Shadow Work Session 41: 9 Of Cups

Ya know, after reviewing my previous shadow work, I think that I have somehow veered off in a different direction. I don’t think that what I am doing now is so much shadow work as it is self development through use of tarot. I don’t have an issue with that though. Either way, it is helping me to grow as a person and to better learn and appreciate myself. Who says I can’t go back and forth between shadow work and self development work? For the sake of my blogs organization, I think I will just keep it all lumped together under “shadow work diary.”

After all of the work that I have done this week, I feel like I am in a really strange place. I have spent so much time exploring the things that I allow to hold me back and make me unhappy. I have even explored ways to fix these things. However, all of this work has now brought me to a place where action is required. I know the problems, I know what I need to do about them, and now I just have to do it. This is always the hardest part for me. As I sit here thinking about all of the things that I need to set in motion, I am reminded that I still have a huge issue with trusting myself and my choices. I am always afraid to put my foot down or to make changes that I can’t take back because I am scared that I will regret it in the end. This is also a bit part of the reason why I avoid conflict. I worry that rocking the boat and speaking my mind will damage relationships beyond repair. No matter how many times I tell myself that any person worth having in my life would accept me even through disagreements, the fear and hesitation remains. I am afraid to put myself out there because I am scared that I am going to want to take it back but can’t. I know that I need to push through this and that all change will require some discomfort, but even knowing this I am still hesitant to move forward. At this moment, I feel like I have charted my course but have not yet set out on the journey. It feels like I have determined what I need to do, but I haven’t ACTUALLY done anything. I have built a bridge to the other side, but I don’t trust my work enough walk across.

For the sake of moving forward, today and tomorrow I will be researching some strategies that may help to push/guide me through the difficult parts of this process. I am going to begin with the thing that has been the hardest for me to overcome, my fear of confrontation and upsetting people. Because I will be getting my information and tips from other websites, I will include links to where I found my info.

I found an interesting list on Psychology Today that provides some strategies for overcoming fear of confrontation.

  • Admit that being a pushover is causing problems in your life – I have definitely already done this. I know for certain that a great deal of my problems come from accepting things I don’t want because I don’t want to upset anyone else or cause struggles in my relationships. This website says that you will never change your behavior unless you admit that your current ways of doing things isn’t really working for you. At least I am on the right path.
  • List what you mist gain by speaking up – A life that actually resembles ME, done! According to this website, this will help to provide motivation and incentive throughout the process.
  • Reconsider your assumptions about confrontation – Confrontation is healthy, but many of us have been taught to view it as bad. If we adjust the way we look at confrontation, it may change the way we feel about approaching it. Personally, I know that I was taught that it was bad to rock the boat. As I have mentioned in pervious posts, I was taught that I got the most love and attention when I was agreeable, and that when I said things that people didn’t like it would cause them to view and treat me differently. I was also taught to be mindful of other people’s feelings. This is a good thing, but not when you come to believe that to be a good person you must put protecting the feelings of others over protecting your own heart. I wish that I have been taught that it is okay to be who you are, and that the people who are meant to be in your life will show you unconditional love, respect, and attention. I am trying to teach myself this now, but it has been difficult. Every time I speak my mind and it upsets the person I am speaking to, I feel deep inside that I have done something wrong that I need to apologize for or fix. I feel that it is then my responsibility to quickly smooth things over and crawl back into my shell so that I can make the other person feel better again. The way I currently feel inside, confrontation and conflict equals dislike and incompatibility. Even though I know it to be true, something in me just won’t accept that people can disagree and still continue to love and respect one another. I have never been shown that this is true in my life. I have always felt judged by those that I disagree with, the two seem to go hand and hand. So how can I change the way I view confrontation in a more healthy way?
  1. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for ME. It is a way that I show unconditional love and respect to MYSELF by acknowledging and validating my own thoughts, feelings, and needs.
  2. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for ME because it allows me to give myself permission to hold equal space in my relationships and to exist freely. It helps me to stand firm in my worth.
  3. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for ME because it helps me to ensure that I am building a life that I actually want rather than living my life as a piece/pawn in someone else’s.
  4. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for ME because it allows me to be seen and known for who I really am instead of forcing me to wear a mask with everyone that I meet.
  5. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for ME backer it insures that the people allowed into my life are people who not only love and accept me unconditionally, but are people who are willing to grow by working on themselves and their relationships.
  6. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for my relationships because it draws problems into the light to be worked through instead of sweeping them under the rug.
  7. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for my relationships because it keeps the relationship honest and keeps all people involved from harboring resentments.
  8. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for my relationships because it insures that I am allowing myself to be truly known my the people in my life and vice versa.
  9. Confrontation is something GOOD that I do for my relationships because it keeps the relationship in a state of growth rather than stagnation.
  • Address one issue at a time – This one seems impossible, but maybe trying this out would really help me. In my relationship with my husband AND with others, I feel like there are so many issues that they could never be fixed. However, maybe if I could just focus on one at a time, the process would seem more manageable and less jarring to myself and others. This website says to start with smaller issues and “safe” people first to start making progress and building confidence.
  • Stick to “I” statements and stay calm – This one makes a LOT of sense to me. When I argue with Ross now, I usually start by saying something like, “I am upset because you…” to which he responds “Well, your the one who…” This makes me feel like I am not being heard. Additionally, using “you” statements makes the other person feel attacked and caused them to go into defense mode. This website says that one should focus on expressing their thoughts and feelings with “I” statements rather than being overly accusatory with “you” statements. Throughout the process you should stay calm, as people often struggle with difficult conversations. The person you are talking to may set you off by being accusatory towards you. If this happens, keep a calm voice and redirect the conversation. Maybe even express that you feel the conversation would go smoother if you both focus on “I” statements. Do not let your anger revel itself in a confrontation or else the discussion may quickly turn into a fight.
  • Practice

I reviewed a few more sites, but most of them provided the same list with different wording. However, I did find an interesting YouTube video that discussed the importance of controlling you emotions when confronting someone.

This video states that when we allow our emotions to drive us, we also allow them to dictate our confrontations. When our emotions take control, it dooms the confrontation before it even starts. These emotions can include fear, anger or sadness. We need to remember that WE control our emotions, not the other way around. Our emotions should not come first in a confrontation because we should control them. Our emotions are meant to serve and teach us, not control us.

I think that it may be helpful to do a lot of grounding work before going into a confrontation. Remind yourself that you are in control of your feelings. Remind yourself that because you are in control, you will not be triggered by the words and actions of others. Center and remain firm in who you are. Aline yourself with your truth so that you may stand firm in it without being easily swayed. Prepare for the confrontation, but do not allow your thoughts of what COULD happen spiral into feelings of fear, anger, and sadness. Ground in your truth! Remind yourself that you have POWER. You are not a victim! You can be okay without the other persons approval or acceptance. You can cope with whatever the outcome may be.

This video also goes into the inner child and it’s connection to fear of conflict. I have already gone into this so I won’t go into it again here. HOWEVER, if any of you are struggling with these same issues, I think that you should really give this video a watch. There is so much information to read, and I could dive into it all day, but I have to move onto other things. I think I have a lot of good information to work with. Tomorrow I will do a bit more research.

These shadow work posts are truly intended for my own self discovery and development, but I thank those of you who took the time to read this. For the remainder of the week, I plan to work on researching strategies that might help me to overcome some of the things that I am struggling with. I plan to move onto a new shadow aspect on Sunday.

Love Always, AnxiouslyM

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