ACCEPT YOURSELF ON THE DEEPEST LEVEL
Pour Some Light On Your Shadow
The Shadow is a psychological term for everything we can't see in ourselves.
A common mistake people make when thinking about the Shadow is to think that it is made up entirely of ‘negative,’ shameful aspects of ourselves that we are trying to repress. Learning to allow shadow elements of ourselves to come into the light and be recognized is a large aspect of the healing journey.
The shadow is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power.
The problem with the Shadow is that if we do not recognize it as existing and work on bringing it into the light, it controls us much more and the only way it can manifest is through projections. What we do not accept as part of ourselves, we tend to unconsciously project onto others. It hurts and damages our relationships with our spouses, family, and friends, it impacts our professional relationships as well as our leadership abilities.
When we are able to accept and assimilate our Shadow, we accept ourselves on a deeper level, we can forgive our shortcomings and liberate the creative energy that was blocked in repressing the parts of our Shadow that are ready to be integrated.
If we stop trying to be perfect and recognize that becoming whole is more important, than we move one step further on the journey towards individuation.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
~ Carl Gustav Yung
Why Work with Shadow?
The shadow isn't a popular topic. Who enjoys owning their flaws, weaknesses, selfishness, nastiness, hate, and so on? Focusing on our strengths sounds so much more enjoyable and life-affirming. Exploring the shadow, however, gives us tremendous opportunities for growth and development.
Improved Relationships: As you integrate your shadow and come to terms with your darker half, you see yourself more clearly. You become more grounded, human, and whole. When you can accept your own darker parts, it is easier to accept the shadow in others. As a result, other people’s behavior won’t trigger you as easily. You’ll also have an easier time communicating with others. You may notice an improvement in your relationships with your spouse, family members, friends, and business associates.
Clearer Perception: In seeing others and yourself as you are, you’ll have a cleaner lens with which to view the world. As you integrate your shadow, you approach your authentic self, which gives you a more realistic assessment of who you are. You won't perceive yourself as being too big (inflated) or too small (deflated). When you're self-aware, you can assess your environment with more accurately. You’ll see others and evaluate situations with greater clarity, compassion, and understanding.
Enhanced Energy and Physical Health. Dragging around this invisible bag of stuff is draining. It is exhausting work to continually repress and suppress all of the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to face in our adulthood. Fatigue and lethargy can plague the unexamined life. Mental suppression can also lead to physical pain and disease. Dr. John Sarno treated and healed chronic back pain by helping patients acknowledge the repressed rage in their unconscious.
By working with your shadow, you liberate a tremendous reservoir of energy you were unconsciously investing in protecting yourself. This can improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. It can bring you inner strength and a greater sense of balance, making you better equipped to take on life’s challenges.
Psychological Integration and Maturity. As long as we deny our shadows and repress certain parts of ourselves, a sense of wholeness and unity is elusive. How can we feel a sense of wholeness and balance with a divided mind? Integrating the shadow brings you one step closer to realizing a sense of wholeness. It is a critical step to achieving maturity.
Greater Creativity. One of the greatest benefits of integrating your shadow is that it unlocks more of your creative potential.