“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
Shadow – darkness expressed by a blockage of light. Shadow cannot exist without light, and all matter will project a shadow when exposed to light. Yet we often think of darkness and light as separate and paradoxical. Rather, they are parallel; and we are made up of each of them, whether we own it or not.
In fact, the less we choose to face and own our darkness, the more it will subconsciously, subtly direct our existence. The less we face our own shadow, the bigger the shadow we project. Think of this like the ways in which certain things about others, perhaps certain people in particular, really bother us. We are quick to call out these shortcomings because they trigger and agitate us. Offend us even. We can all think of an example for ourselves, of certain qualities held by certain people that really piss us off. Why do these things trigger us? Because we possess these same qualities. Someone else’s tendencies that bother us, bother us because they shed light on our own tendencies which we choose not to acknowledge because we are accustomed to being uncomfortable with recognising our shortcomings. They make us feel inadequate and unworthy, and quite often they have manifested in response to some sort of trauma or pattern, especially in our early life. Remember, trauma exists on many levels and can be something extremely simple that we completely overlook – it doesn’t have to be something monumentally damaging. What we don’t realise about facing our own shortcomings is that it doesn’t have to be a painful, shameful process. We are imperfectly human. We all deserve to be loved, seen, forgiven; regardless of our darkness. Especially because of our darkness. We are all a little damaged, and we are meant to be. Every speck of damage is what moves us closer to ourselves – to knowing ourselves more deeply and therefore being able to connect with others and our lives more deeply. And what happens when we do this work? We let the light in and we become whole. We step into our power. We have no energy for being pathetic, petty or even righteous; instead we become humble and deeply secure within ourselves and the totality of who we are. The aim of this work is to embrace our darkness, our weakness and pain, and to allow it to move us rather than resisting it… and through the process, finding our strength. Strength is not the ability to protect ourselves, rather it is the ability to make ourselves vulnerable.
So if there is any aspect of your journey or of who you are that feels uncomfortable; challenge yourself to befriend it. How do we do this? With love. Choosing love over fear is an intentional process that we will work with on the daily for the remainder of our time. It is not an easy path to walk and there is no destination. We will never reach a place of “healed”. We simply will continue to grow and if we dare to do the work, what we learn will become our expression of our lives. This is the same for what we don’t learn. Remember that.
Bringing that which we have disowned into the light, making it conscious, is our opportunity to be true to ourselves and to experience meaningful and authentic lives. Next time we catch ourselves judging, shaming or condemning another (or ourselves), may we consider that this person is hurting, learning and growing; and that behind the shadow of what we are focussing on is a light. A human who is worthy of love.
May we normalise that which we find dark & uncomfortable, for that is where our magic lies.
Disclaimer – the contents of this post is based on the opinion and personal beliefs of the author. If anything doesn’t resonate with your own personal beliefs, understandings or experiences; simply disregard it with the knowing that we are each entitled to our own values and we each have our own unique approaches to perceiving and living our lives. These publications do not aim to persuade, condescend or denigrate the beliefs of any of their valued readers, rather they are designed to inspire and shed light on ideas for the purpose of deeper connection. What is true for one person may be completely untrue for someone else and that is okay; that is what makes us human. We each have the power to design our own truth and interpretation. May these posts be received with love – just as they are written.