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The parts we hide from only assert themselves more powerfully

31 Mar 2024

If a belief is held that I’m any particular way, there’s an avoidance of parts that don’t match that belief.

That’s where the shadow hides.

When I told myself I was a good person, when I told myself I was worthy of love, when I told myself I was attractive, when I told myself I was smart and capable, the idea that I might not be any of these was uncomfortable.

Beneath those were more beliefs that I was broken, unlovable, or unworthy. Although uncomfortable to hold on to, they couldn’t be addressed. They were buried, hidden by the surface belief that I was good.

Underlying each of these beliefs was doubt, but also a fear of looking at the truth. What if I discovered that they weren’t true? What could I hold on to? The beliefs alone gave a sort of comfort, albeit a false one that was never really satisfying. It seems easier just to cover up uncomfortable beliefs with more palatable beliefs.

Falling into the possibility that I might not be good, might not be worthy, might not be that smart, good looking or healthy allowed seeing the deeper beliefs. Letting go of beliefs led to a place where those concepts no longer apply. Where there are no beliefs. Where there are no polarities. Where good and bad, worthy and unworthy have no meaning. To a place where it’s ok to be the messy, imperfect person that I am.

From that place, I could face the reality of what I was, without trying to desperately grasp on to something for comfort. The reality that I’m a complicated human being with parts that felt like they didn’t belong meant that those parts could be appreciated and addressed without fear or labels.

Looking back on the time before becoming aware of those parts, I had instead hoped that the world would make them go away for me. If I just became wealthy, or met the right partner, or found my creative edge, or lived in the right home, or accumulated the right knowledge… then I would find my natural state. It didn’t work. Those parts I was hiding from asserted themselves in every relationship, at work, and through procrastination and creative blockages. They affected my behaviour in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Those parts wanted to be seen and appreciated as they were, and they wouldn’t stop until they were.

Instead I demanded that the world change so I wouldn’t have to let go of my beliefs. Crazy when I look back on it.

There are still many parts hiding, and perhaps I’ll spend the rest of my life discovering them. But now there’s a light curiosity about them and an unwillingness to cling on to any belief about how I am. Positive, negative, or neutral, it doesn’t matter. Each of them are just thoughts and don’t represent reality. Each belief falling away feels like a little more freedom, a little less burden, and something closer to how I really am.

To address a problem we first have to see it clearly, and that won’t happen while a belief doesn’t want to.

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Jordan West

Sydney, Australia

jordan [at] west.io | twitter | github | youtube | instagram