Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Unloved Self: The Shadow

There is a part of us that lurks in the shadows of our mind. A part of us shunned and stunted and cut off from the life flow.  An unloved part, C.G.Jung termed "shadow".  The time has come to shed some light on this dark aspect of personality.   It is the tyrant in our unconscious that is the cause of much conflict and sabotaging decision making that leads us into trouble.  Our acting out and misbehaving is born out of the unseen shadow within.  Paradoxically, our over-identification with behaving ourselves is also born out of this obscure dimension.

When we deny elements of our self, we become inflexible, unyielding, controlling & judgmental.  We lose our innate spontaneity.  When events don't happen as expected, we struggle and resist; having lost our resilience in that moment.  Our world turns from a rainbow of colors to only grey, black, and white.

"A composite of characteristics and potentialities which have been denied expression in life.  It contains inferior qualities which the ego will not permit it to recognize.  But because it is accessible to the ego, it assists the ego in adapting and thus contains positive content as well as negative."  The Shadow defined by C.G. Jung.

Familiar with the phrase, "The outer reflects the inner?"  If your world is full of negative, or simply annoying people for example, then the place to go to begin to amend this is to your shadow.
In the words of June Singer, Jungian analyst; "What we cannot admit in ourselves we often find in others."
I have my clients make a list of all things they dislike about someone in particular.  Then they make a list of how they personally act out at times.  They then compare the two lists.  Or, if acting out isn't the issue, then one can write why someone would want to act that way.  What benefit is received by behaving a particular way that is not approved of.   You might ask yourself: How am I like this person? How do I compensate, & sacrifice to avoid acting like this person? Is my current behavior in alignment with who I am, or do I force myself to the degree of cutting a part of myself off? 

When you soften judgements by shifting a perspective, you make room for your shadow to blend in with the light.  Welcoming an attitude of open discernment rather than judgment, for your own actions as well as others, can leave you with peace instead of harshness. As you accept your own negative stuff you step into self love; when we connect with self love we open up to love in general.  Aren't we all happier when we live with love rather than judgement?  Through conscious attention we can find ways to transform and tame the negative in us into something helpful; there in lies the potential of who we can be.

Does this mean you can go ahead and act on all your negative impulses? Of course not.  You must use your own conscious (ego) mind to mediate between your shadow thoughts and your conscious choices to move your actions toward what is best for all involved.  To accept and understand our shadow doesn't mean it's in our best interest to act out the shadow.  And remember, intention is everything.

Visit my website newlevelcounseling.com for more information on Jungian Depth Therapy, or call for a consultation.  404-702-8474