How to stop living in the shadows

How to stop living in the shadowsDenying your own existence

I’m not fully owning what I do. I don’t think I’m alone. 

I either down play what I do, “jokingly” use self depreciation or deflect attention away from myself.  What I claim to love and do does dominate my mind and energy, but I feel I need to continually down play it to others and operate in the shadows of their presence.  

Why?  Good question.

I’ve not lived a very traditional life by the standards of where I am from, and frankly I’ve felt bad about it.  Perhaps not bad, but definitely like a misfit, and out of place and sadly, at most times like a failure. 

I feel that what I do and have done is better kept quite because it is not the norm.  I let others take over the conversation about shit that I don’t care about.  But then pretend that it is the most fascinating thing ever.  I prod people with questions so they can’t ask me.  I put them in the spot light and recede into the shadows.  Worse yet, I let them keep me in the shadows. 

Whose norms?

I’ve been thinking a lot about not only what I think my norms are but also how I act in response to what I think my life should look like.

I’ve let so many other definitions of what a quality life should be that I’ve ignored the fundamental question of “What is my norm?” 

And I think it goes further.  My speech, actions and mindset put what others are doing on a higher or more acceptable plane.  I’ve gone to bed down, woken up to go to the bathroom with sense of “wtf” about my life, and when my eyes open in the morning, despite looking forward to what it is that I do, still degrade it. 

Like I said, I don’t own it.  I might as well of fallen in love with a beautiful women but never go out in public with her.  Or get married but refuse to wear the ring. 

Into it

So, the challenge to myself and you the reader, is to own it.  To say fuck it to what others tell us the norm is.  To really put both feet into what we are doing because nothing great ever happened with somebody working 50% at it.  Let’s face it, most great things require more than 100%.  So if we are not willing to really bleed for what it is that we want to do, then why do it?

I’ve been tired of myself.  I’ve been tired of not stepping out of the shadows and into the light.  You can’t take a bath with just one leg in the water and then claim you are clean.  Likewise, in the situations that I claim to be “into” in my life, I generally have a backup plan.  And that energy and effort of coming up with ways out, just pushes me back into the darkness. 

How to step out

The good news is that the light is always there.  And the amount of shadow that we let cover us is entirely our own decision.  And we control it with what we say, how we think and how we interact with people.  

When I realize that I am playing it safe (let’s rephrase that to dishonestly), I start to work with the following questions:

  1. What is an area of my life that I love but I downplay to either myself and/or others?
  2. I ask the hard questions to myself or with the help of a quality listener as to why?
  3. I start to monitor the words, thoughts and emotions I use around it when sharing it with others?
  4. In conversations or interactions with those that I let take over or push me into the shadows, I start to be selfish.  I unapologetically share my passion or choices  I actually view it more of educating them. 
  5. I’m honest with others when I don’t have a clear cut answer or description.  What I do and love doesn’t need to fit into a nice neat package or box.  Nor do I need to bare my soul.  But I don’t have to cover it up either.   

Our shadow is just that.  Ours.  Self deprecation, pretending it is less than it really is or giving others more importance casts a longer, darker shadow.  Like I said, the light is always there and stepping out of the dark is our move.  Nobody else’s


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