Befriending my shadow

“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” ~C. G. Jung

I’ve spent years trying to ignore and/or outrun my shadow, but all that has done has made me considerably less good that I want to be—or imagine myself to be, in many cases. The times I got glimpses of my shadow were horrifying to me because what I saw was so ugly and because I was convinced that there was nothing I could do to change it.

Over the last few months, I’ve stopped running and started trying to face my shadow to see what is really in there. Being able to look at my shadow as a curious observer has not made it pleasant viewing by any means, but it has made me able to take a long, hard look without being driven to despair. I’m discovering that being more conscious of my shadow is allowing me to take steps to change the patterns that lead to that place.

The more open I am to seeing, the more aware of my shadow I’ve become. I’m finding glimpses of it everywhere as it’s mirrored back to me by others around me. Oddly enough, the more I make myself look, the stronger I am becoming and the more hopeful I am that I can improve.

With all this in mind, I came across a poem called Shadow by Joanna Tebbs Young on her Wisdom Within, Inc. blog today that really touched me.  The poem came from a dream she had, and I find the imagery of her dream to be beautifully haunting and hopeful. I hope you’ll take a moment to read her words, and I hope you find them as moving as I have.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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