Have you ever found yourself doing or saying something that simply confounds you and you wonder “where did that come from?” Have you ever been with a friend or family member when they acted out of character and left you completely baffled?
The Shadow Self
I have found this can happen to all of us especially when we are under stress or deep in thought and not paying attention in the present moment. What is appearing is a part of our psyche called our “shadow self” – the characteristics we all possess but are not our standard way of expressing. For instance a brilliant scientist may have moment of utter stupidity or a sweet docile woman might have moments of rage. So even though we may abhor certain kinds of behavior (dictator, murderer, and stinginess) we all are capable given the right set of circumstances to display these behaviors. Coming to terms with our “all-ness” is the key to self-love empowerment. When we own all that we are, instead of dis-own parts of our selves, we become whole and can remain more conscious and in command of our choices in the moment.
If you find this topic just too difficult to swallow let me give you a lighter example of what can happen to show us we have a hidden shadow self.
Sometimes when we are out of our “element” so to speak and our world feels to be spinning by too fast for us to catch our breath, we can find ourselves acting oddly even, downright opposite to our usually mode of behavior. If our environments are too distracting, or we don’t get enough sleep or we simply have too much going on at once we can get into some crazy business. And guess what? The crazy event we “accidently” create ends up setting us back on track. It is a kind of emotional/social pain that wakes us up to the whirling dervish we have gotten caught up in and we stop, pause, take stock and reboot.
I have two short stories to share about this (I hope my kids will forgive me):
My daughter is brilliant! She is detail oriented, clever and quick, yet on a surprise trip to San Diego one Mother’s Day weekend she actually got us lost. We had traveled to this same area of San Diego at least a dozen times and have the area memorized but this trip we were going to a section we were not used to. She did her due diligence and Map Quested the route to the new hotel but for some crazy unknown reason (too much going on at once is my theory) she decided to shorten the directions and eliminate the middle 6 steps. So we got lost. When I asked her how in the world we could have done this she said “Oh I skipped those steps because I thought it was just Map Quest taking the long way around.” We laugh about that to this day because it was so out of character for her.
The next story is about my son. His sister had taken her brother and best friend to the opening of a long awaited blockbuster movie and to say they were excited is a major understatement. The two boys were in their seats busy visiting while waiting for the movie to begin when my daughter asked them to watch her purse while she used the restroom. Her brother said “okay.” A few minutes later a couple came up to see if the seats were saved because a purse was sitting in them. And my son says “One seat is for my sister but I don’t know who’s purse that is” so the couple take the purse to the Lost and Found (luckily). When my daughter got back from the restroom she asked where her purse was and …yep you guessed it!! He will never live this event down in her eyes.
We can laugh about this odd behavior now and even in the moment is seemed funny yet it also is a puzzlement that causes us to stop and slow down and pay better attention.
Do you have any (now funny) stories of odd behavior you did or witnessed? We are all delightfully human after all.
‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©