Making Friends With Your Shadow

In personal development circles the focus is often on love and light, but Carl Jung highlights the importance of focusing on the unlovable dark sides of our personality. He says,

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

So what is this” Darkness” that Jung says we should make conscious? It is your Shadow.

A Definition of the Shadow used by Robert Augustus Masters, in his latest book “Bringing Your Shadow Out Of The Darkness” is this,

“Our shadow is our internal storehouse for the parts of us that we have disowned, rejected or are otherwise keeping in the dark.”

Why do people avoid this important area of personal development?

Our tendency to avoid reclaiming these rejected and disowned parts of ourselves is because, these parts do not fit with our usually sanitised self-image.

In growing up, we learn how some aspects of our personality will cause us to be disapproved of, so, we disown it. Hence becoming conscious of your Shadow generally carries a high cringe factor and a risk of being rejected by others.

Meeting those parts of ourselves that can be cruel, unkind, selfish, and uncaring can be quite shocking to come to terms with. We find that we are not the squeaky- clean saints that we thought we were and like to present to the world.

As we gradually peel away the layers of denial we have built up over a lifetime, we see how we have disadvantaged ourselves and others, including people we love, and even our own children.

It takes courage to lean into Shadow work

Of- course it helps if we can accept from the outset that we are all imperfect human beings.

Approaching this work with compassion and curiosity, and the willingness to accept ourselves warts and all, is deeply healing.

We all have our favourite stories of ourselves, blissfully unaware of our own selective amnesia. Discovering you can be bullying, controlling, manipulative is very humbling.

The kind of self- enquiry needed for Shadow Work is to be proceeded with gently.

The good news is that it is not just our dark side that we are cut off from, we are also cut off from many of our gifts and talents. We have a Golden Shadow!

You will be richly rewarded with deeper levels of Self- acceptance, Authenticity and Joy as you reclaim your Shadow and release more of yourself to become available in your day-to-day life.

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