“A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow.” ― Djuna Barnes
Shadow of One’s Self definition courtesy of Dictionary.com:
A person, group, or thing that has become weaker in physical or mental capacities or in power or authority.
For example, After that long battle with the flu, he was just a shadow of his old self, or This new administration is but a shadow of itself, or The revised constitution is a shadow of its former self.
The use of shadow for an emaciated person dates from the late 1500s, and by about 1800 the word began to be used for other kinds of attenuation.
Unifying the unhealed, dark parts of ourselves is known as “shadow work” and is critical to becoming a “whole being.”
When we choose to hide or suppress our shadow we are only operating as a partial being.
Being spiritual doesn’t mean being perfect and without fault.
Being spiritual means accepting, integrating and allowing all parts of us to be as one.
Preferably a “healed” one.
What is the Unhealed Shadow Self
The unhealed shadow self is an unhealed part of you that is unconscious and split off/separate from your conscious self.
The unhealed shadow self often is a saboteur of your goals and successes in life.
The shadow self is very individualistic with its own agenda which is at odds with your conscious intentions.
In essence, your shadow self is that which you most don’t want to be; the polar opposite of your conscious self.
The shadow self exists in your psyche and is part of your psychic energetic body.
It’s with you at all times but often remains dormant or lingering in the background until it is triggered.
The shadow self is a creation – of your conscious self – created by negative and even traumatic experiences.
The shadow self is held in a type of “energetic containing device” of “bad” experiences that is always running in the background of your conscious self.
So even when things are going well, in the background of your mind there is a pessimistic part of you that is waiting and prepared for the next bad thing to happen.
Dr Phil Mollon Ph.D. The creator of the Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy [PEP} had this to say about the shadow self on his website www.philmollon.co.uk .
Extending Jung’s original concept, I propose that the shadow self is:
- Psychological content
- An archetype
- An energetic structure
Note that these are speculative hypotheses, embedded within the broader concepts of energy psychology
In content, it is a vessel for all that is repudiated from the main personality – including all the ‘dark’ aspects of the psyche, but also all that is overwhelming and terrifying.
In appearance, it may take the form of something ugly, demonic, angry, and destructive.
When healed, it can appear very beautiful.
For example, one woman pictured her unhealed Shadow Self as a pile of dung and rotting material – after healing, she saw it a beautiful shining diamond that she was happy to take into her stomach as a comforting presence.
As an energetic structure, it exists in a reversed parallel dimension.
It has its own chakra system, partly connecting with that of the main personality [there are further details too speculative to be stated here].
- The Shadow Self is a vessel of disowned and repudiated ‘dark’ aspects – but energetically it is parasitic on the main Self. In its unhealed state, it pursues its own angry and destructive agenda, wrecking the life of the main Self. It may function as a channel for parasitic energy forms.
- The Shadow may contain what is most repellent to the conscious personality/Self. It may be located, through projective identification, in an other person in the subject’s life. This projective identification can be located through muscle testing the statement “there is a part of me that is like that person”.
- Some religions may intensify the Shadow Self, through repressing aspects of human nature, particularly in its sexual aspects. ( That’s a real shame. :()
- The Shadow is a necessary vessel to contain the dangerous aspects of Self that cannot yet be integrated.
- In a damaged state, the Shadow Self may be a center of intense energetic reversal – generating pervasive ‘psychological reversal’ and reversals of conscious morality.
- In addition to its accumulation of psychological content (repudiated aspects of the psyche), the Shadow may also be fed by energetic blockages and distortions – such as inherited miasms or acquired damage to the energetic system.
- The Shadow Self can be healed, using ordinary energy psychology modalities. It is necessary to identify the Shadow, ascertain whether it is willing to be healed, correct this as a ‘reversal’ if necessary, and then work through the meridians and chakras to heal the traumas and fears of the Shadow Self. Sometimes it is also necessary to issue an ‘apology’ to the Shadow for misusing it as a dumping ground for unwanted psychic contents. Similarly, the Shadow can be ‘thanked’ for bearing the foreclosed aspects of the psyche.
- The Shadow will not be healed through the energy work with the main Self since it is a partially separate structure – just as dissociated parts will not participate in energy healing unless addressed specifically.
- The Shadow can be identified by muscle testing a statement such as “there is a part of me that want to sabotage my life” or “a Shadow Self that …”
- Once healed, the Shadow can be integrated with the main Self.
- Probably most or all human beings initially have a Shadow Self until it is healed and integrated.
- If the Shadow intrudes or merges with the main Self in an unintegrated state, harmful, or even catastrophic consequences, may ensue. These may include dramatic and unbalanced personality changes, psychosis with destructive voices, obsessive compulsive intrusive thoughts, and sometimes somatic illness.
How To Integrate & Work With The Shadow Self – Q & A With Deepak Chopra
Question: Hey Deepak, I was watching Super Soul Sunday this morning on OWN and you were part of the conversation on my “shadow” I found the topic interesting, and I have pondered and identified my shadow, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that information.
Do I fight my shadow, accept it, Use it, Share it with others? What is the next step in freeing myself from projecting my shadow?
Deepak: Don’t fight your shadow, that is judging it and strengthening it.
The shadow is a part of yourself that has become separated from your conscious self through shame, trauma or fear, and until it is reintegrated back into your self, it will undermine, sabotage and conflict with your conscious desires and positive feelings.
The shadow must first be seen and acknowledged without blame or judgment.
From there its story of pain can be heard and felt. Then understanding and forgiveness will bring healing and finally reintegration into the larger self.
It doesn’t happen instantly and every person’s journey of healing will be unique, but if you proceed with love and compassion, the healing will take place.
“When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them.” ― Allan Lokos