We humans hate pain. Physical. Mental. Emotional. In fact, we don’t just avoid it, we run from it. Or at least many of us spend much of our lives running from it.  

Do you share this very human trait… of seeking ONLY pleasure?

We ask because one of those social media motivational memes popped up recently, which was all nice and fluffy and well-meaning.

It went something like…

“The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.

This leverages the ancient “What we focus on we get” mantra. And on the surface, it’s easy to hear yourself saying, “Yes, makes sense.”

But in terms of spiritual awakening, such advice is complete BS.

To explain…

There’s no point in building something – aka “focussing all your energy on the new” – if it’s built on the toxic foundation of all your wounds, ignored triggers, masks of defence and more that you’ve ignored within yourself your whole life.

Those “bad” things you want to shut away lest others see them and judge you inadequate will still be there. To ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, “to not fight the old” in the meme’s words is like putting a fresh coat of paint over rotting timber.

The reality, which is uncomfortable for many of us, is you have to “fight the old” and love the old as part of you if you are to move forward.

This is what Shadow Work is all about…

To uncover every part of you that has been disowned, repressed, and rejected.

And this is where the “love and light” movement does people a disservice. Because we run from the unpleasant, in our humanness, we don’t want to look at, let alone sit with and heal our pain.


Life is not all love. Nor is it all light.

To think it is, is to ignore the reality of our human existence.

For example:

You don’t know the value of light on a sunny day.

*In darkness you do.

You don’t learn peace in a peaceful environment.

*In war you do.

You don’t find harmony by only hanging out with harmonious people.

*In drama you do.

The truth is you must enter the darkness within to find the light.

If you don’t, your practice really is just surface level “coat of paint” stuff.

The challenge for all of us, as we just said, is we don’t like the dark stuff. We much prefer the pleasure. 


And this is the BIG “but”…

If we are to grow spiritually, if we are to awaken our full potential, we have to face those parts of ourselves we’d prefer not to.

And love those “ugly” parts. They are, after all, part of who we are.

So if we are to grow spiritually, then genuine self-love, of ALL parts of ourselves, is required.

Here is a quick example…

Do you carry the wound of being a people pleaser? Let’s take a quick test to find out.

This comes from the poem “Obligation” on p. 102 of ‘Finding You’ by Steve Vincent.

It starts…

I should.

I must.

I have to.

I’m sorry.


Thank you.

I apologise.

Be good.

Do the right thing.

How often do you say these phrases? Or think them?

The answer is “regularly” for many of us, which is a sign of a people pleasing habit. It’s an often-deep-seated program that says, silently, other people’s needs are more than ours, that they deserve to be first.

And that’s a horrible way to live YOUR life.

If we are to grow, to awaken spiritually and stand in our power as sovereign beings, we can’t continue the “pleasure” of conflict-avoiding people pleasing.

To do so is to “build the new whilst ignoring the old”.

So what’s the solution?

There is an answer in the ending of the same Steve Vincent poem, which reads…

Maybe I should… just be.

And let it all unfold.

In divine right timing.

Yes, the truth…

I should just be.

This is something of a declaration of releasing the people pleasing energy, of saying to the Universe that it’s ok “to just be” and not have to “please” anyone else. 

Here’s one more example.

Think of times during the year when it’s “expected” that you will be at a family event like birthdays, Christmas, a big party. How often do you go just so you don’t rock the boat? Or because you don’t want to face the disapproval or rejection by parents and siblings?

Instead of “just being” or doing what you want, you take a deep breath and go anyway.

In such situations you can focus all you like on “building the new you”, but you never will, beyond a surface level coat of paint, authentically awaken if you don’t deal with your people pleasing programming.

Again, that’s one example of a common wound many of us carry.

It may be counterintuitive, but if we are to move forward, we have to lean into our fear, face our shadows and learn to love all of ourselves.

If you’re ready for Shadow Work, reach out to the team at The Awakening Within today.