A shadow is something that lives in the corners of our inner selves. The dark side of us that we unconsciously pushed. We see ourselves for all that we would like to be, but not always all that we are, hid, and abandoned deep within ourselves.
Everyone desires a perfect life – one full of positivity, one that can’t be judged, one that lives by the standards of society. However, despite the struggle everyone makes to achieve such a pleasant life, no one has been able to acquire it. But along the path of struggling, we try to abandon those that we think would be crucial to our goals. Following the glimmering light of positivity overpowers that of our negative self. But like they say, every light casts a shadow, one that would remain in the abandoned part of our minds.
How does the shadow give us trouble?
Since our shadows are part of our unconscious minds, it works without us noticing. The only time when we notice something’s done by it is when we end up having disproportionate reactions to negative qualities in others.
Consider a situation where you have a friend whom you know lives a happy-go-lucky lifestyle – always taking things easy, really spontaneous, has no control over their expenditures and doesn’t really mind if they spend their money on things of no value. You’re critical of how he lives his life and how he doesn’t have control over it.
If you begin to reflect on it, you realize that this overly judgemental person is not who you’re used to being however it is still your own thinking, your own mind, your shadow. You see that the fact that you deprived yourself of an easy life and small pleasures that you became critical of their lives.
By meeting your shadow and getting to know them, you understand who you really are, especially those unconscious feelings and desires that you have within you. These are the things you have denied yourself along your struggles. We see ourselves for all that we would like to be, but not always all that we are.
How does knowing our shadow help us improve ourselves?
Meeting our shadow and accepting it allows us to embrace all that we are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Such acceptance will help us heal. It will help us regulate our mood and improve relationships, most importantly ourselves. Befriending our shadow helps us accept our whole self, not just our superior self but also the inferior one.
Accepting the disclaimed parts of ourselves makes us experience the emotions we deprived ourselves knowing that they are also our own.
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