Switching Off the Negative

lightswitch (1)

I first encountered my shadow late at night. It was shortly after my separation when I was at my most vulnerable, the best time for sinister shadows to slither out from their shady corners. It attached itself to me and from then on, followed me everywhere. It tried to drag me back down into the darkness by creating fear. The fear that I am not enough. That I am not lovable. That I am 40 and alone.

My shadow played an endless loop of negative, self-defeating and sometimes self-destructive thoughts in my head. It became a dangerously addictive soundtrack and that fear only perpetuated my anger. Sure, resentment and blame made me feel better, at least temporarily, as I rehashed my sob story (“I don’t deserve this. This is so unfair.”). But playing the victim and dredging up the misery of past events only fed into the fear; and my shadow loved every minute of it.

My shadow’s name? Ego.

“When you recognize that negative voice in your head as the ego, you also become aware that you are not that voice,” explains Mary Holloway, a speaker, writer and resilience coach. “You become aware that you have a higher self; and the higher self and the ego (lower self) cannot co-exist.”

Holloway says if the ego is the shadow, think of the higher self as the light switch. It comes from a place of love. Flick on the light and the shadow disappears.

“This awareness makes you realize that you no longer have to react to the fear because your thoughts are not you, they are from your ego,” she says. “When you come into awareness, you can move above these thoughts and shift your perspective from negative, fear-based thoughts to ones that serve you positively.”

Once I called out my ego, I took back my power by replacing the negativity with self-assured talk from my higher self. I even created my own mantra to drown out destructive thoughts that I am not worthy:

I want what I deserve, and I deserve what I want. 

I want what I deserve, and I deserve what I want.

It wasn’t instant nor as simple as deciding to turn my ego off, but getting to a place of awareness allowed me to see the shadow for what it was. It wasn’t reality and I didn’t have to react to it. Even when my shadow tries to play that loop of lies (and it still does) I just record a better track over it. I know that I am lovable. I know that I am surrounded by people who love me. I know that I am enough.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, opening up the discussion about mental health. Emotional self-care during divorce is a valid part of that conversation. http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/