Friday, August 26, 2005

The Shadow

We can’t make peace with others if we don’t first make peace with our shadow. Jung used the term a lot, to relate to those parts of ourselves that we disown and don’t like. We often project our shadow onto other people. Debbie Ford uses the same terminology a great deal and offers workshops on getting in touch with your shadow.

At any rate, our shadow develops throughout our life. We learn certain traits are good and others are bad. We try and display only those good traits and attempt to disown the bad ones. For instance, we often learn that it’s good to be hardworking and bad to be lazy. In our country we have a myriad of people who are workaholics because they are so afraid of being lazy. They look down upon those with less, believing that they have less because they are lazy, though in fact that may not be the case at all.

The more we disown our shadow the larger it grows. The more we disown our shadow, the less of our true nature is allowed to come out. Women may find that it’s okay to be nice and caring and helpful but not okay to be assertive. So their assertiveness gets hidden but comes out now and again as a bitch. This is the shadow. Those women who have the most trouble with assertiveness often become the victims of other bitches and don’t know why.

There are many places that can help people find their inner shadow. Here it is important enough that someone understand the concept and realize that those things we hate most may be the very things that are in our shadows. We may hate judgmental people, only to find that deep down, we ourselves are judgmental. It can be very disconcerting when that happens. Yet we must open to that. We must realize that we are judgmental before we can find true compassion for those that we have found to be judgmental.

We have all traits, not just the good ones we like to see. We also have their opposites. For those who judge themselves harshly, they need to realize they do have good traits as well. We must realize that each one of us encompasses good and bad. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses and abilities. We must realize that we all have potentials. Then we must embrace the worst our potentials (although this does not mean to act on them) with compassion in order to see the best of our enemies. It is then that we can offer true compassion to others. It is only then that we can really see how interrelated and alike we all are.


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