This topic is a heavy-hitting one for me, and a concept that I only really grasped in recent months after discovering Debbie Ford’s classic The Dark Side of The Light-Chasers.
The idea of your “shadow-self” comes from one of the world’s greatest psychologists, Carl Jung (from Switzerland!). He was a student of Freud, but went on to expand on many of Freud’s ideas and really developed a much different way of viewing the human psyche. The concept of a person’s shadow is the idea that we project all of the aspects of ourselves that we do not want to accept onto others around us. The things we see in others that we hate, are really parts of ourselves that we dislike and have shut ourselves away from. These projections are facets that we do not want to accept as part of who we are, so we apply them to other people as a way to distance ourselves from them.
The first time I heard this, I thought the concept was crazy. You’re telling me that everything I don’t like about other people- is somehow related to issues I have with myself?! I mean that concept is so hard to grasp and accept, but the more and more I listened to Debbie Ford’s book, the more it made sense to me. I also started seeing it everywhere in my life, and even with the most difficult aspects I somehow found a way to relate them all back to portions of my own inner psyche.
Now the idea is that as you come to recognize these outer aspects as parts of yourself, they lose their effect on you. You simply stop noticing the things in other people that used to bother you so much, because you’ve accepted those things and chosen to “re-own” those disowned parts of your personality.
Basically- by accepting the things that you think you hate about other people, you can live a healthier, happier and more fulfolled life, and get along with those around you much easier.
Again, I know this sounds just as crazy the first time anyone hears about it as it did for me, but if you are truly committed to living the happiest and most authentic life possible- this is a concept that you cannot ignore.
The shadow self actually SHOWS you the things that you need to work on in yourself. Rather than hating that terrible driver on the road, realize “…wow, I guess I’m a terrible driver”– and its true! Chances are you’ve done the same exact thing that you hate the guy infront of you on the road for doing. This situation plays out in so many different areas of our lives that you will be astounded when you start noticing it.
So this is a short post on that concept. I really wanted to get that out there and in words, because I’ve been working with it a lot these days and have listened to The Dark Side of The Light Chasers 3 or 4 times now to get a better handle on it.
If this post has helped you out in any way, or if you have any questions, start the dialogue below. This is a concept that is easily ignored because no one ever really wants to admit there are things they don’t like about themselves, but be the person who is willing to take that deep introspective look. You will grow as a result of your efforts.