Last week I discussed our background of obviousness (BOO). This is my term for hidden emotional energy and trained mental biases that can trigger reactionary behavior. I am going to continue to dive into BOO this week with you so that you can start to uncover what is happening in your unconscious mind as it shows up in your real-life thoughts and actions. The reason your (BOO) behavior may not be obvious to you is that it runs as a behavioral algorithm in the “background” of your mental-emotional operating system. People make comments about the BOO of others all the time without even realizing they’re doing it. Here are some examples; “She’s quick to cry.” “He’s a hothead.” “They always have their guard up.” The therapy professional calls this our shadow self. Shadow issues are hard to get a direct look at—but they cast an enormous and ominous shadow on our lives. Often, you can see the shadow of others clearly—the background of others is more obvious to us than our own—often, your own shadow remains hidden from your view.
BOO is neither positive nor negative in and of itself. It just is. BOO is the culmination of the thoughts, beliefs, and reactions we have adopted since early childhood—the story we live without question. But when we adopt negative beliefs and reactions because we were never equipped to deal with trauma, then that BOO has negative consequences. And, if you think you’re special or immune, stand by….That is BOO, too!
In my experience, everyone has it, and it can’t be avoided. The point is that if we are committed to growth, then we must examine it. Eradicating negative BOO is necessary to unlock your full potential and to find complete fulfillment. Emotional pain is often more traumatic than physical pain. Physical breakdowns and injuries can be healed with time and effective medical care. Emotional pain is permanent if you don’t know how to process it. It will show up again and again. Just when things seem to be going well, there it is, bringing you down. It can be triggered by trauma, such as the death of someone you know or love. It can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and the sweet smell of freshly baked pie. You will have to face, feel into, and resolve past wounds to master your Emotional Mountain, and this work takes courage.
Maybe you had love withheld from your family, and that trauma was not something you knew how to handle. (What young person would?) This BOO will negatively impact important areas of your life later on. Shadow is found where the light of awareness is BLOCKED. So, how do you catch a glimpse of your shadow if you are not aware of it? Look back at your life over the last month or year. What patterns do you see? If they are not obvious to you, ask someone who cares to point them out. If they love you, they will be kind while telling you the truth. Find an instance where your shadow showed up to torch things.
Here are some powerful questions to help you uncover some BOO: Was there a destructive action you regret? Was there a point where you acted like a victim? Did you do something stupid? Did you engage in crude conversation or behavior? Did you shy away from something that you knew you should do? Did you push people away? Did you stay silent when you saw something worth speaking out against? Did you say something that you wish you didn’t? Are you stuck in a negative relationship at work? At home? Have you been dressing like nothing matters (think velour sweatsuit) or smartly in pants with an actual zipper? Any of these could indicate you have a shadow (BOO) issue to work on. Remember being courageous is not the absence of our shadow. It is knowing it, befriending it, and then making choices with heart despite its existence. This is how we create new empowering background programs and eradicate the old ones.