💬 “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” ~ Carl Jung 💬
The Shadow consists of the parts we reject within ourselves, the primal emotions we suppress for societal approval or a desire to deny their existence. ❌
You could also refer to the Shadow like “the devil on your shoulder”, the thoughts that come up in your mind you’d never tell anyone else you thought. 👿
Think of the individual you know who is so kind, so loving, and so quiet. But one day you hear about an incident where they lost their temper and you think: “No, that is NOT the person I know! That is NOT who they are!” 🗣️
Or think of the priest who vocally condemns homosexuality in his church but is eventually found to have participated in homosexual acts. 😲
➡️ These are examples of the Shadow at play. ⬅️
When we fail to acknowledge and integrate our Shadow in our life, it comes out in destructive and harmful ways towards ourselves and others. 🔨
We will project our Shadows onto other people and proclaim “They are the immoral ones!” so we can deny the immorality laying within ourselves. 🎭
It’s why there’s so many people with emotional issues, immature adults who never had the opportunity to be in touch with themselves, instead having to settle for cultural expectations of possessing certain personality traits while suppressing others. ↕️
Jung also said: “What you resist not only persists but grows larger in size.” It’s why we should not resist our Shadow. We instead need to be aware of it so we can work with it. 💯
In some circles like self-help and spirituality, I’ve seen the idea of the Shadow being frowned upon. “Let go of the things which don’t serve you.” “If you focus on it, the more energy you give to it.” 👎
I understand those perspectives, however I take Jung’s perspective: “I’d rather be whole than good.” I’d rather accept every part of me, the good and the bad, the gentle and the aggressive, than suppress them. 👤
🤔 So how does one integrate their Shadow? 🤔
The first step is our acknowledgment of its existence, these “dark” part of ourselves we keep rejecting. It doesn’t mean we need to express our Shadows or identify with them, but rather we’re brutally honest about seeing every part of ourselves. 💯
📍 The gentle man acknowledges his capacity for aggression.
📍 The innocent woman acknowledges her capacity for manipulation.
📍 The homophobic priest acknowledges his capacity for homosexual desires.
📍 The Dr. Jekyll acknowledges his capacity for Mr. Hyde.
We acknowledge our capacity for evil while simultaneously choosing to be good. 🎭
With this acknowledgement and acceptance of ourselves, we can now take action! Rather than letting our Shadows control us, we now can take control over them! 💪
🤔 “I consider myself a kind, gentle, and compassionate person. But I acknowledge there’s an aggressively angry part of me that surfaces and comes out when people take advantage of my kindness. How can I integrate this Shadow part of me in a way that won’t hurt others?” 🤔
What are some ways you can use your Shadow energy of anger and aggression in you for more constructive means?
You could take up a competitive sport. You could use this energy in your workouts. You could use it to get your work done faster. You could use it for situations that legitimately call these energies to be used. 😁
👊 The difference now is YOU ARE IN CONTROL. You are using your Shadow rather than letting your Shadow use you! 👊
It’s what I mean when I tell people “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”. 👶
Integrating our Shadow can be useful, but we always have to be sure we’re in control and using it in healthy ways. Will you possess your Shadow, or will you allow it to possess you? 😈