We all have parts of ourselves that we aren’t proud of.
There might be parts of you that are overly angry, irrational, mean, sloppy, or lazy.
Maybe there are things you regret doing in your past.
Hiding and shaming these parts of yourself won’t make them go away. And wanting them to go away is denying yourself the full human experience.
So, what would happen if you embraced your negative parts instead?
This week, learn why it’s normal to have parts of yourself you don’t like, and why it’s tremendously powerful to embrace those parts. I share what embracing these parts looks like, and how to deal with other people’s negative parts.
What you will discover
- Why we try to hide our negative parts.
- Why people pleasing is so dishonest.
- How to love your negative parts.
- An exercise in embracing the human experience.
- How to make peace with other people’s negative parts.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 450.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello my beautiful friends. How are you today? I am recording this after playing some crazy pickleball. Are you guys into pickleball? Tonya, my best friend, and I are obsessed with pickleball right now. All we want to do is play pickleball.
So we had 16 people here for Thanksgiving and they ended up staying longer, literally, so we could all play pickleball. So that’s what we’ve been doing and it is so fun, and I love it. And I highly encourage you all to play.
We have here in Scottsdale at the place where I live, we have a country club, and the country club, part of it is pickleball courts and being able to do pickleball. So I do it weekly with my friends and Kristine and I highly encourage you to try it out.
Tonya thinks she might join a pickleball league. So that’s what I have been up to and I’m actually incredibly sore and ready to chill and relax. Everyone has just left, and so I am relaxing now in a very quiet house. My assistant Tory is amazing. She literally came and put my house back together. It was destruction. 16 people in a house is a lot and she came and literally - it’s so beautiful again. So shout-out to Tory. I love you, girl.
Alright, let’s talk about embracing the negative. Now, I talk a lot about life being 50:50 and embracing the negative in the world, but in this podcast, I wanted to talk about embracing the negative in you and the parts of you that aren’t good, let’s call them.
We are raised to believe and socialized to believe that we should try to be good and that we will become more worthy the better we get and the better well-behaved we are, we will become more worthy of our own selves.
And I just want to be really clear that your worthiness is indisputable. You cannot increase it and you cannot decrease it. So any amount of effort to be good will not make you more worthy, and anything you’ve done that is bad will not make you less worthy. Period.
I want to encourage you to adopt a belief system that includes being a human being, which means you, as well as the world, are 50:50. And there are many things that you have done in your life, many mistakes, transgressions, regrets in your life that are part of your human experience.
They are part of being human, they are part of being you, and there is nothing wrong with you if you have done negative things, or if you regret things you’ve done in your life because they were not good. It simply means that you are a human being.
Now, this doesn’t let you off the hook from apologizing, this doesn’t let you off the hook from making an effort not to do the things that you regret doing. I’m not saying that. I’m not saying you should just not care about those things.
I’m suggesting that you don’t beat yourself up with shame and think there’s something wrong with you because of those things. Think of all the things in your past that you wish you hadn’t done, and take a deep breath and say, “Oh, I’m human. This is part of my human experience. I have a human brain and I’m in the world and life is 50:50.”
And I can sit here and beat the heck out of myself for the rest of my life for things that I’ve done, or I can make peace with the fact that human beings make mistakes. And human beings do things that cause problems for other people, and human beings do things that “hurt” other people. And it’s okay. It’s okay. You’re okay.
I also want you to ask yourself the question, what is this life experience that you’re going through? How would you explain it as a ride at Disneyland? Would it include negative things? Would it include hurtful things? Yes. And it’s because you’re not just a human. You’re interacting with other humans who also have very negative things, who are also 50:50.
Now, here’s an amazing thing to consider. You can embrace inside of you the negative things. Not just the negative things that you’ve done in your past, but the negative characteristics that you have, the negative thoughts that you have, the negative feelings that you have, the negative behavior patterns that you have. Instead of resisting, and fighting, and trying to hide them, I want to encourage you to embrace them as part of your human experience.
