We, as human beings, are everything you can conceive of or perceive of. Within all of us is everything that you can see and know of. With that comes those bad, even horrific, qualities that we can't and wouldn't want to imagine our selves to be. From lair, weak, inappropriate, mean, selfish, not good enough, unwanted, insignificant and the list goes on. But what about the horrific qualities like crazy, killer, abuser? That could be hard to swallow. You might ask yourself, or say to yourself, there is no way that those qualities lie within me. Well, they do and believe it or not, once you become aware of how these qualities can manifest, you will be better able to modify or reposition yourself to your greatest advantage.
The shadow is any quality we deem bad or unacceptable that we deny in ourselves. Carl Jung coined the term "shadow" although you can find the meaning throughout literature and mythology dating back to antiquity. Our core shadow beliefs develop in our psyches when we are children, usually when we are eight years old or younger. We experience something upsetting and difficult for us to process. We then give meaning to that experience which ends up becoming a shadow belief. The negative belief we made about ourselves is forgotten and becomes buried deep in our psyches.
Understanding that we are co-creaters of our realities and that our thoughts and beliefs create our reality, it is important to be aware of what our thoughts and beliefs are. More and more people are becoming attracted to the Law of Attraction these days, and using positive thoughts to shift their realities, but that can be like what Debbie Ford would say, "putting ice cream on top of poop". Changing your thoughts is not enough. They need to be backed up by belief, but many of us do not understand that most of our beliefs are subconscious - we are blind to them. So how can you control your thoughts and beliefs when you are unaware of what they are?
Our shadow beliefs are hidden deep in our psyches and they control our thoughts, behaviors, reactions, actions and inactions. When we tell ourselves we can or cannot do or be something, we can be sure we have a shadow belief acting up.
Shadows hide deep in our psyches and the way they try to get our attention to be recognized is through popping up in our realities, sometimes like a slap in the face. It could be through dating someone who makes you feel unloveable. It could be through working in an environment where you feel you don't belong. It could be random people popping up in your reality telling you, you aren't good enough, your stupid, your crazy, you're inappropriate, there is something wrong with you and so on.
What I find so fascinating about this is that the ego, for survival, needs to be right. So, if you have a core shadow belief that you aren't good enough or you don't matter then you will see in your reality all the reasons to prove that it is true. It will show up as fact. The ego will do this to keep this belief alive and it will fight for its survival! For this reason, a change in belief, in thought, needs to take place in the heart where it resides and is rooted. Otherwise, we, unaware of what is happening in our internal world, believe that we are a victim to the circumstance or other person which then creates a vicious cycle of "why do bad things happen to me?", "I can't do this.", "Why can't I create the life I want." etc.
Once we begin to understand what the shadow is and how it shows up in our life, we are better able to shift a moment that may seem negative or an attack on ourselves into an opportunity to gain more awareness and information about ourself. In essence, these situations or people that may seem like something negative, actually bear fruit and nutrients for our soul's evolution and its longing to be known and whole.
I like to think of our qualities whether it be those we deem good or those we deem bad as our little children that live inside of us. As you gain information intellectually about how disowned qualities and the shadow work, you are better able to use your mind as a tool, as the adult that protects the child, your inner child.
This is where we need to ask how much we are willing to love and embrace all of who we are. Sometimes it is easier to communicate with ourselves by envisioning this parent child role within ourselves. The reason for this is, if you were to put your thoughts and beliefs about yourself in the role of the parent inside of you and see how that parent inside of you is communicating with your inner child, what would you see? Would you see a parent telling its beloved child that it's not good enough, it will never succeed, you're incapable, you don't matter, you're unwanted, you don't deserve it, you're unworthy, you don't exist, don't bother trying because you will fail because you are a failure?
You can imagine the shadow is like a child acting up that is screaming for attention, for love and acceptance. Instead of neglecting or abusing your child or killing its dreams, ask that child, what do you need to be whole, what do you need to be soothed, what do you need to exist?
Once you start to see how we can so blindly abuse ourselves, and attempt to kill ourselves off from the inside out, you can see where some serious forgiveness of self is needed. You may ask yourself, "How could I have treated myself so badly and for so long?". Remorse and anger may come up as you have these realizations, and that is when forgiveness comes in, along with having compassion for yourself. It is then that beauty, love and peace magnify as we are able to see and love ourselves for who we really are, and as we are able to forgive ourselves and have compassion for ourselves it then enables us to see others for who they really are with eyes of compassion and love. As Marianne Williamson says:
"Until we have seen someone's darkness we don't really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don't really know what love is."
The more you embrace all of who you are, you will become less triggered and emotionally affected by the people and situations around you. As you embrace and love more and more of yourself, you will have this reflected back at you. As we are all mirrors for each other we are all here to allow ourselves and each other to exist in our true essence and nature.
So next time you find yourself in a situation you do not want to be in look for the fruit and what nutrients it is trying to give you. When you consume the fruit you will find the gift and on you will go on to the next level of your evolutionary process.
For more information about the Shadow, you can check out Debbie Ford's books The Dark Side of Light Chasers, The Secret of the Shadow, or Why Good People Do Bad Things. If you are interested in unconcealing what your core shadow beliefs are feel free to contact me for a session to unconceal, embrace and replace your limiting shadow belief with a new and empowering belief.
Teal Swan, in these videos, also explains the Shadow, Core Beliefs and Self Worth very well and how we can shift limiting beliefs to empowering beliefs: What is Shadow Work?, How to Change a Belief and How Do I Discover Self Worth?