we're a murderer too. But if we had the same brain chemistry and were raised in similar circumstances, we could activate that aspect in ourselves.
Our triggers are treasures. They lead us to our gold.
Here's a simple example from my life. I sometimes judge my husband as "insensitive" because he speaks his mind about what's going on and doesn't care to "pretty up" his words. When I judge him so, I often think of myself as the sensitive one who would never say it quite like that.
Recently my towel stand in the bathroom fell to the floor. My husband took the time on a Saturday morning to fix it back. It was a relief, a convenience I'd missed.
I saw it fixed when I went in for a shower, thought to myself "How nice of him!" and then forgot all about it. I forgot to appreciate him, thank him, and validate his effort.
To me, that is sheer insensitivity.
It was an eye-opening realization. I can be insensitive. But I like to think of myself as sensitive. So I hide the parts of me that can be insensitive and prefer to judge it in him. You see how this works?
My current spiritual practice is to notice when I'm judging someone, or being triggered by someone. It is to say: I am that, too. I am critical. I am selfish. I am insensitive.
The only reason I'm being triggered by someone is this: the universe is trying to get my attention. It's trying to tell me: This aspect lives in you as well. Own it. Don't bury it in the shadow.
When we can own all the parts of us we don't like, we can be free. It's the ultimate liberation. Nothing will trigger us anymore. There will still be evil acts in the world. The difference will be in how we respond.
We can be a witness and observe, without it causing an emotional charge within us.
Nowhere are we more triggered than in a long-term marriage/partnership where we are walking a soul path BUT our intimate partner doesn't "get it", validate it, or understand it.
It can be really challenging. You wonder: Do I stay? Do I leave? If I choose to stay, how do I navigate this relationship?
I recently wrapped up my small-group program SACRED SOUL UNION where my participants and I unpacked all of these dilemmas.
The next round begins in August. If you'd like to know more when registration opens in July, join the waitlist.
Big love to you!