The parts of you that get angry, or maybe even over-angry. The parts of you that are bitchy, irrational, mean, ugly, sloppy, lazy, scared, worried. I just saw this thing on Instagram and it said, “I could be a lot meaner than I am and I feel like I should get credit for that.” I love that.
But maybe for you it’s different words that you need to embrace. Maybe it’s entitled, lazy, victim-y, and complain-y. Yeah, that’s a word. Complain-y. Maybe it’s manipulative, or secretive, or gossipy. What is it in you, that you don’t like about you, that’s a negative part of you that you could start embracing as part of your humanness?
We need all the parts of us that make us human to have this human experience, to go on this Disneyland ride. We have to have the opposites. We can’t have the positive, amazing, beautiful, kind, lovely experiences without having the contrast to define them. We can’t appreciate kindness in a human being if we don’t appreciate meanness.
Because meanness is what helps defines kindness. We know kindness when we see it because we’ve seen meanness. We know kindness in ourselves because we also know meanness in ourselves.
What does it mean to truly experience all of life? All of the nicks, nooks, and crannies of our own mind, of the world, of relationships, of other people, of ourselves, truly. The true parts of all of us.
If we deny and push away and pretend, we don’t fully experience what it is like to be us. There are times when I am just cranky. There are times when I am frustrated. There are times when I make really big, frustrating mistakes in my life.
And it doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. It doesn’t mean that I’m bad, it doesn’t mean I should hide, or that I should be in shame. It simply means that I am a human being having a human experience. How can we be here for all of it? By taking chances, by trying things, by showing up, by failing, by exploring ourselves.
One of the teachers of this, Debbie Ford, I studied years ago and she has a book all about the shadow and embracing your own shadow parts of yourself. And it really helped me change my life. Many, many years ago, it helped me find the acceptance to be who I really am.
Her book is called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. And it’s actually a very good read. It’s an old book but it’s a very good read, and unfortunately Debbie has since passed away. But her work definitely leaves a legacy and stands the test of time.
And one of the things that I talked about a little bit in Life Coach Live from the stage was when we really do this shadow work on ourselves and we really explore into the parts of us that are dark, and that other people don’t like, and that we get criticized for, and we really embrace those things and love those things about the human experience as part of the contrast, we find a deeper sense of love and acceptance of ourselves.
But not only that, we have the ability to then translate that love, that unconditional love that we develop for ourselves into other people. And when we see within ourselves that there is this balance between good and bad, and that that’s normal, then we start to understand that it’s normal in other people.
And that doesn’t mean we put up with terrible behavior, or let people treat us terribly at all. But it also means that we get it. We understand. It’s humanness. We don’t get as horrified by the small transgressions throughout our days because we understand that we need all of the things to provide all of the contrast.
You’ve heard me say it a million times. If everything were good, we wouldn’t know anything was good. If everyone was happy, if everything was happy, if we were happy all the time, we wouldn’t even be able to define happiness. We wouldn’t even know what it is to be happy because the only reason we know what it is to be happy is because we’re unhappy too.
The only reason we know goodness within us is because we also know badness within us. So for some of you, this may be challenging to embrace the parts of you because you want to pretend that they’re not there. You want to work to overcome them.
And I actually think that’s a beautiful thing. I think trying to be the best human being you can be is amazing if it’s for your benefit and not at your expense. And if you’re trying to be better than you are, and in the process of doing that, you are bathing in self-loathing and beating yourself up and hiding from the world because you don’t want anyone to see those dark icky parts of you, and you aren’t showing up to express the possibility of who you are, you will miss the opportunity to know yourself.
You will miss the opportunity to fully experience life because you will be hiding. And I will say, I have been running into so many people lately that I’ve been coaching who are hiding. Hiding behind a false façade of goodness, pretending that they’re better than they are, instead of being who they really are.
Misery is trying to always be right, trying to always be good, and trying to always be better than we are. It is out of integrity when we do this. One of the main ways that we do this is with people pleasing. We pretend to other people to be better than we are.
We pretend to be nicer than we are. We do things we don’t want to do. We do things that manipulate other people into thinking that we’re kinder than we are, when it’s completely ingenuine.
