Our Shadow Selves

The shadow can take over. The parts of us that are repressed and do not have an outlet for expression. A way to protect us from something perceived as harmful. These parts of us persist if they are not accepted.

We have many shadows and in times of stress and uncertainty, these shadows scream. One of my shadows is my relationship with food. It has often been a “saviour” and a quick fix, “feel good” pleasure that has distracted me from pain, volatility and fear.

As a child, I went to food as a way to find refuge when my parents were violent with each other or with me. I found solace in food, cartoons and the fantasy of “getting away”. I looked up to heroes and imagined myself in their places. This quickly became a habit and food also became my hero. Hiding away from the loudness under my bed eating.

Being overweight further isolated me and further pulled me towards food as a reliable companion. Our ego will often pursue what it is familiar and justify this pursuit (albeit potentially excessive and unhealthy). I struggled to find reliable support as a child and food became my support.

Because I felt bad and wanted to feel good I’d overeat to compensate. As an adult, I was aware of this reliance and made MANY changes in my life around wellness and fitness. I experimented, yet still had a shadow relationship with food, pornography, sex and distraction. I would still binge.

I have evolved my relationship with food, sex and other compulsions over the years and have noticed the past few days how I have unconsciously gravitated towards eating more, thinking more about food and wanting “junk food”. In times of uncertainty, our shadow comes out. In the past, I would binge, shame myself and my self-talk would be harsh. It’s HOW we consistently interact with our shadows that define who we become.

Now I observe and make conscious choices that are aligned with my greatest health. There is still remanence of an older self coming through, now my self-talk is compassionate, witnessing and more aware. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed when there is so much unknown. I give these parts of me permission to feel and voice.

What shadow is arising for you and how can you be kinder to yourself? 

One is glad to be of service.

STEFANOS SIFANDOS

Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author

STEFANOS SIFANDOS

Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author

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