Until now it was Prospi who wrote the more personal articles on this blog. I mainly did the recipes and reviews. Actually, I planned to write a review about one of two awesome new cookbooks in our bookshelf. But there’s another topic that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time and that suits the start into the New Year. This is why I want to open my heart a little and share my thoughts with you. The cookbook review will follow in the coming weeks, don’t worry. 😉 Today’s article is about how I deal with my shadows of perfectionism and self-doubt. The 5 tips also apply to other personal characteristics.
Shadow and light in personality
Lately, I have learnt about the theory of personal shadows, which was marked by Carl G. Jung. According to this theory, a shadow side belongs to each light side. If a person has positive properties, the opposing properties are also present. Often, they are unconscious or they are displaced and denied. However, it is very helpful to know one’s shadows. Only then, we can consciously deal with them. The shadow shows up as an obstacle in smaller and larger aspects of life. For example, it can make it more difficult to find a constructive solution to a conflict. Moreover, it can also be a decisive barrier in the realization of a life vision. It is particularly visible when we are confronted with challenges. However, the existence of shadows does not have to be disturbing. Instead, you can get a lot of positive outcomes, if you consciously deal with it.
The discovery of my own personal shadows
Of course, it is not an amazing realization for me to know that I have perfectionist features and sometimes doubt my abilities. But that my greatest shadow consists of perfectionism and self-doubt, is a fact I discovered a few weeks ago. These characteristics have manifested themselves in various ways in my life. I have already changed a lot to deal better with them. Nevertheless, they sometimes appear again. That is then expressed in a tingling sensation in the chest and constant thoughts, whether I and my performance are good enough. Maybe you know that.
5 tips to grow with the shadow
I would like to share with you my active approach to perfectionism and self-doubt. Obviously, there is a close relationship between these two characteristics. Whoever places too high demands on himself will inevitably doubt himself, since he can never reach them. Today’s world is strongly marked by perfectionism. I think that many people have a bit of it. Yet, it’s also possible that you belong to the happy people, who are self-confident enough to deal with errors and imperfection. In this case, I congratulate you and ask you to reveal your secret below in the comments ;). However, you can still continue reading, as you can also use the following tips for other shadows. My new year resolution is to focus even more on the following 5 points.
#1 See the positive
Each characteristic can be more or less helpful. This is also true for our shadows. We only consider it a negative characteristic, when it exists in excess. Self-doubt and perfectionism, in their weakened form, become constructive self-criticism, determination and discipline. I have to focus on this, so I can accept my shadow full of gratitude.
Perhaps your shadow is your laziness. In this case, you can appreciate that you are able to take breaks and rest. Sometimes a shadow also manifests itself in the form of an addiction. You may be drinking excessively, spending a lot of time consuming media and games, eating big amounts of food, spending a lot of money on buying unnecessary things, or having any another kind of addiction, when life seems too difficult. Even in these cases, you can opt for the more moderate and bright version of the behavior. You can be a wine or spirits lover who drinks his glass of wine every now and then. Or you can watch great movies at planned and limited times, in order to do something good for yourself. And so on. I think you understood the principle.
#2 Draw strength for the light side
As I said, shadow and light are closely related. In my case, this means that I can also handle my mistakes very confidently and believe in myself. It takes effort and does not succeed automatically, but the potential exists. By knowing how it feels to be striving for the unreal goal of perfection and being dissatisfied with the present performance, I can feel the opposite feeling all the more intensely. I can be completely satisfied with myself. Just as I am now. I can draw power out of the negative feelings to make things consciously with a lot of love and joy rather than stressed by perfectionism. I can show myself authentically as a person that is not perfect at all (what I am doing by writing this article).
In this context, I like to take the example of an Origami master. In my opinion, you are best suited to fold beautiful cranes and other Origami figures, if you tend to carelessness. If you know how it feels to tear a piece of paper, you can learn how to treat it carefully. If your shadow shows up in an outburst, you can deal with your fellow human beings more peacefully. You know that a peaceful way of dealing with each other is not self-evident and what is needed to realize it. This allows you to help other people deal with their aggressions. Our shadows make us experts on the light side.
#3 Believe in change
We can decide how our shadows influence our lives. Maybe they were helpful in the past. That is why we are unconsciously holding onto them. I can imagine that my perfectionism helped me, among other things, to withstand the performance-oriented education system and to protect me from the disappointment of a bad evaluation. Now I do not need it anymore. I know I can leave it behind me. It is possible that I stop to doubt myself in different areas of my life. An inspiring person who shows that change is possible is my friend Charlie. He has turned from the timid and anorexic teenager to the self-confident, authentic expert on personal development. Here is his touching video:
#4 Stop criticizing others
We often tend to criticize other people for the qualities we would like to have. If you are a very closed person, you find others too loud and self-centered, while you unconsciously envy them for their openness. If your shadow is stinginess, you might criticize that others are lavish with money. And it’s usually the particularly lazy pupils, who call the others geeks. I notice, for example, that I still find it difficult from time to time, when other people do not work reliably. I react to it with disappointment. Though I really try to be tolerant, I sometimes criticize it. It happens that I don’t even notice my criticism until someone points it out to me. Of course, I have this tendency, because I would like to be able to make mistakes, too. In my deep heart, I admire the people who can work confidently without the desire for perfectionism.
#5 Create an environment, in which shadows are accepted
Having shadows is not only okay but absolutely necessary and wonderful. Unfortunately, not all people can see this. That is why we hide our shadows and are therefore not capable of transforming them into something positive. I find it important that I surround myself with people to whom I can show all my self-doubt and deep insecurities without being condemned. I am incredibly grateful to these people in my life. Through their mirrors, in conversations, I became aware of what my shadows are. Thereby, I realized that the shadows don’t control me, but that I can handle them consciously. And through the unconditional love of these people, I have noticed that my shadow is not that bad. That I don’t have to hide it, as I said, is the prerequisite for constructively dealing with it. That’s why I recommend you to open up to people and groups of people where you feel there is enough trust. It’s easier with a bit of humor. 😉 It will help you to realize awesome things with your shadows!
If you are still reading at this point, I would like to thank you warmly for your attention.
I wish you a wonderful (and unperfect) new year, in which you can make your lights shine thanks to your shadows.