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These 10 Traits Determine if You’re Spiritual AF or Hiding From Your Shadow Self

Morgan Garza
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So you meditate, practice yoga, follow astrology, read all the top self-help books, have been to international retreats and manifestation workshops, and say “Namaste” to all beings who cross your path – you must be spiritual as f*ck, right?
 

Well, I hate to burst your enlightened, rose quartz-colored bubble, but chances are you’ve had the spiritual wool of your shadow self pulled over your eyes at some point in your life.

 
Allow me to explain. There are two sides to every story, right? Well in this story, one side is infinite darkness (shadow) and the other is unconditional love and light. In the spiritual community, you hear so much about love and light, peace and kindness, tranquility and mindfulness.
 
But what about the other side of the spectrum of emotions? What about the rage, jealousy, sadness, fear, pain, and the general humanity of being human – the shadow self?
 

What Is the Shadow Self?

The shadow self is the opposite of your joy. It represents all the emotions that aren’t so enjoyable to experience (but are an undeniable fact of life).
 

If your “light” is your love, your “shadow” is your hate. Both are totally normal, but much of the spiritual community only talks about the former – the light.

 
Ignoring the shadow self is akin to denying a child an ice cream cone on a hot summer day at the beach. The shadow self asks to be noticed and given what it needs and wants, but is denied. It asks again . . . and will continue to do so until it’s had its way. Avoiding the shadow self creates demons who don’t like to stay in the dark. They will roar louder and louder until you either break down or lose your damn mind.
 
Want to learn more about the spiritual ego and how to find peace with it? Read 6 Signs You Are NOT at Peace (and Advice on How to Get There).
 
Taking a look into the darkest depths of your being is scary, but it is also essential to leading a truly spiritual life – which essentially just means living in balance with the darkness and the light within you.
 

 

These 10 traits will help you figure out if you’re spiritual AF or hiding from your shadow self:

 
You may recognize some or all of these aspects in yourself – and that’s ok. Awareness is the first step toward change. And I guarantee that you are capable of making the necessary changes to go from hiding in the dark to shining in the light.
 
But most importantly, this is a reminder to not take these things – or yourself – too seriously. Get ready to laugh, and maybe even laugh at yourself, as you review these characteristics and see how they relate to you!
 
 

1. You Have a Higher Than Thou Mentality

Judging others for being less spiritual than you is the antithesis of spirituality. We are all on our own path so when you rub against someone the wrong way and think, “If only they were more evolved, they would understand,” you quickly deflect and reject your own involvement in the situation. You do you, and let others do themselves. We are all one.
 
 

2. You Are Attached to Retreats + Workshops

You are so enlightened because you went to Wanderlust, a meditation retreat in Bali, and an Anthony Robbins workshop on personal power – now you know the meaning of life and can relax while everyone else runs in the rat race (congratulations!).
 
While retreats and workshops are transformative, relying on them to define your spirituality is not. Go and absorb the knowledge, but don’t allow your spiritual ego to become attached to the experience.
 
 

3. You Blame Mercury Retrograde

You blame everything on your zodiac sign and Mercury retrograde, but never actually take ownership for your actions and behavior. The stardust in your veins does indeed have an impact on your life, but placing all the blame for your mood swings on Jupiter’s transit doesn’t mean you’re enlightened, it means you’re living in the shadow.
 
 

4. You Use Crystals as Crutches (Instead of Allies)

You wear gemstones around your neck, wrists, and ankles, and keep one by your bed because their high vibrations are totally alchemising the shit you’re giving and turning it into magical dust, right? Wrong. Crystals are a tool for self-discovery and to amplify your innate energy, not a crutch to lean on.
 

All your power comes from within, and when you externalize it, you are robbing yourself of your ability to be the creator of your life. Wear your crystals, but own your shit.

 

5. You Claim Intuition is Your Guide

“My intuition guided me to come here today, crazy!” Claiming intuition as guidance when you actually have a well thought-out plan – and two backup plans – is just silly. You don’t have anything to prove to your spiritual friend who seemingly blows on the wind and listens to her heart to decide which kombucha to buy today. You’re human and plans are ok.
 

 

6. You Use Drugs for Spiritual Ascension

Sure smoking weed and eating mushrooms makes for a good time, but when you’re indulging frequently in mind-altering drugs for the experience of “spiritual ascension,” ask yourself if there’s something hiding in your shadow self that you don’t want to see in the light.
 
 

7. You Find Yourself on the Philosophy Soapbox

It’s one thing to read a book and incorporate the teachings gradually into your lifestyle, but it’s another to read a book and just regurgitate what you’ve read as if you’ve suddenly gotten a Ph.D. on the topic. Get off your spiritual soapbox and lead by example, not by preaching your fresh knowledge as if you’re an authority figure on the topic.
 
 

8. You Have an Aversion to Money + Material Things

We need money to live – this is just a fact of life. Believe me, if I could pay for things in high fives and good deeds, I would. But in the society we live in, money is necessary and not accepting that – and worse, demonizing money – will only keep you in the red. Money is okay to want because we need it and it offers freedom. Shifting your mindset about money and material things can help you thrive.
 
 

9. You Tell Everyone About Energy

The more you talk about energy the more enlightened you are, right? Sure, everything in the universe is made of energy – the same energy that powers the sun also powers our hearts – and that is badass. But talking to everyone you know about feeling your Kundalini rising isn’t going to heighten your spiritual status. Keep that wonderful sensation of energy activation to yourself, and you’ll notice that the magic amplifies.
 
 

10. You Deny Your Pain

We are human and we have emotions. It’s ok to feel these emotions because not feeling them is worse in the long run. Allow yourself to feel into the pain of grief and loss and loneliness. Don’t change your address to these places, but also don’t avoid visiting altogether.
 
When you confront your emotions from an objective place, you’ll realize you’re more powerful than you think and completely capable of handling whatever it is that is coursing through you.
 

What Does It Truly Mean to Be Spiritual?

Being spiritual is being authentic – honoring and owning whatever that may be for you as an individual.
 
The world doesn’t need more enlightened people. It needs more people shining their own light who aren’t trying to transcend this realm, but trying to transform it. Go forth and dive into the darkness of your shadow self, leave a trail of breadcrumbs if you need to. But once you get there and do the work that needs to be done, you’ll have carved a well-worn path to your own soul, which you can traverse time and time again.
 

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Morgan Garza

Morgan is a free spirit, traveler of inner and outer worlds, and co-founder of Spirit Guides Magazine. Her background is in holistic health and wellness and Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy healing, and all things mystical. She feels deeply, thinks expansively, and writes to make you feel something, question everything, and make you smile.

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