Your shadow does not exist in the sense that it is separate. It is just another aspect of your being. It is a part of you. You must learn to nourish your entire being as a whole.
Carl Jung writes: “Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” He dedicated much of his work to understanding the “shadow self”. His research on the individual psyche and his personal quest for wholeness, resulted in what’s now aptly named “Jungian psychology”, becoming his opus. One of my favorite quotes from Jung is:
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
We all have aspects of ourselves that is intrinsically considered our “dark side”. The side of us we are ashamed of, that we hide for fear of being judged and/or rejected, abuse we experienced we’d rather bury and forget, things that we deem ourselves unlovable and unworthy, things we hate ourselves for. If you’re anything like me, you ignore all the ugly parts of you, hoping they go away, until you suppress them so deep you actually believe you rid yourself of it for good. Until something happens that acts as a trigger and suddenly you face plant on the concrete floor and the world as you knew it, comes crashing down. You are exposed. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
The more you run away from your shadow, the more black and dense it will surely become. What you resist, persists. And like all challenges in life, the only way out is THROUGH. It’s about finding the courage to face them head on and by doing so, you take your power back. You start to become aware and reject living a life of “victim” consciousness. You learn to take responsibility and refuse to place the blame on anyone other than yourself. By owning up to your “shadow self” you begin to diminish the negative feelings it carries. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together until it is whole. We have a dark side so that we can experience light. One cannot exist without the other. When the dark forces start to take over your life, embrace them, acknowledge them as an important aspect of your being, because it serves as a gateway to truth, acceptance and most of all, healing.
We all have this power to heal ourselves. But we must first learn to see our shadow selves as an opportunity, rather than something we need to feel shame for. To love yourself, means to love ALL OF YOU. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. It is all a part of you, and the more we learn to nourish ourselves in our wholeness, the more we begin to truly love everything that we are and become grateful to our darker side for setting us free. The more we begin to revel in the experience of being human. In acceptance, there is peace. We are the masters of our fate and THAT is one hell of a gift!