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In the Shadows

In the Shadows

by Jim Sharon

Passover Seder plate

Last week I observed the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover, as I do annually. Passover is the celebration of Jews’ freedom from centuries of bondage in Egypt thousands of years ago. Pesach, as it is called in Hebrew, also affords a marked/scheduled opportunity to deeply experience humility. Since my 30s I have made it a practice to use Pesach to rigorously explore what is currently binding me, i.e. my own ego constrictions or the shadow side of my personality.

Passover Seder tableI focus on releasing, or at least mitigating, two or three reactive patterns. By week’s end, I am usually able to celebrate modifying  a couple attitudes or behaviors that impair my ability to love.

I’m happy to honestly report that was very much the case this year. My greatest accomplishment this go-round was disengaging an adverse reaction (to something trivial for others, but definitely not for me) I have had on a consistent basis since age six!

It’s a no-brainer to love in ways that come naturally for us, which in some respects, is different for every person. We can, and certainly should, feel really good about who, what, and how we love. However, we do ourselves and others a considerable disservice by ignoring or minimizing the effect of judgments and behaviors that detract from love. Some of the kingpins include excessive efforts to control, exploit, avenge, be right, and in general, act one-up or one-down in a relationship.

Contemplative Man

If you’re uncertain as to what patterns you exhibit that are distressing or off-putting to others, I invite you to earnestly seek constructive feedback from trusted family members, friends, coworkers, a therapist, and/or from a coach. These people may also offer you specific suggestions or tools for deactivating your distancing attitudes and/or behaviors. To the extent that you employ the feedback, you will enhance your self-esteem and relationship with others.

Here’s to shining our love lights with increased, genuine glow! Join the conversation on Facebook.

Your Relationship Coaches,
Jim Sharon
Ruth Sharon

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