The SHADOW-SELF EXPLAINED
We are born as whole, little beings, but along the way we acquire baggage. The shadow-self is the baggage we carry around with us. And the worst part is, we usually can’t see what’s back there. We literally, subconsciously block this shadow-self or reject it at some point in our lives because we feel a deep sense of shame. Shame in childhood tends to be the DEEP shadow stuff, as children are dependent beings who need love and nurturing in order to survive. Therefore, if we are shamed for a quality, behavior, or a physical aspect we embody, or we witness our caretakers shame others outside of us, including our peers or teachers, it means we might not continue receiving the love and nurturing that we need in order to survive in society. Therefore, we reject those qualities, behaviors, and physical aspects of self. We stick them back into what’s called our shadow.
Now, some of you (but not many) may be saying, “but I had the greatest, most loving, supportive caretakers.”
Shame is all relative, and it doesn’t have to come from our parents. It could come from our peers at school, teachers, aunts, uncles, or what our parents think of/reject within themselves or in each other, and what they think of/reject about other people, media, friends, lovers, or society at large. Small shame is still shame. As tribal beings, we want to be accepted and loved, so we morph to fit into those parameters. What we are today isn't our authentic selves. It's simply a well built shell that became safe along the way. Here is an example:
As a child, your mother might have had her own unresolved shadow and inner child issues; therefore, she rejected her body and weight because society says you should have a thin body like the models in the magazines. Therefore, your mom was constantly on you, “ eat healthily, don’t eat this, or that, workout, and if you eat that then you’ll gain weight.” Therefore, you reject the love of your natural perfect body size, and you begin to project that rejection onto others around you. You mentally judge them for being heavy. Or if they are heavy, you judge the fact that they are eating so much unhealthy food. You might even subconsciously reject your own body so much that you become addicted to working out and taking fitness and dieting too far — deeply unaware that the solution isn’t in dieting and fitness. Though a healthy lifestyle is certainly advantageous, it's impossible to reach until you integrate the love for your body exactly where it is.
When we are judging others or when we are triggered by them, it's because they are representative of something we had to reject about ourselves and place into our shadow.
This brings us to projections in relation to the whole human spectrum.
Here are the facts:
i. Whatever we don't own about ourselves, we project onto others by judging them or rejecting them.
ii. Qualities we do not own have a charge. When people around us threaten or trigger these qualities, we will get charged, judgmental, annoyed, jealous, angry, etc.
iii. Other people mirror back our hidden emotions and feelings (aspects of self).
iv. We attract what we have denied in ourselves. If we don't like angry people, we will attract them, for they are an invitation for us to integrate our suppressed anger . If we don’t like dramatic friendships, they will continue to come into our lives, for we are needing to integrate the drama aspect of ourselves where it doesn't feel safe to be "dramatic" (vulnerable, communicative, emotional). If we hate liars, liars will continue to present themselves in our life until we detect the wounded liar in us and integrate it.
v. The world is a giant mirror that reflects us back to us.
vi. What we judge in others is a subconscious reaction to what we have denied in ourselves.
viii. Projection is the greatest gift and a beautiful indicator, or roadmap, that shows us what we need to integrate into ourselves.
ix. If I embrace each projection, I will no longer be upset, controlled, or activated by others. I will stop attracting into my life the people who possess these projected aspects.
I want each of you to take a few minutes to really process and absorb these concepts entirely. They are the roadmap for this workshop. It’s usually quite hard for the shadow to see itself. Projections are our maps to rediscovering all missing aspects of ourselves.
WHOLE HUMAN SPECTRUM
Here are the facts:
i. Each of us embodies the entire human spectrum.
ii. Every trait is there for a reason and all traits are perfect.
In order to truly integrate into a holistic human being (love), we have to fully absorb that every one of us embodies the whole human spectrum. In order for us to completely kill the shadow, we have to accept all of these aspects within ourselves. THE FULL SPECTRUM. This means, the murderer, rapist, fraud, liar, assaulter, thief, you name it. The ugliest, darkest parts of humanity have to be accepted just as well. Without entirely accepting that the full spectrum (the world) is inside of us, we continue to allow the world outside to control us. I’ve done a lot of work around this. It’s ugly, and sometimes hard to relate to, but it’s been incredibly liberating. Truth be told, if any of us had been born with the same brain chemistry, or had undergone the same abuse, or programming as the people who act out these aspects of self, we would be just as capable of these monstrous acts.
PAGES • From this day on, and hopefully forever, I want you to dedicate ten pages in your notebook to hidden aspects of self. This will be a space where you can list projections of self that you begin to discover, so you can come back to the tools you learn in here and continue to work them out until the end of time.
Try to boil each aspect down to its essence and into one word. You'll know you've hit the right word if you would have an egoic reaction if someone called you this. The more emotional the charge, the more you know you've hit the shadow.
Here's an example:
You want to spin and deduce your judgments of others, or the way that others are making you feel, until you find the essence/word with the biggest ego or emotional reaction for you personally. For example, say you have a strong projected judgment of a co-worker. You judge (project) that " She thinks she’s better than everyone else." This means you were most likely not allowed to feel good enough or better than others when you were young. Or you were programmed to believe you’re less than others, or when you’re prideful, you're unloveable.
Therefore, when you're triggered, your feelings boil down to this old programming, making you feel "disrespect" or "not respected." But then you realize that it doesn't give you a gut reaction if someone were to say "I don't respect you," so then you try, "you're not good enough." This brings the fight out in you, or even tears. Then you know you've hit on a denied aspect that was programmed along the way through shame, to believe you’re unworthy and not good enough — it's been hiding in your shadow.
It has nothing to do with this exterior person thinking she is better than everyone. That is the subconscious position you put yourself in, for you're carrying "not good enough" in your shadow everywhere you go.
Now, you can work through the exercises below:
THREE • For the sake of this workshop, I’d like you to find at least three of the most activating aspects that you discover today (or are presently aware of at this time in your consciousness). You're welcome to work on as many as you'd like, but having at least three will allow you to continue this workshop with depth and continuity, so you can truly learn how to use and implement the tools.
For today, observe your judgment about other people. From someone in the street to someone who is currently bringing you pain.
i .Write down what are the most upsetting aspects about these people. Boil them down to a word.
ii. Write down the family, friends, and people around you who you judge or are activated by.
iii. Write down the advice you give to other people to help them today.
If today, through these simple observations, you still haven’t found three denied aspects of yourself, then read this list over slowly with “I am” in front of every word. Meditate on how you'd really feel if someone called you these. When you get an activated or emotional reaction, these are the hidden aspects of self that you will work on integrating.
Not Good Enough
* adapted from Light Chaser.