Do you ever wish there were parts of you that you could change or hide from the world? Do you sometimes hold back sharing who you are in all of your light and darkness? Do you fear being misunderstood or not being accepted by others?

Who we are is so much more than the way we show up in the world. Sure, our behavior informs others about our personality and tendencies. But, if we define who we are by people’s reactions to how we show up, we risk accepting and loving all parts of ourselves.

Society has a way of shaping us to believe we must be shiny, perfect and new to be attractive and lovable. When we strive to meet these external expectations, we hurt the relationship we have with ourselves.

When we love all parts of ourselves, we experience a sense of freedom and peace. We begin to understand being human can be messy and our messiness is part of the wonderful adventure — it is all okay.

We are okay because we have light within us and we also have darkness — it is part of being human. When we make friends with our shadow selves, we send the message to ourselves and the world it is okay to show up exactly as we are.

I define my shadow self as the part of me who experiences emotions like: anger, sadness, jealousy, anxiety, shame, irritability etc. Basically all of the human emotions and experiences that are seen as taboo by society.

If we spent our lives hiding from these darker human emotions, we would be forever turning our backs on ourselves by wishing we were different than we are. An exhausting undertaking!

Instead we can befriend and thank these darker emotions for informing us. These darker emotions hold important information we can use to guide our next steps. Sometimes it might mean we need to:

— perform more self-care
 — tighten our boundaries with others who overstep
 — stop saying yes when we really mean no
 — reach out to a loved one for a heart to heart
 — connect deeper with ourselves
 — or perhaps get a better night’s sleep

Our darkness provides us with valuable insight. When we embrace this insight, we stop suffering by believing we should be different than we are. Loving ourselves and the lives we are in, gives us the freedom and space to enjoy the journey.

How might you embrace and befriend your shadow self today?

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If you are interested in connecting to who you are on a deeper level, or if you would like to create a self-care and self-love practice — check out my new E-Course, ‘Fall In Love With Your Life, One Week at a Time’. It is a chance to create your own life practice in a way that is meaningful to you — all are welcome.

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Fall in Love With Your Life, One Week at a Time

by Emily Madill

Grateful Jake

by Emily Madill

Originally published at on December 22, 2016.

Originally published at


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: