Have you ever been reading, watching a show or having a conversation with friends, when you felt all the pieces suddenly click into place? A lightbulb comes on in your mind and everything comes together, feels clearer and makes sense and you realize you don't like it.
Has this ever been followed up by, "Oh Sh!t, now what? What do I do with this information?"
Part of why learning about yourself can be so uncomfortable (and why many are avoidant) is being confronted with habits, relationships, internal narratives that are hurtful, harmful (to you and/or others), biases and prejudices, and internal narratives that have been shaped by a lifetime of different relationships and experiences. When we seek to learn more about ourselves, we uncover all these parts that may have been 'hidden', modeled by others then subconsciously embodied and acted on; 'shadow work' you may have also heard it called. While this learning is uncomfortable, it is also necessary and provides one with the opportunity to make changes, to grow in ways that more fully and authentically align with your beliefs, morals and changes you wish to see in the world.
What is beautiful about being human (and science will back me up on this) is our ability to unlearn unhealthy habits and ways of living while creating new ones that better serve us,
'neuroplasticity' allows us to literally create new pathways in our brain, throwing out that "old dog, new tricks" idiom.
So, you have uncovered and are working to unlearn those 'shadow' parts of yourself, what now? Here is where the learning begins. Here is where your most authentic self shows up. Here is where you walk with eyes wide open, fully aware and intentionally choosing what you want for yourself- letting go of outdated social norms, cycles of trauma, patriarchal, imperialist, misogynistic views, and more. This work is highly rewarding but it is absolutely worth noting the hurt and discomfort that comes with it. Let me remind you that we are social beings, wired for connection and community and you do not have to do this work alone. As a therapist, I highly encourage you to seek out those who support you and fill your cup (therapist or not). Utilize your support systems, engage in holistic self-care, have conversations that help you in this work of learning to unlearn, then learn again.
We humans are capable of change IF we really want it and are willing to put in the work.
So here's to you and your unlearning. May you uncover that which is hidden and use it to live your most authentic life.