Shadow Self: 3 Ways To Embrace Your Inner Darkness

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This is where the Persona and Shadow Self go hand-in-hand: the Persona is the lovable face we present to the world while the Shadow is the face we hide from the world.

The creation of the inauthentic but socially-acceptable Persona birthed the creation of the authentic but damnable Shadow. Both are inseparable.

As Jung explained:

What we call civilized consciousness has steadily separated itself from the basic instincts. But these instincts have not disappeared. They have merely lost their contact with our consciousness and are thus forced to assert themselves in an indirect fashion. This may be by means of physical symptoms in the case of a neurosis, or by means of incidents of various kinds, or by unaccountable moods, unexpected forgetfulness, or mistakes in speech… a modern man protects himself against seeing his own split state by a system of compartments. Certain areas of outer life and of his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another.

Thus, the dark shadow traits that we all possess accumulate in the corners of our unconscious minds, never becoming adequately integrated into our conscious minds because we never see our split state in the first place (due to our psychological defense mechanisms). And so we continue on accumulating these dark desires, motivations, and fears.




 

This lack of awareness of the Shadow Self – and the disconnection from our true Whole self – can be dangerous.

Through observing many of our inner work students, for example, I’ve come across certain individuals who have allowed their Shadow Selves to accumulate for so long that they’ve erupted and overpowered the person through depression or an unconscious accident that ended up manifesting their inner demons. The denial of the Shadow can lead to physical, emotional, psychological, and interpersonal consequences that last for a very long time.

 

Repression of the Shadow Self

It’s understandable that the process of becoming civilized requires us to repress aspects of ourselves that do not fit in with the structured ideal of our society. However, it comes at a great cost to us. We are born whole and complete, but we slowly learn to live fractioned lives, accepting some parts of our nature but rejecting and ignoring other parts.




A holiday to a different part of the world will show you how arbitrary some of these “good/bad” divisions are (that create the Shadow Self). In the West, for example, eye contact is perceived as confident and engaging, whereas in Japan it’s perceived as arrogant and rude. In the Middle East burping after a meal is a sign of pleasure, yet anywhere else in the world it’s seen as vulgar and uncouth. And in America, TV shows depicting violent murders are considered more acceptable than showing nudity or sexual acts, whereas in Europe it’s the complete opposite. These are just a few examples.

Basically, the repression of our negative traits or emotions in society is one of the biggest barriers in any person’s journey towards self-love and living authentically. How can you completely and wholeheartedly accept who you are if there are sides of yourself that you’re too afraid to explore?




2 COMMENTS

  1. …to deny any part of the ''self'' is to deny the whole self…this is the problem with people…denial of the ..truth…if a thing exists so too will it's opposite both must be considered…''Dirt under the ''rug'' is still dirt''…