The groundhog didn’t see his shadow. Did you?

On February 2, America observed the yearly ritual of Groundhog’s Day.

Tradition has it, that when groundhogs pop out of their holes, after a long winters hibernation, what they see and do determines whether we will have an early spring, or not. If the groundhog sees it’s shadow, when it emerges, the groundhog runs back into it’s hole to hibernate for 6 more weeks of winter. This year the Wisconsin and national groundhogsdid not see a shadow and stayed out, meaning an early spring.

Yay, groundhogs! Personally, I root for the early spring, rather than 6 more weeks of winter.

woman-shadow11Groundhog’s Day reminded me that we all have a shadow, too. And our shadow is more than just the one we see on a sunny day.

Our shadows are those things we don’t like about ourselves, hurts and resentments we hold, secrets we keep about things we’ve done or not done, things done to us, family or work secrets we keep, feelings and thoughts we have that we think we “shouldn’t” have.  When we see our shadow, we would rather run away from it or put it back in a dark.

But, just like the groundhog, our shadow has a chance at coming out again at another time. We just don’t know when.

What is different for we human beings is that if we try to keep our shadows hidden in a dark hole,they do come out in different ways at different and unexpected times. Our shadows can show up in unhealthy relationships, financial issues, drugs and alcohol, physical illness, decreasing happiness or satisfaction with life….and the list goes on. The only way to stop our shadows is to get to know them; to make friends with them; to have compassion on them and then decide how much control we want to give them over ours lives in the present.

Jan Kwiatkowski, LMFT, is a psychotherapist and mental health consultant for Aurora Family Service in Milwaukee, WI.

Jan Kwiatkowski, LMFT, is a psychotherapist and mental health consultant for Aurora Family Service in Milwaukee, WI.

Everyone of us has a shadow within ourselves. Getting to know our shadow and have compassion for ourselves can be a daunting task, but it is possible and can be very freeing.

If you have a shadow that is causing you distress or interfering with your life, I invite you to give us a call at Aurora Family Service. Unlike the groundhog, who had lots and lots of people watching, you can decide what to do about your shadow in confidence.

Aurora Family Service helps families overcome challenges, changes and crisis to live well again.

We achieve stability and strength for families through counseling, parenting, elder care, financial, career, health and community services.  For more information, visit our website, follow us on Facebook, or call 1-414-342-4560.

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