Everyone has qualities that make us feel like a loser. Common sense tells us to do everything we can to hide that aspect of ourselves. But what if that’s the totally wrong approach?
I’ve been learning about how to write comedy characters and one piece of advice really stuck with me. It was that the best comedic characters embrace what makes them a loser. They essentially let their freak flag fly.
It’s entertaining and it’s hilarious because we get to see the messy parts that we keep hidden away in a box marked “shameful” out on full display.
A little flame of hope flickers inside of us, as we think, maybe who I really am and how I really feel isn’t so terrible after all.
While your goal in life might not be to have people laugh at your struggles (unless you’re a comedian, in which case that really is the objective), there is something to embracing the parts of yourself that scare you.
Another way of putting it is that there’s power in embracing your shadow.
The power of the shadow
Your shadow is the unconscious aspects of your personality that you’ve suppressed.
These can be positive or negative. They can be primal instincts or hidden desires.
In fact, the aspects you’ve cast into the shadow could be characteristics that another person fully embraces and shares proudly with the world.
Many people who are wildly successful in their field got to where they are because they are able to create from their shadow (think Lady Gaga and Oprah).
This means that they access those parts of themselves that stir shame and fear within them and channel them to create something bigger than themselves.
You see, creating from the shadow unleashes a lot of POWER. This is because you waste a ton of energy suppressing and hiding your shadow aspects.
Imagine what you could create and who you could BE if you could channel some of that raw, authentic energy.
You might have experienced this already during a time in your life when you experienced heartbreak or tragedy, and you felt like all was lost.
In that moment, you decided you had nothing to lose, so you finally stopped pretending.
If you were to associate back into that moment of loss, you’ll notice that there is a distinct ‘I don’t give an F’ energy.
It’s the energy that bypasses the little voce that plays ‘shoulds’ and ‘what ifs’ on repeat.
Instead, it asks, “what do you have to lose”, and gives you permission to be/do/create what you truly desire.
This is what blocks you
The big roadblock that prevents you from accessing the treasures of your shadow is caring what others think.
That’s how these parts of yourself got cast into the shadows in the first place. You deemed them weak, unattractive, unloveable.
That’s why an important question to ask yourself when considering what you want in life is…
If other people’s opinions and judgments didn’t matter, would I still want this?
Other questions to ask yourself if you want to identify and integrate your shadow aspects include:
What is being ignored and suppressed?
What need is going unmet?
What are my fantasies and desires that I don’t share?
You might discover that your shadow is something completely reasonable and innocent, like needing love and reassurance.
You spend so much time and energy pretending you don’t need anyone when deep down you’re needy AF.
Or within your shadow there could be a desire for power, even though on the surface you shrink back and play it small.
Regardless of what your shadow contains, know that you don’t have to fear it, even if it’s something dark.
Not acknowledging something doesn’t make it disappear. It just makes its impact more insidious.
So, if nothing else, I hope you’ll embrace a little bit of your loser today! At this point…what do you have to lose?
For more introvert insights and reflection questions, check out my book The Year of The Introvert.
P.S. If you’re new to the blog, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Michaela Chung, author of The Irresistible Introvert and The Year of The Introvert, and creator of this amazing innie community we have here. For several years, I’ve been building up a labyrinth of introvert resources that will take you on a magical journey toward more confidence, connection, and self-love. Start with this free Introvert Connection Guide.