The Monsters we fear: The rapists. The child molestors. The addicts and alcoholics. The greedy. The violent abusers. The power hungry. The narcissists. The traffickers. The murderers. We all have perceptions in our heads, shaping our view of these “monsters”. And yet, they are actually very difficult to spot. Why? Because they are all around us. They are the person who smiled as they passed you on the street. They are the friendly person who picked up the $20 bill you dropped and ran to give it back to you. They are the attorney, who helped you win your case against your nasty ex. They are the pastor, who helped you through your father’s passing. They are the repair man, who volunteered his time to fix your emergency leak. Our black and white thinking about “bad” people has not served us well. It keeps our heads in the sand, when someone tells us they have been taken advantage of by our friend because they aren’t the “monster” we imagined. It keeps us blind when a loved one shares abuse at home because that doesn’t match the image of the person we had in our minds. “They’re just being overly dramatic.” “Every relationship has its problems.” “He is such a nice person though.” “It just doesn’t add up.” “There’s no way he could be in the position of power he’s in, if that were true.” “Look at the person who’s saying that. They’re probably lying.” All of this shadow behavior is allowed to continue when we rely on our rosy perceptions of people, instead of acknowledging the candid and complex versions of people. When we do not genuinely investigate shadow behavior objectively, we let everyone down. We let the one being harmed down and we isolate and devalidate them. We let the offender down because their damaging behavior goes unhealed. We take steps to heal long histories of shadow and abuse when we acknowledge it. When we look for and accept the truth we find and we have the courage to speak up, step up, and empower, we break powerful generational cycles. It is time to create a new way. It is time to break the patterns and unashamedly bring the shadows into the light. It’s time to stop demonizing people who have a shadow side, so they never get the healing to break their own cycles. The truth is good people do bad things. The truth is ALL people do bad things. The truth is we ALL need healing. We all get to stop hiding and keeping secrets, whether it’s saving your face or someone else’s. It’s time to be UNAPOLOGETICALLY real and raw and honest. It is time to confront the shadow.