The “Shadow” is the name the psychologist Carl Jung gave to those aspects of ourselves that—from a very early age—we learn to suppress, hide and deny in order to be accepted and loved—first by our parents and family and later by our friends, classmates, and society in general.
In order to fit in, we learn to suppress our anger, our aggressiveness, our selfishness —and other qualities we are taught are “negative”. We learn to hide them from others—and from ourselves. As a result, without understanding why, we end up feeling divided within ourselves, in conflict with ourselves, fragmented rather than whole. The image we create to look good is designed to hide from others—and ourselves—the shadow we don’t want anyone to see.
However, as Jung pointed out, these aspects of ourselves that we resist and bury don’t go away. What we resist, persists. They remain with us at the unconscious level—and may unexpectedly burst forth and do damage to our relationships, our career, and our health.
When we blame others, make them wrong, attack or undermine them, when we feel as though we don’t get what we deserve—it’s the shadow at work. When we give up on ourselves, and sabotage our results, it’s the shadow at work.
At the same time, when we suppress our shadow, we also suppress our personal power, our spontaneity and our creativity,
Bringing forth and expressing our shadow—in ways that are not damaging to ourselves or others—is the ultimate way to experience wholeness and self-acceptance. It creates the foundation for a new level of connection with others and a platform for deeper conversations and new results.