One of the traps of self-development, it seems, is that it’s so connected with wanting to improve, wanting to be “the best version of yourself”, wanting to improve yourself.
Having some kind of image of the way that I want to be, and then I want to improve to bend my life towards being like that ideal image of, you know, this “Oh, I could be- you know, I don’t have to be a lazy bum.
I could be amazingly productive, and I could be doing these great things and having success and helping people and you know, being a a person with great self-control and good habits.
And you know, we can imagine ourselves, this version of ourselves, like you know, you get up at dawn and you do your meditation, do your exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, and then get to work on your business, and get things done, and then at the end of the day just peacefully go to sleep and then do it again.
And then however you imagine your ideal self.
And it’s great.
It’s great to imagine ways that we can- we have so many options of how we’re going to live, and so to have this kind of vision of an ideal self, that seems like that can be a helpful sort of frame to maybe make some of our decisions in.
We can sort of imagine well, you know, what would this ideal person do? And it can help give a direction for how we’re going to make choices.
But on the other side, we aren’t that ideal person.
I’m not a person who wakes up at dawn, does meditation, exercise, eats a healthy breakfast, works on my business all day, and then reads a book and goes to sleep peacefully.
Every day I’m being challenged with laziness, the feeling like I don’t feel like working, that I feel like looking for fun things to make myself feel better, and ways to just- ways to not improve myself, but simply get by.
This kind of lower of consciousness.
Instead of thinking about my whole life, and how I can live a great, full, whole life and do the most good for the world, sometimes it’s just how do I get through this day, how do I feel good right now.
And that can lead to escapism and all kinds of time-wasting.
And that’s part of who I am too.
So the challenge is to accept the parts of ourselves that are not ideal, that we don’t want.
And that’s where I like this concept of the shadow.
Anything about ourselves that we do not accept, that we say “No no, that’s not acceptable.
You can’t be that way.
That’s not OK.” Any part of ourselves that we do not accept becomes this “shadow”.
We push it into the darkness, into the unknown, the unconscious, and we just want it out of mind.
We want it out of the way.
“I’m not going to think about that.
That’s just not me.
I’m not going to go there.” But simply deciding that some part of ourselves, some part of the way we are, is unacceptable, does not make it go away.
Pushing it into the darkness does not make it disappear, and that’s why it’s called the shadow.
It still exists as this force, invisible, inside ourselves, but it’s still there.
And everybody has this shadow, it seems, and it can come out in different ways.
It’s just whatever we can’t accept.
Whatever we think is wrong with ourselves.
Whatever we think is bad, in a way that we’re not willing to face it, and we instead consign it to the darkness as a shadow.
And this is such a reservoir of energy that we’re sort of pushing down, and then it finds its way to pop up sometimes when we least expect and appreciate it.
So I find this idea of the shadow can be very helpful.
The question to ask maybe is: what is it? What’s in your shadow? What is it that you don’t want to accept about yourself? What is it that you would simply rather not be true? And what are you shutting away into the darkness because it’s just very unpleasant to look at in the light? Now don’t actually answer this question, because we don’t need to- everybody has their shadow, and the shadow is exactly those things that you don’t want to share and don’t want to talk about.
But just the idea of thinking about that, well, even just identifying those things, even if we don’t choose to share them or even fully acknowledge them, just to think about: what are these things about ourselves that we don’t accept? And that can be a very unpleasant, but it seems, very powerful road to go down.
#shadow #darkside #unacceptable