Uncovering Our Shadow Side ... making the subconscious conscious

When we hear that we have a shadow side we may conjure up the idea that we are involving ourselves in the occult or perhaps that some dark sinister area of our psyche has taken over our lives,  but this is far from the truth. The the term 'shadow'  or 'the undiscovered self', coined by Swiss Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst Carl Jung, relates to the sides of us that were shunned in our formative years, and judged as unacceptable parts of our personality.  How this occurs is through a process often called fragmentation, which happens as we are socialised into society. Fragmentation is where we have unconsciously split off parts of ourselves into the shadows of the subconscious, hidden away from our conscious awareness.  Fragmented parts do not necessarily mean negative traits ... they can also be positive attributes that were judged as inappropriate in early childhood. The wonderful part of discovering, uncovering and accepting our shadow sides back into our conscious awareness is that life takes on a whole different level of what it means to 'love and accept ourselves'. Are you aware of what subconscious parts of your personality you express in your life?   

What we don't know is what we do not know - what lies in our deep unconscious?

Shadow drivers show up throughout our lives where we feel we have no control over undesirable experiences ... ones we may be currently experiencing. However, the drivers or prompters that are tucked away in our subconscious by our conscious minds are constantly calling our attention to  bring these denied parts back into a whole and perfect self. It will do this by creating experiences that cause us pain. Each time we integrate a fragmented part, our perception of the world and life experiences change to reflect a deeper level of acceptance, peace, happiness and wholeness. These shifts are often seen to be miraculous, as they can display a whole different reality, as well as change the undesirable experience we are encountering.

Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is integrated in the individual’s conscious life ... the darker and denser it is. 

- Carl Jung 

Why do we deny parts of ourselves that we feel are unacceptable - a.k.a fragmenation?

We are born whole, however we also enter the world dependent on the family that we are born into. Unfortunately the majority of family dynamics are made up of members where the practice of self awareness from each individual is non existent.

What this means is most parents are raising children  - who we once were  - from an unconscious paradigm.

It's no wonder we just don't feel comfortable with ourselves! Fast forward and from  this blueprint we are raised to fit into society to be socially acceptable -  a society that is also primarily unconscious and in the process of evolving. The ideals we are lead to follow are generally the ideals of our caretakers, and in most cases may not be ideal for us. However, due to our instinctual and inherent need for survival we will succumb to the desires of one or both of our parents or caretakers, in order to feed our need for acceptance over being unaccepted or unacceptable.

Here is the clincher!

Not only will we disown, deny and supress the parts of ourselves that are not deemed desirable but will inflate the behaviours we that were approved of ... even if it works in total opposition to what natural actions and personality traits we expressed originally.  

Even though our conscious self may want success ... if our subconscious self  is in conflict  with being successful ... success will not happen easily.

- Uell Andersen

How our shadow sides play out in our life.

So why is it extremely beneficial to bring our shadow side into conscious awareness?

Just because we cannot see our supressed shadow side does not mean it is not knocking to get our attention, and it does this by reflecting some form of friction in order to get that attention. The majority of people on the planet will experience various forms of conflicted situations, also know as pain. This can play out in may forms, such as choosing the wrong partner one whom we seem very disconnected or in constant conflict with us, I hate my job scenarios, unhealthy eating habits and food choices, judgements such as, 'I hate how I look' or 'I think I may be addicted'  - and the list goes on.

Case Study - The Assertive Child

Let's take for example an assertive child, raised in a family where the belief is 'children should be seen and not heard'. In this case that child must conform to the family ideals and not even contemplate expressing themselves to the contrary of the family ideals. Each time that child pushes against what their parent or caretaker proposes they will be pushed away either physcially, emotionally, verballly or energetically.  All  forms  of rejection will be felt by the child ... to the point where they have to decide whether to stick to what they want, or to the wants of the their parent or authority figure.

When a child is in the infant, toddler or young child stage it is automatically in their best interest to conform to what their parent or caretaker expects of them to avoid rejection.

To conclude: The assertive child will unconsciously split off their assertive side and inflate the part that is made to conform. Eventually they will just follow the family ideals but with a feeling of discomfort in themselves.  After a while they get used to and in many cases become comfortable with the conformed and false side of themselves. Eventually they themself will believe - this is who they are.  Until ... they begin to feel the discomfort or friction of that buried  assertive side that has been banished to the subconscious ... coming up to be integrated back into the whole and conscious self. 

Inside each one of us is a denied self or shadow side. It is the side of us that has been repressed in our formative years, as not being acceptable for our survival.

Why having painful experiences are blessings.

So how do we identify our shadow sides?

In order to access the very depths of our being, we must be ready to explore our buried self, and shadow work does just that. However, the illusion of pain can hurt and in order to rise above it we must be willing to go through it. 

Here is the 'The Trick' - a cunning act or scheme intended to deceive or outwit someone.

When it comes to pain it is deceiving because we fall for the illusion (unconsciously that is)  that we have to go through the same painful experience that we encountered when we splintered off a part of ourselves, in a past  traumatic experience as a child.  We will divert back to the child self and avoid having to go back into the painful experience that we could not understand.  That means ... our adult side does not get  its way when wanting  to clear the pain. The result is we unconsciously turn away from the emerging pain, covering it up with distractions that keep us from sitting with and going into it.  

Distractions we may enter into when a shadow side is emerging for integration can be anything from drinking heavily, creating conflict situations, over eating or not eating enough - to over helping people with their problems, so as to not acknowledge our own.

If we are successful in these distractions the pain from the  fragmented self  will  get buried again ... until the next opportunity for it to arise. We may continue blocking the pain for e.g., with alcohol, drugs, short term relationships, eating unhealthy foods, rigorous exercise etc.,  all the while without realising what the pain is actually trying to show us.

Sound familiar?

Carl Jung believes that when the human shadow is shunned, it tends to create mutiny in the face of our desires.  This means that which you want will be unattainable.

Repressing or suppressing one’s shadow can result in addictions, low self-esteem, mental illness, chronic illnesses, and various other ailments. 

So how do we approach the pain of the splintered self?  One  way is to stay present and sit with the pain (not always easy). The companion that will arise right by the side of that pain will be the side of the self that has been denied - the wounded self.

Here is where pain arising  is one of  the biggest of gifts ... the gift of opportunity to realign with the life that is in line with your true happiness, fulfillment and success. The life you were born to live.

When we do shadow work with a  trained fascilitator, within a safe and supported environment we can  safely enter our subconscious - where our shadow sides dwell. Using proven strategies the fascilitator will hold an intentional space where we can explore, discover and uncover unresolved experiences, as well as  reframe them in our own way with the intention of creating a different and positive perspective, compared to when the experience first occurred. We will be able to see exactly what parts of our selves we have disowned and why - and lovingly integrate them back into who we always were.

Our external world is a reflection of our internal mechanisms and you are in control.

What happens when we integrate denied parts of ourselves?

It is now  scientifically proven through the education of  Quantum Mechanics and how we effect our world that:   The world we experience is a projection of our thoughts  ... conscious and unconscious.  Emotions are an  important ingredient that has a tremendous impact on what we create in our world. When we combine thoughts and emotions  we experience a reflection of this recipe called 'our life situation'.  The good news is up until now we didn't realise we are in the control seat and with a little bit of help we can create a life by intentional design - a life where we feel more peaceful, healthier, empowered, in love and abundant. 

The question is - Is your life your ideal life?  If not  ... you can change this.

Instead of working with your problem I work with the resistance that is blocking what it is that you actually want.