Updated: Oct 13, 2019
The shadow hides us from ourselves. How can you end negative patterns and limiting beliefs if you refuse to deal with what drives them?
How well do you know yourself? Most people would say that they know themselves completely, at least on a conscious level. Yet, there’s a part of ourselves (individually and collectively) that is hidden and remains that way until we decide to shine conscious awareness upon it.
That unknown and oftentimes unacceptable part of us is referred to the shadow.
Psychologist and spiritual alchemist Carl G. Jung defined the shadow as the unknown dark side of the personality. He considered the shadow to be one of the archetypes that makes up the self. Your shadow contains positive and negative traits, usually unrecognized by the ego. Although it is outside of conscious awareness, it still makes itself known in everyday life, which is why it’s in your best interest to get to know what it is made of.
The shadow can appear as shame, anger and other negative emotions. It can also appear in your opinions of others (also known as projection), which causes pain and confusion. Such turmoil gets in the way of your ability to live up to your highest potential, which is what many of us aspire to do.
So, what is the answer?
In the interest of wholeness, it is in your best interest to remember all parts of yourself. When you came to earth, you came with gifts, talents, and characteristics designed to help you manifest your destiny. Over time, you learned to separate parts of yourself; perhaps those in charge of your well-being expressed how certain traits were undesirable. Or, maybe your peers bullied you for the things that made you unique, causing you to hide for your own protection and survival. As time passed, those unacceptable traits – positive and negative – accumulated in the deepest part of yourself, only to surface as addiction, depression, or anxiety. These conditions often require work with trained medical professionals to help you get to a healthy place, which usually looks like healing, integration, and acceptance.
Without understanding your shadow and how it formed, it is near impossible to implement and stick with positive habits. Your shadow gets in the way of your positive intentions, once again. You must dig into what is unacceptable or hidden about yourself and learn to accept that which was rejected to become your whole self, as you were as a child and before language. This is holy work and is not to be taken lightly. This is a fearful process, but it is the path to true liberation. Ancients used metaphors to describe the process; many ascended masters had to go through the process to become who they were born to be.
As a spiritual alchemist and coach, I have experienced this integration process it is a lifelong path, or “great work” that serves to bring light and healing to myself into this world, by extension.
Drop a comment and let me know what you think.
What have you done to explore and reconcile your shadows?