Recently, I have come to realize the importance — finally — of dealing with, acknowledging and discoursing with my inner “skeletons”. I guess so many different names or labels would be appropriate here…
As I have now come to understand it, from the brief time that I have really paid attention to it, half of our Selves consists of a large variety of “darkness” that we don’t willingly like to share or expose to the outside world. Jungian psychologists call it the “shadow self“.
It’s really the cumulative body of ideas, concepts, emotions, thoughts, opinions, etc. encompassing the entire spectrum of human behavior, which we either consciously or subconsciously supress from our daily life whenever possible or necessary.
Anything in our life, about ourselves, those around us, others we interact with, experiences that we have, opinions that we hold, anything which can be affixed to some level of negativity, or negative emotions (i.e. low-energy vibrations) is part of this ‘shadow self’: hate, anger, greed, selfishness, envy, loathing, ridicule, “Schadenfreude“, etc. etc. virtually that “[mean] little inner bastard“.
It loves to hide in the shadows of your mind and of your consciousness, observing quietly, and rearing its ugly little head when you least need it or want it to. It shows itself to us every day in some way or another…
So let’ s figure out how to pull back the curtains and get down to business with this Shadow Self…
This may seem really awkward or unnatural at first. But give it your full attention and do it, at a time and in a place where you will not be disturbed. Find some time to calm yourself, tune out all distractions and disturbing elements (people, pets, noises, to-do’s, etc.). Ground yourself with some prayer or meditation, express your gratitude.
Think about WHAT sets you off? WHO sets you off? what is it about certain things (or people) that really set you off? What evokes the strongest or most passionate ‘negative’ response from you? This is really a time for INTROspection (looking within) and being brutally honest with what you find. Keep notes, in a journal, on your phone, on your computer, on a notepad, etc. whatever works for you. Ask yourself these questions (aloud or mentally), hold silence, close your eyes, and WRITE DOWN the first things you see / feel / hear or otherwise perceive.
TRUST what you’re perceiving in response to each question you pose. Write down everything quickly, as if in dictation. Then after a series of questions of this nature, review your notes. This is your inner shadow self revealing itself to you. It’s a true, uncensored part of your innermost essence and it’s VERY REAL.
Acknowledge this shadow self within you as though you are speaking to a younger child or little sibling. Tell it that you are aware of it, its presence within you and that you accept it just the way it is, and that you’re seeking dialogue with it, and understanding of it. Make friends with it. Make it feel included and HEARD.
Grab your notes again, and start randomly thinking about things, places, circumstances, events, people, etc. who really evoke negative emotions from you (from dislike, to annoyance, to dissatisfaction, to contempt, disrespect, loathing, hatred, etc.). Make a LIST. Again, don’t hold anything back. Be brutally honest. No one will ever see that list, other than you. None of the people on your list will have hurt feelings because you put them there!
As before, ask yourself these questions (aloud or mentally), hold silence, close your eyes, and WRITE DOWN the first things you see / feel / hear or otherwise perceive. Again, TRUST what you’re perceiving in response to each question you pose. Write down everything.
…Once you have your list, think about each item and ask your Shadow Self WHY it’s on the list. What is it about this <item> that makes you feel the way you do??? Pay attention to your thoughts coming in, as those are the Shadow Self answering you. Write it all down. Then review your notes.
You may pose your questions in the “first person” (why do I feel….?) or in the “second person” (why do YOU feel….?). Your shadow self won’t care, as it’s part of you either way.
Thus far, you have explored largely WHAT makes up your Shadow Self, what emotions and notions it holds. You have now been introduced to it, and have established a rapport with it. This alone is very powerful. By just doing this alone, you will notice your daily behavior change, especially as it relates to the world and people around you.
But now you need to go one step further, engaging your Shadow Self in even deeper, more explorative dialogue, having covered the “who are you”, and now needing to move more into the “why are you” line of questions. Review those notes you have taken so far, look at what you have written down, as this is your Shadow Self’s true voice.
Center yourself again, re-establishing some undisturbed “me time”, ground yourself with some prayer or meditation, express your gratitude, then reconnect with your Shadow Self, as though sitting face-to-face at an interview, and start asking it questions, either orally or mentally, again armed with your tools to take notes.
- “Why does ____________ make you feel this way?”
- “What about _________ makes you feel the way you do?”
- “Why does _____________ make you feel _________ ?”
- etc. etc.
Ask lots of direct but open-ended questions, pausing in silence after each question and allowing it to answer you. Write down imme-diately everything you perceive, because the Shadow Self is once again communicating directly with you. Trust what you get back in response. Pure, unfiltered truths are found here.
You can repeat these steps as often as you like or feel it’s necessary. This is a path of self-exploration. You do it at your own pace, in private. The more you explore, the more will be revealed to you, the more you learn about your TRUE SELF. End each session with prayer or meditation and again express your gratitude.
By continuing your dialogue with your Shadow Self, you will make peace with all aspects within you, accept yourself for who you truly are, and you will truly HEAL from within, and unleash much more creative focus, energy and potential, because you have now shed so much emotional and psychological “junk” that’s been stored away for so long.