14: The Shadow

The Adult Chair Podcast 14 The Shadow

We strive to be whole and complete but deny the parts of us that embarrass us, that we hate and try and hide. These are our shadow parts. It is impossible to feel whole without embracing the shadow parts inside us. This week on the show, Pete and I talk about the shadow, how to move into a mode of discovery, to unlock and embrace the secrets of our shadow, and work to become whole.

Here is an excerpt from Debbie Ford (another one of my teachers) who explains the shadow.

What is the Shadow?

The shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world and the faces we don’t want to show ourselves. Most of us expend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of or control these unwanted aspects of ourselves. We hope that by hiding or fixing our "bad qualities" we will have the peace, success and happiness we desire. Most of us are convinced that we are flawed and inadequate so we become masters of disguise, and go to great lengths to hide our bad qualities from those around us – even from ourselves.

The result of turning our backs on our dark side? A life that slips by only half lived. Dreams that are never realized, or worse, that lay buried under years of resignation and shame. Until we make peace with our shadow we will continue to be at war with ourselves. And our outer world will mirror our inner struggle. What we resist persists – and we will create and attract from others that which we most dislike in ourselves. Until we feel authentic compassion for each and every aspect of ourselves, we will continue to draw forth people and events that will mirror the negative feelings we have about ourselves. Until we take back our power and forgive ourselves for being human we will attract people who push our buttons and reactivate our emotional wounds. And until we find the courage to love ourselves completely, we will never truly be able to experience the love from those around us. We don’t need to guess how we really feel about ourselves at the deepest level. All we have to do is look at how the outer world treats us. If we’re not getting the respect, love and appreciation we desire from the outer world, it’s more than likely we aren’t giving these things to ourselves. This is the benevolence of the Universe in action. The whole world is a mirror of our own consciousness, and when we make peace with the disowned aspects of ourselves, we make peace with the world.

Photo Credit: “Shadow of the Grape Climber” by Hamed Saber (Creative Commons)