Embracing Your Shadow Self

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, the one I feed the most.”

Two WolvesGood and evil exists within us. Carl Jung looked at the subject of good vs evil in a very different light. According to him, one cannot deny the existence of the dark side in oneself.

We all are susceptible to negative emotions, consciously or unconsciously, that is why chemistry recognizes so many negative hormones within a human body. Jung named this particular existing “dark side” in humans – Shadow.

A shadow is “sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life.”

Jung wrote, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

jung-quotesOur ego likes to think that we are inherently good human beings and we don’t dwell in any negativity. But then one day when somebody hurts us, we go overboard with anger and resentment.

In another situation, if we experience failure or someone unexpectedly points a finger at us, we are suddenly filled with fear, confusion and guilt. Our first instinct in such situations usually is to defend ourselves and protect our identity.

We can feel the vulnerability in our stomach but we manage to put up a face and justify as much as we can. Once the situation is over, our conscious mind forgets about it because there are plenty of other things to deal with.

Neuroscientists recently proved that human thoughts have rhythms and frequency which has a major influence on our behavior, and good and evil are facets of human behavior.

The vulnerability and anger, which you truly felt, never got a chance to display itself and it got stored in your shadow, which is resurfacing time and again in the form of insecurity and negativity, acting as a catalyst to negative actions.

This storehouse of emotions in your shadow has an immense role to play in your relationship with yourself, particularly in setting yourself free. The world is simply a mirror, reflecting back to us our own inner state.

If you are overflowing with love for yourself and others, you’ll experience people who are feeling this love and their love is reflected back towards you. On the other hand, if all you see in your outer world is disharmony, anger and fights, then there must be an inner battle happening deeper inside.

Unless we come to terms with our own dark side, we’re condemned to be its victim. The effect of non-confronted shadow is immense – need to control, need to exert power, need to show supremacy out of INSECURITY.

It’s the shadow that is ruling the consciousness and becoming the root cause of turbulence in oneself which is continually projecting itself on others.

Confronting the Shadow

According to medical psychology, our consciousness must confront the shadow for a sound mind and body. The shadow needs to be sublimated in order to break free from its chains.

Consciousness is never bounded; it’s inherently free. Jung noted that to achieve wholeness largely depends on the ability to own their own shadow. What does owning our shadow mean?

Your ego doesn’t like your shadow. So, it subsides all the possible chances you take to figure out things that weigh you down. Nonetheless, you can begin the journey by self-observation and introspection.

You can start by making mental notes of negative feelings, which leads to contraction of energy in your body. Once you reach to the root of the feeling, what you want to do with it will be at your command. You might want to convert it into something positive to be at peace and rise to a higher self.

Once you have acknowledged the existence of anger and vulnerability to yourself, you will figure out a conscious solution to deal with it.

It will no longer have the power to unconsciously rule over you. Your shadow will become your friend which will help in overcoming the thoughts that bring you down.

A thought that feeds your energy is good for expansion of your consciousness and a thought that lowers your energy is contracting your consciousness (false consciousness). Good vs evil is better understood in terms of expansion and contraction of collective feeling of humanity!

“The higher the sun rises, the less shadow it casts.” ~ Lao Tzu

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Carl Jung

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