Sometimes its a simple thing, beard clippings on the bathroom counter or not putting a tool back in the right place. Logically these simple things are nothing to get angry over and yet sometimes that is what happens. Other times it is a little more than one of those simple things. It could be misinterpreting an action or behavior to have a personal meaning directed right at you. An example of this could be someone forgetting to do a chore that was asked of them or even forgetting about plans that were made. No matter what it is, simple or not these things seem to be what we react to and what ultimately leads to conflict.
While reacting is inevitable, learning about how to interpret the reaction can mean the difference between a happy relationship and one filled with conflict. Most reactions come from the ego or shadow self. This shadow self manifests most of the time as one or more of the four voices it has. This shadow self uses these voices as a way to influence you emotionally and encourage you towards conflict and away from closeness. The four voices of the shadow are judgement, self importance, fear and self pity. Learning how to identify them and how to respond when they are attempting to influence you is called stalking. Stalking the voices, raises self awareness and if acted upon in a healthy way can increase personal responsibility and lead to greater happiness.
Let’s start with the voice of judgement. Stalking this voice means being willing to look at not only how the voice judges you internally but also how it judges others externally. Sometimes people say they are aware of the internal judge but would never judge others. The thing about the voices of the shadow self is that they are always equal internally and externally and when people say they don’t judge others, what is more likely true is that they are not aware of engaging in this kind of judgment consciously but it happens, with or without awareness. This points to something very important to recognize, which is the subconscious and how it is used by the shadow self. The subconscious part of our mind is simply where all experiences live in us in the form of programming. This is where our software has been downloaded and runs continuously until death. It is where the shadow self gets it’s ammunition to use when it is engaging in influence and manipulative tactics. We learn to judge through our experience of watching others judge. We observe dynamics and then as we grow up we repeat them because this is our programming and we cannot escape it for the most part. What we can do is learn about it through stalking the shadow and make conscious choices that differ from it. Doing this will not change the program, it will instead allow us to be in charge rather than the shadow self.
With all that in mind let us go back to the voice of judgment and examine how the shadow might use this against you. Many people say they have low self confidence or that they feel as if they are not good enough in some way. This is evidence that the voice of judgement is at work. This judge in your mind tells you these things, for example: “they will laugh at me, I’m not interesting enough, not smart enough, skinny enough, pretty or handsome enough, rich enough or strong enough and therefore not worthy of attention, respect and love from others.” Everyone experiences some form of at least some of these judgements from the shadow self. In order to begin the stalking process and reclaim the position of power over the shadow self, it is important to first recognize that you are not your shadow. This would be like saying that the software I downloaded into my computer, IS my computer. We have a shadow self just like we have arms and legs but it is not who we are. The shadow simply runs the programming and uses the language of the program to influence you emotionally and then behaviorally, restricting your freedom of choice and narrowing your view. Even though the program is running all the time the voice does not activate, or use it unless the individual is presented with a stimulus that triggers it to do so. I could be very peaceful and at one with nature and totally in the moment, then my phone receives a text and it is from a person that I react to. As soon as I look at the text the voice in my head will respond with a judgement either towards me or towards the person who sent the text. The voice of judgement has a powerful influence over all of us, stalking it and talking responsibility for how we react to it can reduce this influence.
Some of you, by now are interested in how to take the power back from the shadow self and reclaim it for yourself. Here are some simple first steps to get you started.
First identify the voice as separate from yourself, you can do this with your language. Instead of saying things like, “I always judge myself”, or “I told myself the other day that I am just not good enough.” These types of phrases can be replaced with, “The voice of the shadow tells me and the shadow always judges me.” This way it becomes a relationship dynamic of it’s own. It is very easy to fall into the shadow trap of fighting with the shadow after identifying it. Be careful of this because it is an easy way to create more suffering. So the task at hand here is to recognize and be curious of what it is up to while maintaining emotional freedom and not creating anger. This is easier said than done and simply requires practice. So starting off as simple as possible is sometimes the best approach. This would mean to just focus on awareness and what you can notice about the shadow voice, recognize it, what it is saying and take your time to simply notice how you respond to it’s influence. Creating awareness is a powerful step towards being in charge and no longer being lead around by the shadow voice. If you like, journaling your new awareness can be helpful.
…more to come soon Happy Stalking! With Gratitude, Shawn Reagan, LPC