The Shadow is essentially those parts of you that have been denied, repressed and disowned. We’re addressing the dark shadow here. You also have a light shadow.
Soul coach and shaman Mateo Sol takes a look at the birth of the shadow self, repression of the shadow self, and embracing the shadow self at the link below.
Embracing the shadow self isn’t about acting out the shadow self, it’s about owning and facing it, which allows for healing and integration.
You can only heal and integrate what you face. Doing so with love and acceptance creates a safe inner space to fully self-embrace.
The term “The Shadow” gets banded about quite a bit. What can be attributed to the shadow might not always be the shadow, however, which could lead to the bypassing other possible elements and intricacies. More on that below.
Recognizing The Shadow
You can consciously face, meet and own aspects of your shadow self within. Most often that shadow shows up in your outer world as reflection and projection since it is disowned, denied, repressed and more hidden from the conscious mind. Relationships of any kind present opportunities for those shadows to come to light as aspects of your consciousness manifest externally or get projected out onto others. This can also happen in families, groups and communities with scapegoating.
Isolated aspects of your shadow that show up ‘magnified’ in another might not be so easy to recognize, and if you’re feeling triggered/hurt/judgemental/angry/fearful/repulsed by something you’ll be less likely to own the possibility of it existing within you. Furthermore, when in the midst of challenging situations it can be hard to make sense of what’s going on, and you may lack clarity and insight, plus processing negative emotions that arise can be a valuable part of facing and healing what has been suppressed too.
It can be valuable to look back at people and situations when you’re less in the grip and thick of it to reflect on what may have been aspects of your shadow surfacing for healing/acceptance/integration and whatever else may have been going on.
What Is/Isn’t The Shadow?
There can be a multitude of reasons why something shows up in your life. ‘Bad’ experiences you create/allow/attract that might be attributed to the shadow could be limiting beliefs, stories and patterns, a lack of self-worth, self-love and feeling undeserving, ego agendas, opportunities for healing, growth and transformation, mistakes, misunderstandings, soul-level challenges, family patterns, guilt, shame, fear, sabotage, blessings in disguise, as examples. If any of the above are unconscious they can be part of your shadow too in that sense, but I delineate for an expanse of possibles.
Of course, what is or isn’t your shadow will depend on what your definition of the shadow is, so only accept what feels true for you here!
Check out Mateo Sol’s perspectives on the shadow, which includes some Jungian insights and why embracing your shadow leads to integration at this page.
I went through a patch of attracting sociopaths, something not unknown for empaths I discovered, but this was new to me at the time. I did a bunch of digging and discovered reasons for this beyond shadow integration. These included the balancing of polarities, archetypal roles, sacred contracts, unconscious myths, opportunities for healing wounds, deepening self-love and compassion, hidden fears of emotional intimacy (and other fears beneath those), expanding awareness, as examples. Life isn’t black and white, and neither are we.
You might not have the foggiest idea why something is happening. The “It’s your shadow” sticker might not always help if it blankets over or brings a full stop to any further reflections that might also be beneficial.
Mateo Sol shares perspectives on the shadow self at: www.globalloveproject.com/2017/05/shadow-self