Me…and my Shadow!
Last week I did the second series of classes with CTI (The Coach Training Institute) in Chicago. The most profound take-away from the weekend was in recognizing a disempowering habit. It is the habit of referring to me, as “you”, in the third person. (In my defense, all 24 students were repeatedly corrected by our instructors for this same habit.)
Who is the “you” in which I refer?
I have named this “you” My Shadow.
My Shadow is the ”you” which is me; it is a way of speaking using the word “you” in place of “I” – something that was before totally unconscious to me. Throughout this past week I have noticed when I slip into illeist language and I ask myself; what do I get out of referring to me as you? My introspection has revealed a number of fundamentals:
- It is an avoidance method. I am not taking ownership of my feelings – my feelings are out there as part of the collective “you”.
- It’s also a way of shying away from something I consider a weakness – I’m not really feeling physical pain from my workout, “you” are.
- I believe there is an inclusiveness about using the word “you”, which assumes a tone of solidarity; I am sharing the burden of the feeling.
- It also presumes a common experience which, in my mind, builds a relationship. You know how it is…
If I take a moment to close my eyes, put my hand on my heart, and ask myself, “What am I feeling”? My heart responds with, “humbled”. I now see arrogance in my presumption that others share my sensations or experiences. I also recognize cowardice in creating an enabler, My Shadow, which affords me the permit to thwart my burdens and build a wall between me and my feelings.
If, from a place of courage and humility, I ask myself again, what is the payoff? Well…the bottom line is, I feel less vulnerable.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. –Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy, the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. — Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brene’ Brown, The Power of Vulnerability on Ted.com
So…In the moment, when I become aware of the “you”, I will banish my shadow by speaking the” I”; in doing this, I am rewiring my brain and taking ownership of my feelings so that I may live powerfully. Masking my true self is not living with intention; it doesn’t jive with the path I have chosen, the path of living an authentic life.
The journey of self-reflection I have chosen takes diligence, but is liberating. Thank you for walking this path with me!
- Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability and shame (davemsw.com)
- The Courage to Dare Greatly (mindbodyspiritacademy.org)