A couple of posts ago, I discussed how an Empath is often painted as the villain. Today, I want to discuss a similar subject but from another perspective: The Empath’s shadow side.
The shadow side may sound like something devious that drives a person to do dark and dastardly deeds; but it is mostly the source of great emotional pain, especially within an Empath.
What is an Empath’s Shadow Side?
Basically, a shadow side within an Empath is the same as within anyone else: it is the unresolved issues, emotional pain and insecurities, buried deep within, that can affect our behaviour and outlook on life. The side we don’t always know how to deal with.
I also mentioned in my last post how many Empaths are continually working on themselves to become healthier, happier and all-round better people. The shadow side, however, is often the last thing we want to address.
It is in the things that hurt us or that which we hide from where we will find our shadow.
Most of us have a side that we keep hidden from the rest of the world and even from ourselves. Hiding from our shadow side could be likened to wearing a mask, to conceal something that we consider either too ugly to be seen or too painful to be confronted.
The Japanese believe that everyone has three faces: The face we show the world, the face we show our family and close friends, and the face we show no one. It is our hidden face which is our truest reflection and hides our deepest discomforts. Wearing a mask, to conceal one’s shadow side, is the way many live and is often considered the norm.
Revealing the Cause
A good way to reveal the shadow is looking at what hurts you most. Is it rejection or not being accepted? Could it be people taking advantage of your kind nature? or perhaps not being able to connect with others? Whatever it is, you will generally find the origins of this hurt in your childhood.
Sensitive people are impacted their whole life by the inconsiderate or cruel behaviour of certain individuals from their childhood: The school bully, an angry teenage sibling, an unaware teacher, etc. If something cruel and uncalled for was said or done to you as a child, a seed was planted, creating the roots of the shadow to build.
Hiding from one’s truth may seem like a contradiction on the part of an Empath. Especially considering that most Empaths tend to detest inauthenticity. Wouldn’t hiding a part of ourselves be classed as living in an inauthentic way…? Yes and no.
There is a good reason an Empath may hide the truth of themselves from certain people, and it’s not always to get them to like us.
When we awaken as an Empath, a new way of life is gradually revealed. Not only do we come to embrace and appreciate our unusual traits – traits that set us apart from others – but we start experiencing more synchronicities, we develop greater intuition and discover a new outlook. Everything we have experienced when around people, emotionally and physically, finally makes sense. We understand our need for time alone, why we feel crazy energy when in busy places, and why we experience overpowering emotions when with certain persons. We also come to understand the deeper layers of human nature.
Once awake, we see that most people only see things from their own perspective. The majority don’t have the ability to see the world in 3D, like many Empaths do, and therefore cannot get on board with our way of thinking or relate to the experiences we endure. Because of this awareness, we become vigilant of protecting our space and are hesitant of opening up… We also don’t like burdening others with our troubles.
One thing the ‘Empath Awakening’ doesn’t do is take away our woes. In some cases, we become more sensitive and feel emotions more intensely. We thus hide from our shadow side to protect ourselves from experiencing more pain.
The truth is, avoidance just prolongs the discomfort.
Humans are hardwired into avoiding pain. It is a form of self-protection. ‘Escapism of feeling’ is often done through suppressants such as food, alcohol or drugs, etc.
This never works.
Suppressants just numb or mask the pain for a while. They act like a distraction; taking our attention away from that which needs addressing.
Some believe that by confronting their shadow-side it will cause too much heartache; hoping that avoidance will offer the ‘easier ride’. Which is understandable.
Sadly, when we choose the ‘easy route’ in life, it rarely turns out to be the comfortable journey we wanted, especially when we are avoiding doing something we know we should do.
One of the simplest ways to face the shadow side is by admitting to our insecurities, or that which hurts us.
Admitting that we have been hurt by our past and that we are ready to let it go brings the pain out of the shadows. When facing our ‘inner-demons’, we work to take away their power.
That said, it is not always possible to remove all the buried pain of the shadow side. Some pain is hardwired and is part of us for a reason. It shapes us in many ways; allowing us to empathize at a deeper level.
When we accept that ‘emotional pain’ has a purpose on this journey and is not just some unfair burden that we were unfortunate enough to be saddled with, it can lessen the impact.
Calming the Shadow
Another aspect of working towards balance is to avoid anything which unnecessarily activates ingrained mood-memories created by the shadow.
Mood-memories are the go-to moods, initially activated by the pain body, that we hang out in when feeling low or when in a dark mental space. I find two of the biggest triggers being diet and people (and hormone fluctuations).
By eating foods that influence the hormones in a negative way, it not only lowers our vibration and slows us down, it also impacts moods. This has bearings on wellbeing and initiates dark emotions to be roused or remembered. Wheat and sugar being two of the biggies (read more here). Meat also plays its part with many Empaths (this post explains more).
Uncovering food triggers is an essential part of preventing activation of mood memory.
The type of people who become pain prompters for an Empath are those who hide their truth and pretend to be something they’re not. Basically, anyone who lives a big lie. Not just by lying to themselves, in hiding from their pain, but lying in their words, actions and energy. Those who hurt others with their disregard and those who hide their shadow behind their ego can act like triggers (read more here).
Just by spending too much time in the presence of anyone who carries the above traits could activate mood-memories.
Face the Pain
Facing hidden emotional pain frees us from living in its shadow.
Self-confrontation may seem like a scary option, but it is one of the best ways to release the emotional shackles of the shadow. If we have hidden insecurities, we continue to suffer, and we continue to draw to us those who play on these weaknesses (law of attraction).
The shadow side offers incredible lessons and serves us in many ways; but until we face it or at least admit to it, our actions and emotions are determined by its sway rather than by our conscious choice.
I will be discussing this subject from another perspective in my next post, so be sure to look out for it.
Until next time