Shadow Self vs. Best Self?


Image by Rickydavid via Flickr

In the recent movie, The Last Station, Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian novelist is plagued. Plagued with a dilemma…his wife of many decades is driven, even dominated by insecurity and fear. So much to the point that she seeks to control, manipulate and scheme against the very man she loves has loved for more than thirty years. Instead of spending the twilight years of their lives together reflecting together on the amazing journey they shared and so many years of deep, intimate passion and genuine love, they are contentious, angry and distrustful of each other. So much so that Tolstoy decides he must leave his estate and move to experience peace and calmness in the last years of his life. The woman Tolstoy loved persisted in spending the last years of her life living in what I call her Shadow Self.

A shadow self is when we become led by insecurities, fears, anxieties, or a sense of worthlessness. When such emotions overcome us, we act selfishly, seeking to control circumstances & the people around us, instead of seeking to selflessly love. We are living beneath who we are. We are living a mere shadow of who we truly are. You have one. I have one. What does this shadow self look like for you? What emotions drive your shadow self? When does your shadow self come out?

Fortunately, we each also have what I would call our Best Self. When we are living in tune with our best self, we have inner peace, trust and confidence. We are led by a spirit of freedom. A freedom to pursue our heart’s desires, our passions, what we want to do and who we want to be. We are generous and trusting instead of selfish and afraid. We engender trust and draw others near when we’re living lives congruent with our best selves. We inspire others to live more noble, authentic lives just by being ourselves.

Your Best Self is inspiring, encouraging and pleasant to be around. Your shadow self pushes people away, leeches life from them and robs you and the people you care about of someone unique and someone worth knowing.
What causes your Shadow Self to come out? What situations, experiences? Who are the people that tend to bring out your shadow self? What emotions drive it? How do you feel when your Shadow self is present?

What causes your Best Self to come out? What situations, experiences? Who are the people that tend to bring out your best self? What emotions drive it? How do you feel when your Best Self is present?

Are you willing to pursue your Best Self more consistently and frequently? What would be different if you lived more true to your best self? How would it affect your relationships both personally & professionally? How would it affect your career or business? How would you feel about yourself living a life dominated by your Best Self?

Go ahead. Imagine a day, a week, a year, the rest of your life playing out with your Best Self present & leading the way. Allow yourself to experience your best self handling every situation, living every experience. Feel yourself living your life as your Best Self.

My next blog will take it one step further, giving ways of cultivating your best self.


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