Letting Go of That Which No Longer Serves
One of the biggest hurdles I have faced in my life is a craving for validation. As it turns out, the planets were aligned in just the right way when I was born to make this need to be liked a condition of my being. My early life experiences cemented the need for validation with a set of ‘rules for life’ that my toddler brain concocted.
I mean, everyone wants to be liked….but I am crazy insane about it. So how do I transform this predisposition so that I can be happy whether or not other people validate me?
Step 1: Face the shadow.
The first step in transforming, and eventually eliminating, a shadow is to face it. Do not run away from the shadow or stick your head in the sand and hope it will go away (it won’t). Be curious about it. Ask it questions like “why are you here?” and “what do you want?”. Where do you feel this shadow in your body? What physical sensations does it cause and where? What emotion would you assign to it? What’s your earliest memory of feeling this way? What words are being uttered under the surface about this shadow?
Take the example of my need for validation. As you can imagine, writing this blog is a tightrope act for a person with a strong need for validation. My shadow tells me that if people don’t read or click “Like” that maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe I’m not on the right path, maybe I am full of …well, you know. However, I have spent a great deal of time understanding the origin of this shadow, and it has nothing to do with this blog, or its readers. It has everything to do with ‘truths’ constructed in early childhood as a result of some traumatic experiences. It has to do with a feeling that it is not safe to be me.
Step 2: Have Compassion.
Have compassion for your shadow. If you had a friend who was feeling the way you did when you faced your shadow, what would you tell her? Treat yourself like this friend. Never punish yourself for confronting whatever you find in your shadow. It’s part of your history, your story. Have compassion for it.
Step 3: Dig for Gold.
There’s gold in them thar hills. Find it. In my case, my lifelong need for validation has given me the gift of understanding and compassion of others. You see, when you’re busy trying to get everyone’s approval, you learn a lot about the struggles others’ face and how they think and what they feel. It also gave me some awesome energy sensing abilities…I had to use my intuitive muscles quite a bit to predict when trouble might be coming; now I have a gift I can use towards the practice of shamanistic healing. And lastly, the struggle to overcome this insatiable desire has also given me gold—lots of tools for pulling myself out of the quicksand when I find myself sinking into it.
Step 4: Release.
There’s lots of ways to energetically release, but I prefer fire and air. My current method of release is to capture in my body the emotions of my shadow, or the experience of my shadow, with visualization or meditation. Then I blow that emotion/experience into a piece of paper on which I have written a key phrase having to do with my shadow. For example, “The need to be liked.” Lastly, I burn it and give it to Spirit.
I have burned the validation shadow too many times to count. It’s like the monster in the movies that you think is dead; you circle around it cautiously, confirming, and just as you are about to turn away it grabs your ankle! Each time this shadow resurfaces and I release it, though, it has a little less power, and I make room for other possibilities. I also get braver about confronting it…aka today’s blog. Yay me!
I wish you fearless shadow stalking, and uplifting fire releases. I’m walking on fire tomorrow night….can’t wait to feel that fire energy fill me up!