Uncovering your Shadow Self.
The majority of people are unaware that we have a shadow side to our personality, they think that what they see is all we are. Our friends and family see us differently at times to what we see ourselves and we are often unaware of what that is or how they could have come to the conclusion that they have. This might be the shadow side of us, that we hide from our own consciousness. Learning this and uncovering that shadow can be the greatest gift in life we give ourselves.
Our shadows lurk in our personality, they can be the greatest asset we have towards moving forward powerfully in life or they can be the biggest reason we hold ourselves back from being our true selves. Our Shadow Self can be the reason our subconscious or conscious can’t find balance in our life, or live a life full of abundance, joy and inner peace.
Learning what these rascally shadows are, facing them head on, accepting them into our personality as being the truth, forgiving yourself for having these shadows and seeing the advantages they bring to our life, is what gives them the positive power to propel us forward so we can reach our potential dreams.
What is our shadow self?
A shadow is the dark thing that is always projected behind you, with the sun light shining at you the shadow is always behind you, but the same goes for personality shadows, it is the dark part of you that is hidden at the back of the light that is shone on you which is why it is hard for you to see. In other words it is the part of you that you don’t want to see or anyone else to see.
Carl Jung coined the term as a part of our personality and memory that houses our insecurities and fear of vulnerability. Shadows are created by our ego to protect us from harm, they live in the deep dark confines of our mind, we avoid, disown and keep them in the dark protecting them vigilantly guarding them against being seen by anyone including ourselves or others.
“no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspect of the personality as present and real” Jung (1959)
What happens if I ignore my Shadow Self?
Our actions or behaviour are dictated by what we think and what we believe to be true, so ignoring the shadows may be automatic and unintentional as they could be either unconscious or conscious thoughts. The result is we either take on board these thoughts as the truth and run away from facing the issues directly.
Are shadows the same for everyone?
Our own shadows are exhibited differently to everyone else’s, consequently we have a different response to others at times to events, people and situations that happen in our life. It is why we all react differently. Our shadows can have a marked influence on our thoughts, emotions and behaviour which effects our productivity and personal performance. A shadow comprises mainly of primal, negative emotions that often arise from past hurts, painful memories, emotional blockages and events from our childhood that have not been processed and pushed aside into the deep dark part of our brains.
Shadows reflect outwards in our behaviours as rage, envy, greed, desire, lack of self-esteem, hatred, laziness, unloving, manipulation, fake or fear of these things. It often shows up as excessive criticism and judgement to your selves and manifests as repeated cycles of toxic destructive behaviour. Our shadow selves are where life-force gets trapped, holding us back from being our true selves.
How to uncover our shadow self?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
Facing your own demons can be painful, hard, slow and very unpleasant, but well worth the effort so you can reach your own greatness. It is also work you will never be finished doing as more and more shadows come to the surface of the brain, but with time you will process these shadows faster and much more easily. Initially you may like to work with someone who can gently take you through the emotions that will arise, but once again with time this will become easier to tackle on your own.
A great question to start and ask yourself is “What do I not want to be judged as?”.
Best Tips to Uncovering your Shadow Self
Face your emotions head on.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung
The answer to this question will bring up some emotions, be honest with yourself, let the emotions arise, feel them and be compassionate with yourself. Journal all your thoughts, let the words flow and don’t hold back.
Ask yourself why you are feeling this way, don’t judge yourself and fall victim to the guilt, shame or remorse of what happened.
Ask what has triggered this feeling and what were the situations that made you react this way, be compassionate but don’t attach yourself to these emotions, let the tears flow and you keep writing.
Take your time, sit with the emotions, write about all your emotions, feel the feelings and write about these feelings. Have patience with yourself and accept the way you feel.
We all feel negative emotions, we all have rage, jealousy, disappointment, spite, greed, sadness, fear, envy, because we are all human.
Accept your emotions and shadows
By surrendering to the healing process and accepting the pain we are feeling, not turning away from it, but bringing the deep emotional blockages and the self-limiting patterns we have lived our life to, to the light, and becoming familiar and acquainted with them, and claiming these shadows as being a part of you, opens our heart and mind, bringing our sub-conscious, conscious and super-conscious back into alignment of our true selves re-awakening our self-worth, self-respect and self-love.
If you need to write a forgiveness letter to the people who hurt you, or you hurt, to your younger self who knew no better, then do so, so you are free to move on. (You don’t need to post this letter, but burn it and give it back to the universe for completion.)
Advantages and Positive Power in owning your shadow self
After you have done this work you will be aware of all the benefits you have gained by having this shadow in your life, you will have an increased level of consciousness, you will be more aware of what your thought patterns are, what you believe to be the truth and the thoughts that are no longer serving you or beneficial for your higher self. You will learn to accept every part of yourself and express all these parts if you choose to do so.
The emotional healing from acknowledging the trauma in your life allows for an emotional stability improving your self-confidence and health, you will end self-sabotage, improve your relationships, become happier and become your authentic self.
Life really is a choice and with a heightened increase in awareness of your light and shadows you have the ability to choose your own direction and change various aspects without the limitation of old unwanted beliefs holding you back or sub-consciously controlling your behaviour.
Regardless of all the good and bad, by living a life full of choice and self-expression that is fulfilling and rewarding without regret is why doing and constantly re-visiting your shadow self is so important.