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Your Personal Shadow

Everyone has their own shadow. In simple terms our personal shadow consists of all of the elements that we have subconsciously decided to disown. We often ignore, run away from, and hide these aspects from everyone around us and oftentimes ourselves. Pettiness, regret, fear, vanity, and anger are all elements that make up the foundation of our shadow. The concept of one's personal shadow originated from the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung who claimed that “everyone carries their own shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it becomes.” While usually hidden, our shadow still plays a powerful role in our everyday thoughts, decisions, and behaviors. 

Jung believed that our shadow could in part, be a link to our more “primitive animal instincts which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.” A part of us that, with no doubt, would play a much more significant role in our lives if the construct of society was yet to be grown. Jealousy, vanity, pettiness, and anger are all prime examples of human traits that have been heavily suppressed over time. However, as Carl Jung states, the more we ignore these aspects of ourselves, the more they grow. So how do we navigate dealing with our shadow and the inner workings of the deepest parts of our subconscious without compromising our civility?  

Navigating Our Own Shadow

Navigating the terrain of our shadow requires a delicate balance between self-acknowledgment and integration without succumbing to our darker impulses. Self-awareness is key. Only by recognizing our shadow, can we then point out and prevent the unintentional behavior and influence that it may cast upon us. Some of the best ways to recognize these elements are by meditating or journaling as both of these practices give dedicated time and space to better understand your mind and therefore, recognize your shadow. These methods also better your ability to acknowledge the feelings that come with your shadow without necessarily needing to act upon them impulsively. Integrating our shadow involves embracing its lessons and incorporating its wisdom into our conscious selves, thus achieving a more holistic and balanced sense of identity. Through these means, we can navigate the depths of our subconscious while upholding the values of civility and integrity in our interactions with the world.

Understanding The Shadow Of Others

As we originally discussed, everyone has their own shadow. We can use this knowledge alone to better understand the thoughts and actions of other people. Oftentimes when someone is being impolite, rude, or outright mean, it's because they are unwillingly, casting their shadow onto you. A very simple example of this would be if 2 friends are exploring an old abandoned house and one of them takes jabs at the other, making fun of them for acting scared. In reality, the friend that's making fun of the other is the genuinely scared one but by casting his shadow onto his friend, he's suppressing the feeling of fear in himself. The same goes with the classic example of a bully only being mean to others because he was bullied himself. In this instance, the bully is suppressing his feelings of inferiority by casting that shadow upon others. By understanding and acknowledging the shadow of others, we can change our feelings about certain individuals from hate to empathy and overall make deeper connections with everyone around us.

Using Our Shadow To Grow As A Warrior

Leveraging your knowledge of the shadow like a warrior involves embodying traits of honor, courage, and wisdom as you navigate the depths of your subconscious. Recognizing the darker aspects of your psyche is not a sign of weakness, but rather a display of strength and self-awareness. Through practices like meditation and journaling, you can delve into the depths of your mind, shining a light on the hidden corners where your shadow lurks. By acknowledging and integrating these suppressed elements, you harness their power and transform them into tools for personal growth. Much like a skilled warrior, you must approach the exploration of your shadow with a sense of strategy and discipline. Temptations to succumb to darker impulses may arise, but with a commitment to integrity, you can navigate these inner battles with strength and dignity. Embracing the lessons of your shadow allows you to cultivate a more holistic sense of self, grounded in both light and darkness. Acknowledge your shadow and Live Like A Warrior!

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