The ‘shadow’ consists of all those characteristics that we would rather were not known about us and which we then repress.
By Vernon Sankey
26th January 2022
The ‘shadow’ consists of all those characteristics that we would rather were not known about us and which we then repress. Under ego’s influence, we deny, forget or ignore our shadow, willingly lying about it and dismissing its presence, in the hope that it will just go away.
But our shadow won’t go away. It is always with us. It is part of who we are.
Until we learn to confront it, openly and with awareness, and draw the lessons that it teaches us, we are condemned to act in ways which are, at the very least, highly destructive and very limiting, not to say fatal.
Most personal disasters are the result of an ‘unheard’ and ignored shadow. When we say we are our own worst enemies, we are actually referring to our shadow, even if we are unaware of its existence!
The young boy who is told to ‘man up’, not to cry (‘like a girl’!), to fight his own battles and ‘hit back’, will likely repress his gentler, kinder, more feminine side.
Later on, if not addressed, this repression may take the form of bullying, the inability to create lasting relationships, a general lack of empathy or the propensity for violence, especially against women.
Whole groups, even cultures and religions, sharing similar beliefs and thus harbouring similar repressions, may develop a ‘collective’ shadow, which can unleash the most horrifying and catastrophic of behaviours. World history, past and present, is replete with such examples.
Confronting our shadow and learning the lessons it is teaching us, is an essential part of managing our toxicity and finding ‘wholeness’. It is something the world needs to learn to do. ‘Shadow work’ is often a very painful, humbling, unsettling process.
But it is also transformative as we learn to understand ourselves, and it is The Way to Finding Peace, especially in turbulent times!