We have talked in this forum about self-love and what seems opposite to it – shame. Shame is a component of our shadow-self. When we are conscious of what our shame is about, it is not be considered shadow (it is not hidden in darkness). However, when we are unaware of how and why we feel shame, then it is part of our shadow. Our shadow is what keeps us from self-love and is part of what keeps us embroiled in shame.
The concept of the shadow in psychotherapy is Carl Jung’s term for the unconscious parts of us that we disown. We project aspects of our own negative emotions and thoughts onto others yet we don’t understand that it is our own projections that we see in others. These qualities are self-perpetuating – we feel guilty, fearful, shameful, selfish, and project these shadow qualities onto others, which in turn keeps us from greater and deeper self-love.
The shadow is created by our own unconscious judgment that an emotion or thought is incompatible with your core self. If we judge that fear is weakness and thus shameful, it retreats into the darkness (away from the light of consciousness). If our feelings of sexuality bring up negative emotion, they too retreat.
Think of the parable of “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.” The mild-mannered Dr. Jekyl is periodically overtaken by the evil Mr. Hyde. Yet Dr. Jekyl remains unaware of Mr. Hyde’s dark behavior, and even his very existence.
We all know that light overtakes and conquers darkness. It is only by bringing the shadows and judgments to light that we can understand and heal them.
Deborah Cohen at Soul Wisdom Therapy will begin a new group addressing this topic in January 2015. This group will be about helping you bring core shadow elements from unconscious darkness to conscious light of day and then coming to accept these qualities in ourselves and ultimately embrace them. At that point, they can dissolve, or provide an avenue for more clearing work to be done. Join us and shine a light into the darkness. Click here for more information.