Getting In Touch With Your Shadow Self
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung
Some of you are probably wondering what getting in touch with your shadow self means. The ‘shadow self’ is basically the term for everything we cannot see in ourselves. We create it by the way we deal with our unwanted feelings and thoughts. So therefore, we have created our own reality!
It is easy for us to accept that we have created our own reality when we make plans and carry them out for positive things to happen. Then it becomes a boost to our self-esteem, accepting credit when good fortune happens.
However, when something bad happens we tend to feel resentment, anger and fear. It becomes very easy to blame circumstances on others for our misfortune that seemed to be out of our control. From there we tend to seek sympathy from others to validate our feelings of self-pity. Oftentimes, when presented with the idea that we create our problems, we tend to rationalize it, reasoning why we would choose negative situations for ourselves.
Most of us go to great lengths to hide the shadow sides of ourselves. It is easier for us to point out the shadows of others before we recognize it in ourselves, seeing gifts in one area of life but remaining unaware of poor behavior in other areas.
We give up our power when we remain stuck in this thinking of helplessness.
We are all susceptible to this.
This is where doing shadow work can help us negate these behaviors; to help us live a happier life.
How the shadow self is created…
The process of the shadow self begins when we are children. Our parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., may have said or done something to us that stuck in our subconscious mind. Whatever was said created various emotions and feelings, such as fear, anger, etc. within us.
For instance, my dad told me as a young child that “children were to be seen and not heard unless spoken to”! The message that I was to be quiet and not speak unless spoken to created a fear within me toward authority figures, which affected my decisions throughout my life. I gave up my voice…my power. That is when my shadow self was created.
Shhhhhh…I had to be quiet so therefore I melded into the shadows of myself. I did not have a voice. It was not allowing me to be the true essence of my authentic self.
While I was doing shadow work, I discovered that my shadow self was the director of my life’s show. In discovering this, my shadow self and I had a chat and made amends. I now have a voice and I am no longer intimidated by authority figures. What I had realized was that I, myself as one, have authority over my life.
Why would you ever want to do shadow work and get in touch with all that is the unpleasant side of yourself?
The answer is to free yourself from letting your shadow self have control over you. It most likely has not cultivated happiness in your life, at least not on your terms. It causes fear within you, blocking you from moving forward, not allowing you to be your authentic self.
A few questions to ask yourself…
1. What personality traits in others really annoy you and make you angry?
• Example: A person that exhibits behaviors of being self-absorbed; all about ‘me’ attitude, very manipulative, selfish, hurtful, immature and irresponsible.
2. What would life be like be like for a person with certain toxic behaviors?
• Example: A toxically-absorbed person could be broke, lonely and unemployed. This person is emotionally unhealthy and feels ashamed.
3. How would you think this toxic person perceives you?
• Example: They might think you are too giving and have poor boundaries; that you are illogical and too sensitive.
4. What would happen if you were a little bit like the person that annoys you?
• Example: You could strive to get your needs met by being a little bit more assertive and having more fun in your life.
5. What kind of person would you be if you added a few of these qualities?
• Example: You could be a strong person who loves to have fun in life.
6. Have you been pushing these qualities deep within your core that you dislike?
• Example: You could be avoiding and suppressing the toxic behaviors that you see in others. You often put your needs last, always working hard, going out of your way for your friends and family. You may find yourself engrossed in self-reflection and having a strict self-discipline around healthy behaviors.
7. What can you do in becoming your true authentic self
• Example: When you are feeling overwhelmed and have expanded beyond your boundaries, you can take care of yourself first. Even when you are afraid, you ask others what you want and need, no matter what their reaction may be. You can strive to have a better balance of responsibility and fun in your life. You are true to yourself and authentic for yourself.
Doing shadow work can be very challenging, but at the same time it is a rewarding process. While working through the shadow self we gain mental clarity, creativity, personal awakening and the authenticity of who we are really meant to be.
Keep in mind that this is not an easy process. While working through the process of shadow work, give yourself permission to feel the emotions of anger, shame, guilt, sadness and frustration that may come forth. Honor them and see them for what they are. And then let them go. Nurture yourself with unconditional love and compassion.
When you encounter things that irritate you, think of them as a gift to help you learn about the different forms of your shadow self. Eventually you will welcome being annoyed. Over time these annoyances will become less and less as you learn to honor your commitments to yourself in your shadow work.
Being in a vulnerable state is that delicate place where we have the opportunity to unleash and experience deep unconditional love and a connection to our authenticity.
When you discover and embrace your worst fears, you step into your greatest self!
Shadow work liberates you from your story and heals you within.
I invite you to leave your comments below!
“Shadow work is the path of the Heart Warrior” ~ Carl Jung
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