“..because what you refuse to deal with may eventually deal with you.” – Joy Iseki
When we were kids, we judged almost all things we did as nothing. We did most in the name of play, until the adults would catch us in these acts and attached meanings to our actions. We would then accept this label as the name for whatever act we had been involved in.
By their responses, either through their body language, or spoken words, we got the message into our unconscious mind that some of those things we did weren’t acceptable, and that if we wanted to be liked, we mustn’t be seen doing them. And because children mostly seek for the approval of the adults, and guardians around them, we resulted to hiding the “plays” in the unconscious. But they never went away.
The hidden stuff we had kept in the safe of our unconscious mind, never really liked being kept apart from us. They would find a way to assert their presence in our lives in some other subtle ways much later. We may sometimes see them creep out of our minds when we are distracted, and not very conscious to keep the learnt charm we had master as adults over the years. This may explain some of the uncouth behaviour, especially things we had thought couldn’t be a slice of our noble Self, but which we do, anyway.
Our shadow self is a part of that hidden part of us too. It is that dark part of is we don’t want to acknowledge or recognize as being a part of us.
The shadow is all part of you that you don’t want to acknowledge. It is that hidden parts of your being, which you had consider too ignoble to admit its existence in your life. Yet, the shadow isn’t all that bad. Though considered our dark side, the shadow self can be the true path to our illumination because it houses many unleashed parts of us.
To embrace our shadow self, we just understand that both darkness and light are one. Inherent in the darkness, is the potential for light.
How else do you claim to have light if you haven’t experienced darkness?
The shadow comprises of your fears, impulses, desires, wishes, passion, weaknesses, and some of the shameful thoughts you don’t want attached to you. But these things are all part of you. Suppressing, or trying to deny them never makes them go away. Instead, it would only give them the loophole to come out unannounced, and not minding their business about you.
It is what you see in action when you hear that the very noble man in your neighbourhood, who almost all his life had fought against domestic violence, suddenly became a wife beater.
Maybe, along the path of his life, this man had witnessed his father beat his mother mercilessly whenever she would treat him very disrespectfully. Though he had condemned the beatings, he might have had the idea that she was being beaten because of her bad attitude towards her husband, and locked this thought in his unconscious mind. For this young man, that hidden belief is part of his shadow self.
If he ends up with a woman he thinks is disrespectful to him, as good as he may be, he’ll likely treat her as the father had done. Because that part is written in him but hidden from the rest of us by his seemingly good nature.
This is where many get confused as to some people’s behaviour.
It is not so hard finding our shadows. They show up when we go to places we are rarely known, and also in our intersections with strangers in a distant sojourn, or in the ways we treat the most vulnerable ones in the society. They are part of things you easily condemn in other people, because what you judge in others is most likely the disowned part of who you are.
Because your shadow self cannot be eluded, you must accept them as the other segment of your entirety.
I’d like you to note here that the shadow self isn’t all evil, as most people have been made to believe. Rather, it also consists of the under-utilized potentials, and even talents we possess which we had ignored all this while. Don’t run from your shadow self. Neither should you indulge it.
The way to embrace the shadow self is by accepting that they exists as part of who you are collectively as a whole.
However, you are not your shadow self. Like most things, they only bear the meaning you attached to them. It is the knowledge of this that can set you free from the shameful traps of the shadow traits – which, unfortunately, is part of the reason you deny having them in the first place.
Since the move from the unconscious is the attention your shadow self seeks, the best turn for you is to accept it into the conscious part of you, and live with it as a piece of your whole self.
How you do this is to relate with it as issues which are part of who you are, by embracing them into your life. This is what we mean when we talk about self-acceptance, without which it may be difficult for one to experience real self-love.
Take for instance, the feeling of jealousy which you might feel towards another Soul who you had assumed more successful, or better than you. Denying that you feel this way about them will never make those feelings go away. Rather, it may show up unconsciously by the way you behave towards this person, which they can perceive, even without your saying it. But when you accept that you feel this way about this person, you put yourself in a position to take responsibility for this attitude. That way, the light of the awareness can help you overcome it, by and by.
No one can truly claim being whole without having first embraced all the fragmented parts of themselves. Separating your shadow from who you are is an attempt to disintegrate your very being. It is such action as this, which eventually lead to the breakdown of some people in their continuous attempt to suppress these fragmented parts.
To be truly whole, you must first accept that you are broken, while taking responsibility for the power you possess to build your life. Once you are able to do this, you put yourself in an empowered state of being healed. This way, you gain control over what could have destroyed you, rather unconsciously, sometimes later.
Anyone that does otherwise, risk being destroyed, someday, by the very shadow they are running from.
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To your successfully evolving life.