Painted Smiles… and what is behind it all…

fake smile, hiding truth, sadness

Painted Smiles ….

I am always surprised when friends apologize for being in a bad mood, or sharing their life challenges when I bump into them, as though there is something wrong with sharing our difficulties with each other. This is yet another example of the bullshit positivity world we have created in western life, where we are only acceptable to each other if we share good news. I wonder if we have communicated the message that someone else’s bad news is unacceptable because we are trying to bypass our own difficulties. Whatever it is, this has to stop. We aren’t going to co-create a genuinely positive world until we can hold space for each other’s shadow. Better an authentic frown than an inauthentic smile any day. A smile that is built on a pretentious foundation isn’t a smile at all…

-Jeff Brown  (Author, Film-maker, Grounded Spiritualist)

Jeff Brown’s statement above really resonates with me right now, as I have been dancing with my shadows quite often lately and as time passes, the dance seems to continue with more friction and intensity. While this masquerade has been taking place, I find myself pulling away from others when the shadows are stirred, as when these (invited) guests arrive, they also bring along their friends sadness, sorrow, anger, frustration, pain, and hurt, which in my mind, nobody likes.

robin-williams-smile, fake smilesWhy is it that I feel to share these emotions, these “down” times as they seem, is unwelcome? Maybe it is from past experiences when I did allow these things to rock into the light while in the presence of others, and noticed that many lacked the ability to hold the space needed and just let things be as they were without downplaying it, or trying to “fix” the situation? That it made them feel so very uncomfortable, incapable, and confused? Maybe it is because after a couple of “releases” I also lost friends who thought that this burst of buried emotion meant that I was emotionally unstable? Am I emotionally unstable? I ask myself this question as sometimes it does feel a bit crazy when some anger that has been repressed for over 15 years can no longer be contained explodes into a pillow punching fest that leaves me exhausted and yet… a bit lighter as if some weight has been lifted from my souls burdens.

As I sit now with a family of seekers, of space holders, of welcomers of shadows, I can feel that my care for holding back these things any longer starting to disappear, and as I allow these shadows to be seen, their control over me also is beginning to disappear. For the first time in my life I feel that I have found a beautiful sacred space with just the right people to hold me while I allow all of my shadows to surface, to look right at them, and say “welcome my friends, it’s nice that you finally have arrived, I have been waiting so long to meet you…”

What are your experiences with this topic? We grow with unconditional support, with love, with understanding…  How do we learn to allow ourselves to see all of us? To be able to hold space for others to discover their underlying patterns? Do share your thoughts below…

4 Comments on “Painted Smiles… and what is behind it all…

  1. Ah, my current #1 challenge that I have reached out from my “team” and accepted, is learning how to be that space that you wrote about. It is unbelievably hard for me and I feel woefully inadequate because my skill set is nonexistent. To listen and NOT judge ANYTHING is a retraining of the human brain. To NOT offer advice or try to sooth leaves me floundering inside. I feel like a college student who has been told to go back to kindergarten…sorta like I need to concentrate and really learn some new basics and those new foundations will radically change everything else that I know.

    • Exactly Esther.. it is indeed a retraining of the brain isn’t it?! And I also still am learning how to just hold space for others as they go through their processes, and not try to “fix” anything. This is a challenge for me as well, but I’m up for it. What I am learning now is that just watching myself as an observer shows me everything I need to see to understand 😉 this is the first basic for me… next? Not eating the energy of other people!! Gulp!

  2. I admit..I’m guilty of hiding my shadows. But that statement of Jeff Brown’s got my attention. It’s nothing but truth and very well put. Breaking the habit of hiding shadows will not be an easy task for me but I’ll definitely work towards it.

    • I like to think of the shadows as little children playing hide and seek. When you find them, the game is up 😉 Just keep looking and watching…

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