Whether we wanted to or not
which always brings to mind
the 1993 movie starring
Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell
which finds him reliving the same day
over and over again
when as a weatherman
he goes on location to the small town of
P U N X S U T A W N E Y
to film a report about their annual Groundhog Day.
His predicament drives him to distraction
until he sees a way of turning the situation
to his advantage. . .
which has had us not only
“THIS FEELS LIKE GROUNDHOG DAY”
during our way-too-long-pandemic. . .
and it’s done a little to maybe
help us recognize
not so much our own personal
as we dare catch a glimpse of
OUR SHADOW. . .
Here could be the big
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm of it all:
Know Yourself by Knowing Your Shadow
Understanding Carl Jung’s Concept of The Shadow. . .
I recently perused an article by Brenden Weber that pulled back the curtain on THE SHADOW
Have you ever wondered, how well do you really know yourself? As Plato once said, “know thyself.”
Typically, when we contemplate whether we know ourselves, the thoughts that come into our minds are our desires, values, and beliefs about the universe. These characteristics we form around ourselves is our code; something the “I” we create for ourselves identifies with. That saying, ‘every man has a code,’ we all do. You have a code that you see the world through and make decisions with, it’s the conscious ego. That code is customizable and changeable.
But what can we do with this awareness? We can ask ourselves, who am I? That’s really the most reliable thing you have, knowing yourself.
We all create this belief system we follow — the identity of you — that is your moral code, your sense of duty, your sense of purpose; the identity that becomes the driving force for action.
But is that truly you?
Ask yourself, have you ever done or said anything — on impulse — that you regretted afterward? You get frustrated and down on yourself — you scream in your head, “why did I say that?” And if that doesn’t relate, think of a time where you had this sudden emotional reaction — out of anger — that had you wondering, why couldn’t I control my emotions? My anger.
Those moments are us coming face to face with our shadow self.
As psychologist Carl Jung said:
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
The shadow within all of us is the parts of us we deny in ourselves and cast out into our own inner abyss. That abyss is the place within ourselves that our conscious ego has tried to forget about. We lock it up and throw away the key, yet it’s still there screaming, yelling, and demanding control over your actions.
Seeing the shadow within us is difficult, it’s in that black abyss of our mind that is difficult to enter, as it’s hard to face.
Yet, the judgmental creatures that we humans are, we are good at seeing those shadow traits in others, but not ourselves.
Think of your favorite celebrities and public figures. When a story of cheating in a relationship, corruption, or simply a public display of anger from one of them, the public quickly moves to pass judgment.
This judgment is a reaction that protects us from admitting to ourselves that those thoughts, reactions, and emotions lie within us. This idea is what Jung calls “projection.”
You see, our conscious mind wants to avoid our own shadow, yet our subconscious wants us to acknowledge that abyss of the shadow self, but instead of going into the abyss of our minds — our own shadow — we project and amplify the flaws of others.
We notice these shadow traits of aggression, carelessness, materialism, hatred, envy in the projections we create of others. But that projection becomes a reflection of you: a denial of the perceived inferior qualities and evils that we do not want to admit is deep within us.
We set our conscious mind on the throne of our ego.
Imagine that throne being a giant iceberg, your ego is the tip floating above the water, but that unconscious mind is where the shadow lurks in the endless mountain of ice that lies beneath.
To understand this, imagine a time you had a friend confront you about a fault, something as simple as arriving late to everything. When confronted you are met with this overwhelming rage for a moment. That rage is from your friend hitting the iceberg beneath the surface, the nerves you weren’t aware of, thus lack control of.
For Jung, when we deny the shadow, the more control it has of your thoughts, actions, and reactions.
As he said:
“everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
Those projections are ways of passing blame for those perceived negative emotions we have ourselves. If we are not aware this is happening, we project our negative traits upon others, blaming them for our own shortcomings and our own lack of personal happiness.
So how do we work with our shadow?
For one, we must become aware of it — dive into the abyss with it — and integrate it into the whole of our conscious ego. If we deny the shadow, we allow it to control us while providing our ego the illusion of control.
We must identify possible origins for our shadow triggers, such as repressed trauma, pain, fear, and aggression.
We must then integrate our shadow by acknowledging those parts in our everyday lives. With this knowledge of those parts, only then can we unlock the wisdom that being aware of it brings.
So instead of allowing fear to control us, we choose courage; instead of pain, we see an opportunity for strength; instead of allowing the trauma to define us, we see it as an opportunity for understanding; instead of allowing aggression to overcome us, we see an opportunity to find our passion.
This understanding bleeds into our interactions with others, instead of meeting other shadows with our own irrational shadow, we meet it with compassion by knowing it’s a trigger they’ve not fully understood and integrated into themselves.
Jung said beautifully about what integrating your shadow into the whole can bring:
“Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.”
You see, changing the world begins with knowing yourself. . .
R I G H T ?
Hey. . .
is already in the rearview mirror
for another year
but THE SHADOW. . .
I know sometimes it feels like we live Groundhog Day
every day just like the movie. . .
and even though we most likely know
that’s not exactly true
When is there a day
that we don’t ever live
without our shadow. . . ?
The ones we make
the ones we create
the ones we try to hide from
the ones we don’t always want to notice—
The real kicker
is most of the time
we don’t actually acknowledge
that it takes light to make the shadow. . .
can be self created
and lived in. . .
The Shadow’s purpose
may not always have meaning
may not always feel like it has a purpose—
look closer. . .
See what the shadow is actually shading
but never quite masking. . .
. . .and know your
Personal Power Source
not only not only enables