Making friends with your shadows
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
How many times when you were a child, you saw yourself doing "normal and natural " things for you, satisfying your needs, emotions, impulses ... and suddenly you felt that some eyes were watching you and that they were telling you not to do it anymore, that it was wrong, that was not well seen... making us feel bad or guilty whenever we wanted to repeat these acts, or doubt when we wanted to do anything, repressing these needs, desires and satisfactions, because society told you that it was not right to express yourself as you wanted?
In order to be loved and accepted, I learned as a child to hide away those parts of myself that were not met with praise and approval, and adopt only those traits and behaviors that were met with open arms. Cutting off and burying certain parts of myself was a necessary part of my survival to feel accepted and liked by the people around me. Creating a hidden part, a rejected part of my self, my Shadow.
We all carry a Shadow, that part of ourselves that at a given moment we consider as "bad" due to our education and the moral standards of our society. It is responsible of controlling our choices, emotions, thoughts, actions. As Carl Jung said "that which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate". Our self distraction behaviours that so many individuals straggle with, The task is to become conscious and integrate one's shadow into one's conscious personality, accepting it with open arms.
Sometimes our shadow selves are so private that usually we are not even aware of their existence. We only glimpse them during fits of rage, nightmares, pettiness, revenge, paranoid thoughts, drug and sex binges, and anything that verges on the edge of "insane" behavior.
As Carl Jung said; "Everyone has a shadow, and the more hidden it is from the conscious life of the individual, the blacker and denser it is. In any case, it is one of our worst obstacles, since it frustrates our most well intentioned intentions".
We have all been enchanted with getting high and having a free awareness, and so have try to repress or deny lows when our awareness once again gets caught in this or that. We are afraid of coming down, denying your lows. And we don't realize that our lows are created by the remaining attachments that blind your awareness.
Facing your lows, your anger, loneliness, greed, fears, depressions and conflicts, is the most productive fire of purification you can find.
Over time I forgot that there was even a shadow in my life because I looked forward towards the light and yearned to be one with it. My life flowed with light and love and everything flourished.
Not long ago, I realized that my shadow was still here with me, the first feeling that came to me was frustration, anger, shame, resentment. But this time I did something different as I was doing over and over again denying it, and I took the time to look at this part of my self that I was unconsciously and sometimes also consciously hiding, and what I found was an amazing and beautiful surprise.
The longer we put off facing our shadows, the more they stealthily control and manipulate our lives. Like puppets on strings, we become vulnerable to the control of our shadows in moments of anger, stress, temptation or tiredness. Instead of learning to meet, acknowledge, and befriend our shadows, they become our mortal enemies. If you have ever felt at war with yourself or like you are your own worst enemy, it is because your shadows are controlling you, not the other way around.
Facing this part of myself, made me feel so much compassion and love towards it. I realized that for many years, I shut part of my inner child, instead of giving her attention and love, I rejected her, it wasn't easy to see, it was very painful instead, but I knew that facing and welcoming this "shadow" with love to my life, I will heal so much. And I did... our shadow self is where our unclaimed power lies hidden. It is here, in this least likely place, that we will find the key to unlock our strength, our happiness, and our ability to live out our dreams.
"One does not become Enlightened by imagining figures of light , but by making the darkness conscious. facing this darkness within yourself".- Carl Jung.