“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” – Carl Jung

From: https://scottjeffrey.com/shadow-work/

A while ago, I had to stand in court for a crime I didn’t do. Someone who was really pissed off with me wanted to sue me for harassment. Having no justification and no proper claims or evidence for it, she was asked to withdraw her case and not waste taxpayers’ money. The entire court session was actually really good for me because I learned so much about myself during the entire process. I wanted to focus on my own actions, how I could pick out the bits of what I didn’t like of myself so I could regenerate and improve as a person.

My bully was a person with many insecurities. But she also played very dirty, with little conscience on her hands. Amongst many accusations she made about me in court, she took one of my blogposts and submitted it to the court as evidence that i have a “violent nature”. In that post, I was describing about the one time my triggers were on high alert, and I flung a glass against a wall while acting out infront of Marco and our friends. I also shared that after the incident, I broke down crying because I knew I had reacted in a manner that wasn’t reflective of my best self. As I was crying, Marco asked if I had scared myself. It was in that moment, that I felt he understood me. He could see my anger being played out because I had so much repressed anger, anger I should have displayed when I was being bullied in the first place. Anger from my childhood, teenage years that I didn’t work through.

I wanted to share that incident to show people that anger is a part of the grieving process and the more we suppress it, the more it comes out unexpectedly, especially when our emotions are on a high and we aren’t able to control ourselves. I wanted to show people that it’s necessary to understand our “dark side” and befriend it, so we can dispel it and move through it, instead of being afraid of it.

Now that I’ve been studying psychology and philosophy for a while, I also know this to be called Shadow work.

What is the Shadow?

(taken from another site)

The shadow is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power.

All we deny in ourselves—whatever we perceive as inferior, evil, or unacceptable—become part of the shadow.

Anything incompatible with our chosen conscious attitude about ourselves relegates to this dark side.

The personal shadow is the disowned self. This shadow self represents the parts of us we no longer claim to be our own, including inherent positive qualities.

These unexamined or disowned parts of our personality don’t go anywhere. Although we deny them in our attempt to cast them out, we don’t get rid of them.

We repress them; they are part of our unconscious. Think of the unconscious as everything we are not conscious of.

We can’t eliminate the shadow. It stays with us as our dark brother or sister. Trouble arises when we fail to see it. For then, to be sure, it is standing right behind us.

Shadow work for me, was a game changer.

To actively seek out your shadow takes courage, and I hope to sow in you courage by proving to you that when you get past your fear of confront your shadow, you really do get a better idea of you are.

And knowing who you are…..is a superpower. Knowing exactly who you are – for all the things you think you should be ashamed of….things you are proud of….things you want to be grateful for…..is an ability we can ALL cultivate. Because it’s when we know ourselves, that we lose the idea that we need to be spectacular. We lose the concept of needing validation. We lost the fear of not being loved or wanted.

And of course, we are able to genuinely love ourselves.

We treat others the way we treat ourselves. When we don’t have love for ourselves, we won’t know how to project love for others. Love that they really desire and deserve.

What Happens When You Repress Your Shadow

So what happens to all the parts of ourselves we sweep out of view?

Whatever qualities we deny in ourselves, we see in others.

In psychology, this is called projection. We project onto others anything we bury within us.

If, for example, you get irritated when someone is rude to you, it’s a good bet you haven’t owned your own rudeness.

This doesn’t mean the person isn’t being rude to you. However, if rudeness wasn’t in your shadow self, someone else’s rudeness wouldn’t bother you so much.

This process doesn’t happen consciously. We aren’t aware of our projections.

Our egos use this mechanism to defend itself—to defend how it perceives itself. Our false identities of being “good” keep us from connecting to our shadow.

These psychological projections distort reality, creating a thick boundary between how we view ourselves and how we behave in reality.

Integrating our shadow into the concepts of ourselves is imperative if we want to fully grow into who we can be.

Understanding our Shadow is Understanding our Strength

You know what true strength is?

True strength is when you know you have the power to impact someone in a huge way, like the way you have power over a child……but you use it wisely. You control your own emotions by not letting them project unto them.

And how can you stop your projections from happening if you’re not in control of your emotions? Being in control means having a strong relationship with your body (the body often responds before your mind does) and being able to feel the wrath….feel all of that fire in your body, but snuffing it out so you don’t light someone else on fire.

That takes true courage, something that your bullies don’t have, which is why they hide in the dark, they fear people’s judgment of them.

Next time you’re being bullied, stand up for yourself with courage, and give them exactly what they deserve. Nothing more, nothing less. Show them the consequence of their actions, but pardon them the rest of your fury. Leave them be……and work on conquering your own Shadow.