“I always joke that I have OCD, but the doctor looked me in the eyes and said, ‘No, you really do have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.'”
My friend and I were on the phone, while I trimmed brussel sprouts in my kitchen. I paused for a beat to breathe in her diagnosis, listening more intently.
She continued: “I don’t know what to do, though. My obsessiveness makes me who I am. It’s what makes me good at my job – attention to detail and ability to map things out. I feel like it’s unhealthy and I’m supposed to somehow get rid of it, but I don’t even know who I am or how to be without it.”
I love my friend and could feel how lost she felt in that moment, watching this identity being packed up and put in a shipping container to be sent far, far away. Still, there was something I knew to be true…
A diagnosis is an opportunity to see ourselves as whole.
“You have an incredible superpower for planning, systems and details. I’ve seen you express that and it’s amazing to watch. Is it okay if I share something with you?” “Yes, please”, she said.
“The times when I’ve seen you feeling most alive, most in your element, most excited, are the times when I’ve seen you geeking-out on something. They’re the times when you have the time and space to explore something from every angle. I see you curious, inspired and creative, and I feel an ease and spaciousness in you.
The times when I’ve seen you feeling most stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed are the times when I’ve seen you obsessing over something. I see that happen when you’re down-to-the-wire, feeling behind or off-track.”
The shadow of obsession was hiding her incredible superpower for geeking-out.
For the rest of our conversation, we explored how she might stand more fully in her superpower – structures, conditions, conversations, rituals, in-the-moment energetic shifts and shifts in perspective, that would support her movement towards the feeling of geeking-out.
When we see ourselves as broken because of our shadows, we waste energy trying to fix what’s broken.
When we embrace the shadow and see the superpower hiding behind it, we can move towards an expanded state with more ease and grace. We recognize our innate wholeness and can channel our energy into the superpowers that support our thriving and bring our great gifts into the world.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have one or two or ten ways of being that don’t support us in being fully-alive, fully-expressed, fully-free.
We default into jealousy, rage, passive-aggressiveness, indifference, insecurity, obsession.
When we leave those disempowering ways of being unnoticed or unchecked, we’re disconnected and unfulfilled. When we make those ways of being mean that we’re broken, we again miss the opportunity for connection and fulfillment.
Instead, we must acknowledge those disempowering shadows, explore the superpowers on the other side, and lean– over and over, with focus and intention, even when it’s hard – into those superpowers.
Our shadows are whispering our great gifts to us.
I invite you to take a moment here…
* With one hand on your heart and one on your belly, notice a disempowering default way of being.
* Now, be curious about the superpower that lives on the other side of that coin – a way of being that has you feeling bright, connected, alive.
* Take note of what structures, conditions, conversations, rituals, in-the-moment energetic shifts and shifts in perspective, would support your movement towards that superpower.
In the comments below, share your shadow, your superpower, and what will support you in moving through life from that superpower. Can’t find your superpower? Post your shadow and we’ll jam…