Do you long for the freedom to just be who you are? To live without worries of rejection and judgment? Listen to what your relationship is telling you!
We all present to the world the parts of us that we like, don’t we? The parts that are good and compassionate, kind, generous, moral, ethical, conscientious, confident, etc. People that we see on a limited basis see what we want them to see and they like us. All is well . . . until we get into a close, intimate or romantic relationship with someone. When we spend more and more time with another person we naturally reveal more and it becomes harder and harder to prevent them from seeing what is called our ‘shadow side’.
Our shadow side contains the parts of us we try to keep hidden . . . lazy, manipulative, self-serving, oblivious, angry, critical, vindictive, lustful, self-loathing, shallow, secretive, etc. We keep them hidden so well that even we are barely conscious of these aspects of ourselves! Left to our own devices, our shadow side would never come into full view for us so that we can work to be a better person. In fact, I believe that it is only by having that shadow side reflected by the people closest to us that it is finally revealed to us. This is why we need relationships! We need to be able see a whole picture of ourselves, not just the crisp, shiny, all-together side that we want to believe we are.
If we are able to see what is shown to us, we can learn to accept these traits as part of us. If we have enough emotional maturity, then we can work to improve ourselves or learn to compensate in healthier ways. This allows us, eventually, to accept ourselves as a whole. When we accept ourselves as we are, but are willing to improve, that is when we can be authentic and real with everyone around us. That is how we become who we were meant to be! We are no longer afraid of intimacy because we know and understand ourselves just as we are and we embrace it. When we accept and love ourselves as the wonderful, fallible human beings that we are, there is nothing we are afraid of looking at within ourselves. We are set free from our shame and we no longer need to hide!
So our relationships are really doing us a favor by revealing the parts of us that we don’t want to admit to! They are actually giving us a gift of intimacy with the most important person we will ever have intimacy with – ourselves! It is, however, incredibly hard to filter out how much of what our partner is telling us is really their oversensitivity to something vs. what are the areas that we need to work on. I encourage you, however, to keep a humble spirit, focus on what is being revealed about you, and keep trying. It will come and it may just set you free!