And I want to encourage that there’s a way to be honest and truthful and in our own ickiness and also in love. To be crabby and complain-y and frustrated and mad and angry, and also to love all of that about us, and to have other people behave the same way and love that about our humanness, and stop trying to pretend that it isn’t there.
Because the truth is sometimes our best isn't good enough. It just isn’t. And sometimes, we don’t do our best. And sometimes, we don’t do our best on purpose, and sometimes we procrastinate, and we’re lazy, and we sit around, and we do hedonistic things. We overeat and we overdrink and we do drugs and we watch porn and we get on social media too long.
And we can use all of that to put ourselves down and beat ourselves up, or we can let ourselves off the hook and just indulge in all of those indulgent emotions. Or we can simply decide on purpose what we’re going to aim for, and not beat ourselves up for any reason.
Continue to decide, continue to grow, to continue to show up, continue to put ourselves in harm’s way, embrace the negativity in the world, and embrace the negativity within our own selves.
So the exercise that I did at Life Coach Live, and I want to encourage each of you to do it, is to write down the three things about yourself that you most are ashamed of, or that you don’t like, or that you regret. And then when you’re done with that, write down the three things in other people that you don’t like.
Those things that really, really get to you. Maybe it’s when people are lazy, or when people don’t think, or when people lie. And then when you have those six things written down, the three things that you don’t like in yourself and the three things that you don’t like in other people, I want you to look at those six things and I want you to embrace them in any way that you can as part of the human experience.
Take each part and see how it benefits you in some way. How even maybe just the contrast experience of it makes you appreciate its opposite. But also, how having that in your life maybe has helped you take care of yourself, or get something done, or rest, or motivate you.
How have those things that are so annoying in other people, how have those things served you in your life as well? And you may be tempted to be like, “Well, they haven’t, and it’s not good, and I don’t like it, and I’m not going to pay attention to it,” that sort of thing.
And you can, of course. But I just want to recommend that you look at all of those things, all the negative things in other people and within yourself, and you take a deep breath and you recognize that it’s all okay. It’s all good. And it all serves our human experience.
One of the things that I have done in my journal is written down the three things about myself that I don’t - things I most don’t like about myself. And for each one of them, I wrote how each of those things that I don’t like about myself has served me in my life.
And it was really incredibly powerful to see that mostly, I don’t like those things about myself because I have been taught that those things are bad. They hurt other people’s feelings, or offend other people, or frustrate other people.
I’ve seen how they’ve actually benefited me and helped me get the things that I want for myself, for my friends, for my kids, for my life. And one of the pieces of work that I have done that was the most profound life-altering work that I did was the work of Byron Katie.
And it’s interesting, when I first got a hold of her work, I was obsessed. I read all of her books, listened to all of her tapes, practiced all of her work. And I did the four question work that she teaches a lot, and the judge your neighbor worksheet.
And one of the things she has you do is write down judgments of other people, and then turn those judgments back on yourself so you can understand that whatever it is is probably a projection. And I’ll tell you how incredibly freeing that was for me to do that work; for me to truly understand that whatever anyone says about me is probably true.
So this is why my kids are always so mad because they said I can’t get offended. Because they’ll say things about me and to me and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s true. I can see it. I can find it.” I’m not like, “No I’m not, how dare you say that. That offends me, or that hurts my feelings.”
I’m like, “No, I can see how that’s true for me in my life, in myself, in my character.” And as soon as you embrace it, you get authority over it. And when I’m really frustrated at someone else, I can say to myself, “Huh, how do I have that in me? How do I make peace with that thing is in this other person but is also in me and in the world and in the human experience?”
And she would say, when you fight with reality, you lose but only 100% of the time. And so we look at reality and we look at what exists and we look at, oh, these things are supposed to exist. Shame and frustration, meanness, and ugliness, and fury, they’re all supposed to exist within us. We don’t need to argue with them. They’re all part of this experience.
We can breathe a little easier. We don’t have to condemn ourselves, we don’t have to beat ourselves up, we don’t have to hide. Everything within you and everything within me is okay. Have a beautiful week everyone. Talk to you soon. Bye.
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