We all have a shadow self and it’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, if you embrace it and learn to work with it, your life and relationships can get easier. Identifying your shadow can be a bit tricky because of your natural resistance to it. Even the term “shadow” suggests something dark, scary, and shameful. If you suffer from frequent emotional outbursts, melancholy, procrastination, self-doubt, dependence on others, or avoidance, it may be a sign you need to integrate your shadow side. True self-love comes from accepting and embracing every facet of your personality. If there are parts of yourself you are ashamed of and try to hide, it’s time to take a deep, honest look at your shadow self. Are you ready to fully embrace your personal power?
If you’re wondering how your shadow self is affecting your life, seek guidance with a psychic advisor today.
What is Your Shadow Self?
The shadow self, or dark side, of your personality, is comprised of basic human emotions. You may even call it primitive. It’s where our raw emotions live, such as jealousy, sexual desire, anger, and survival. Your shadow self is the part of your personality that you don’t show everyone right away. Only those who know you personally will see your shadow self traits. These characteristics are rough, vulnerable, and messy, and you may even find it difficult to accept them yourself. We all have a conscious personality we show the world that fits our “ideal self.” It’s normal to want to be perceived as perfect, but it’s not honestly who we are. The truth is imperfect and that’s ok.
Many people find it embarrassing to show this side because they have decided it is wrong and it doesn’t fit neatly into their public persona. No one wants to admit they are lazy, envious, or greedy at times. As a result, these desires get repressed and swept under the rug in secrecy and shame. As with anything you actively ignore, it continues to fester until it negatively affects your life. It’s impossible to eliminate your shadow self because that would be denying a part of who you really are. Instead of denying your shadow self, it’s important to embrace it so you can operate in harmony instead of being at war with yourself.
Does Everyone Have a Shadow Self?
Yes, everyone has a shadow self. From newborn babies to elderly people, we all have a shadow self. It evolves as we do. When we’re children, we have no qualms with expressing our shadow side. We cry, scream, throw tantrums, and laugh even if it’s not appropriate. As we go through life, we all encounter experiences that cause us regret, fear, shame, and self-judgment. We learn rules and behaviors from society. Sometimes these social structures don’t fit with whom we feel we really are, but we yield to them because of our basic human desire to survive in a group. To fit in, we adjust ourselves, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be at times. We push our true desires, feelings, and thoughts, into the shadows where they remain repressed for years.
Is Your Shadow Self Good or Bad?
Despite the negative connotations associated with your shadow self, it’s neither good nor bad. Just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. It’s important to relabel this part of yourself and start to affiliate it with positive meaning so you can begin positive, healing work. It all comes down to the individual and how they label parts of themselves. You were taught that “bad” things are rejected and “good” things are accepted. You were shown that to belong in society you had to be “good”. At the end of the day, this is a social construct created by humans and it’s not right or wrong.
It’s like night and day. Neither is good or bad. Both are necessary and healthy for a balanced Earth. As you grow older, you are conditioned through rewards and punishments. It’s the negative feedback you receive that causes you to associate certain parts of yourself as “bad” and undesirable. Therefore, it is imperative you integrate your light and dark sides to achieve balance. Instead of calling parts of your shadow side words like bad, negative, faults, problems, etc., replace those terms with gifts, strengths, and blessings.
Carl Jung and Psychological Projection
“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” ~ Carl Jung
Carl Jung was a psychoanalyst and is known as the founder of analytical psychology. He popularized the idea of the shadow self. His research had a major impact on modern psychology, especially the understanding of the human psyche. He believed your personality is made up of different personas. Some aspects of your personality are learned as good, and you consciously nurture them. Other aspects are learned as bad and those are the parts of yourself you suppress and push down into your subconscious. Psychological and emotional problems, anxiety, compulsions, and even addictions can arise due to these repressed parts of yourself.
This can also lead to psychological projections onto other people, negatively affecting your relationships with others. The things you dislike about yourself will become glaring and prominent in other people. If you’re not integrated with your shadow side, you will judge and criticize other people for doing the same thing you are. If you’re in denial about your unresolved personality traits, then you are a ticking timebomb of resentment and projection outbursts onto others. Projections come across as criticism, judgment, and blame on another. You will never be able to properly accept and love another person if you cannot accept and love yourself first.
Embracing Your Shadow Self
Doing shadow work is not easy, but it’s necessary to live a happy, healthy life. If you’re ready to embrace your “dark” side and peacefully join the two sides of your perfectly imperfect personality, here are some ways you can do so.
Attend therapy – This is a healthy practice to have anyway, but it’s also helpful to discuss shadow work with a trained professional. A therapist acts as an objective, nonjudgmental party and can help you break down and assess your triggers, reactions, and blocks. Therapy provides a safe space where you can show all your personality and get honest and helpful feedback on how your subconscious may be affecting your life.
Non – judgmental Observation- Learn to observe your emotions without labeling or judging them. A good visual is to pretend you’re in a theater watching yourself on a screen or you’re in a tree looking down on yourself walking by. Don’t judge what you see, just watch it calmly. Take in everything you are doing and how you are acting without emotion as if nothing is “wrong” at all. Think of a scientist watching a new species of bird. Nothing the bird does is “wrong” or “bad”. It just is. Everything it does is fascinating.
Journaling – Writing down your thoughts and feelings honestly is a great exercise. It’s helpful to go back and review what happened on a particular day, what triggered you, why you felt the way you did, and how it can be remedied. Hindsight is always 20/20 and reflecting on the days when you were happy versus the days you struggled is a powerful way to gain an understanding of the self.
Meditation – This is a great tool to practice non-judgmental observation of yourself. Meditating calms the mind and lowers stress in your body. When you are in a calm state, emotions and triggers affect you less and you can more clearly see through to the heart of a matter. Observe what happened throughout your day without expectations, ego, or judgment.
Suppressing Your Shadow Self
Ignoring your shadow self will lead to bigger problems in the long run. It’s not only unhealthy for you but it can affect your personal and working relationships. The more you suppress your shadow side, the greater the power it has over you, and that burden can become extremely heavy after 20 years. It can manifest itself in terrible ways such as mental illness, physical ailments, anxiety, addictions, chronic sickness, self-loathing, and isolation. You will never be able to reach your full potential if you continuously keep yourself down. Suppressing your shadow side is how you keep yourself paralyzed. You will be in a constant state of discontentment and yearning if you refuse to integrate both sides of your personality.
Curious about your shadow self? Speak with a trusted Keen advisor today.
It’s incredibly liberating when things you used to feel ashamed about no longer have power over you. It may be uncomfortable at first, but no longer disowning parts of yourself and embracing them instead, will bring you a sense of relief you never thought possible. You will greatly benefit from shadow work and your relationships with yourself, your family, your children, your romantic partner, and your colleagues will drastically improve as well. Integrating your shadow self is the greatest gift you can give yourself. You deserve to fully love yourself, without exception.