“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”Carl Jung
In a world of ‘love and light’ it can be hard to accept when you come across the darker side of yourself. But she’s there, always, and no matter how much light we surround ourselves with, ignoring her won’t make her go away. She is our reminder of past traumas, our reminder when we aren’t living our values. She shows up as dark thoughts, negative self speak, physical pain. Carl Jung called this our ‘shadow self’.
As we grow up we are taught that we have ‘negative traits’, and that there are parts of us that are less desirable. We are taught that there are certain thoughts that are shameful and shouldn’t be admitted to, and because of this we go through life trying to tame that dark side of us, or just simply ignore it. It is the reason when asked in an interview ‘…and what do you consider to be your biggest negative quality?’ we shudder, and try and pick something that can be twisted into a positive.
No one wants to admit they are selfish, or stubborn, without being able to put a positive spin on it. But in doing this, and denying parts of ourself, our energy is off balance. Those traits of ours still exist, but instead of being channeled and used for growth and development they are sitting and festering below the surface, ready to bite when you next ignore them. Before long that anger will build, or that jealousy will become unbearable to the point of making us ill.
When we can learn to embrace our shadow, magical things can happen. Embracing all sides of ourselves, and all of those ‘negative traits’ and thoughts, is often the place where we grow the most, and evolve into our best selves. It is a place were we learn what our pain points are, and what we are holding on to subconsciously, that we may not be aware of in our ‘love and light’ persona. It shows us our jealously, our inherent prejudices, our anger, our fantasises…all things that we are taught we shouldn’t discuss. But in all honesty all of those things are part of you for some reason, and you simply can not be your truest self without all of it. In seeing it, and letting it in, it highlights areas of our life that are out of alignment, and gives us places to develop.
Instead of fearing what happens when our shadow appears, stay intrigued, curious, of what it is there to show you. Try not to second guess and reject it. Maybe you spent a long time surpassing your anger and frustration because you were feeling suppressed and poorly treated at work. You felt jealously of people who had the life you wanted. But you felt ashamed for saying it. It didn’t fit with your ‘easy breezy’ zen persona that you so wanted to show up as. You put your stoic face on and pushed it all down, finally resulting in anxiety or sickness.
But in embracing all of these thoughts and feelings, and really wearing them, you’d be able to really observe why this was showing up. Why were you feeling frustrated? Where was this really coming from? You could realise you were attracting these things in. You were attracting jobs and bosses that treated you badly, and were attracted in people that shone a light on the life you wanted and instead leaning into that jealously or frustration and using it for motivation to change those patterns you were stuck in perpetual loop.
Our shadow is often a call to re-connect with ourselves, come back to complete wholeness, and to live in true acceptance of who we are. Being able to say, I feel ….. today, and then ask yourself why, so you work through and use it for good, is a really beautiful place to be.
5 WAYS FOR MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOUR SHADOW SELF…
- Journal your thoughts. Be honest and let your feelings flow onto the paper. No one else is going to see it, its just you, you can be as honest as you want.
- Mindful meditation. By observing your thoughts and sitting in resting awareness, you can start to see even the darker thoughts as less harmful.
- Practice gratitude. Write 5 things you are grateful for everyday, and do this in moments when your shadow is getting too strong. This will help balance those thoughts and remind you of all the good.
- See your shadow as part of you, remove the conditioning that these thought are enemies and start to see them as a teacher to make it less dark and scary.
Acceptance is a part of the journey to becoming the best version of yourself. If you are able to meet the dark side of yourself with love and invite it in, you can use it to make big changes in your life!