How To Embrace Your Inner Darkness: Your Shadow Self
Updated: Apr 22
𝘉𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘸𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘢 𝘩𝘪𝘥𝘥𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦: 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦, 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥, 𝘴𝘢𝘥, 𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦. ~ C. Zweig & S. Wolf
Shadow self is an archetype we formulate when we are integrating our subconscious programming in our formative years. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐬, 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬, 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐬, 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐭𝐬, 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬. This archetype is often described as 𝘯𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘺, 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴, 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤 — by those who practice religion and the such. You see it. I see it. We are indoctrinated to go towards the light and repress the dark within us. It completely 𝘧𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘴 us and conditions us to not accept the entirety of what we are as humans.
We are all born blank canvases and I often refer to my life as my work of art working with this idea. As a child, our minds are extremely malleable and we adopt our knowledge base that helps us separate good and evil.
The very moment we are told we are naughty or good is when our insides are ripped to shreds. 𝘞𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘸𝘰. Social cues further indoctrinate us into two selves, the persona (𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥), and the shadow (𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥).
So, how the hell do we see this 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐰? We must utilize other people as mirrors to help us decipher our masks. Your shadow self is the part of yourself that you dislike and project onto others.
𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐚 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮:
Know it alls are usually hiding insecurities about their lack of knowledge. If you can’t stand thinking of yourself as ignorant, then you’re going to have a stronger visceral dislike when others portray ignorance or misunderstanding. It’s not that they did anything worthy of that judgement, it’s that you are projecting your shadow onto them.
Tough girls and boys are hiding their sensitivity. Hello friends. Everyone has painted me as hard as fuck. Why do I often get painted that way? Because it’s an ego defense mechanism I have deep rooted to protect my overly, detrimentally so, sensitive empathetic soul.
Excessive humor covers up peoples sadness.
Perpetual starvation is to cover up the idea that you won’t be good enough unless you reach perfection.
Binge eating is often a facade utilized for covering up lack of self care and nourishment in other areas.
Bottom line is if you’re truly seeking fulfillment and dismissal of bad ‘𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘴𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨’ behavioral patterns then you will need to accept that you have parts of yourself that make you feel unwell examining and disturbing to accept.
These shameful and frightening aspects of ourselves are elements of our shadow selves. The ‘𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬’ side friends. 𝐍𝐨 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬. The more we repress it the more it will bubble up into resentment and projection.
Reading self-help books to improve yourself won’t help if you don’t put in the damn work. The best way to put in the work is to understand your shadow self and identify when you are projecting it onto others. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲.
It is completely understandable that in order to become a civilized human requires an element of repression that fits into our structured societal ideal… 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬; if we learn to live fractionated lives we will always be pissed and envious of others. Ignoring our needs and desires does nothing for our mental health.
Self love and living authentically requires you to accept and embrace these ‘dark’ desires. How do you expect to live a life of acceptance and love of who you are if you reject these parts? Spoiler: 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝗪𝐎𝐍𝐓.
𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮, 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘴, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤 𝘥𝘺𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘮. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴; 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮, 𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭, 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘪𝘳𝘤𝘶𝘮𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘨𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘢 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳. ~ Carl Jung
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