Recognizing and Reintegrating Our Shadow Step by Step

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What we don’t acknowledge can hurt us after all!

Triggers, things that we have strong emotional responses to are what Carl Jung called the “shadows” of our personality.  Using the steps below you can have control over these hidden aspects versus them controlling you keeping you stuck in unhealthy patterns.

  1. We are our biggest critics.  During this process of deep discovery, let me tell you it’s important to be compassionate, kind and gentle with yourself.  This self-discovery takes a lot of effort and practice AND I guarantee you it is all worth it!  Remind yourself periodically to treat yourself as a good friend.
  2. Set yourself up with a writing journal for reflection. This is such deep work periodic review of the journal is going to beneficial to you. This is work you will want to come back to over the course of time.
  3. Be honest and in integrity with – yourself! It’s all so easy to say, “It isn’t me”, giving sexy excuses or standing in willful ignorance stands in the way of you mastering yourself.  Being in true self-honesty means being willing to see the unpleasant attributes and recognize them in our own behavior and personality.  It’s worth the discomfort here.  Just remember all behavior is learned and that’s awesome news because we can learn new behaviors, we can adapt or remove behaviors that no longer serve us.
  4. Pay attention and watch your reactions. That which triggers you, owns you.  It’s time to turn the tables.  When you feel strong negative emotional responses to others, what are you disowning?  Note what you are feeling and name what it is that you are so triggered by.  Honest recognition that those are your own projections.  Now is not the time to journal, but to take a mental note.
  5. Once the sting or the reaction mellows out a bit and you can get some distance from the emotional aspect of it, beak out the journal. Get to know that part which was disowned.

Ask a few questions such as a.) What about this trait is good? b.) Is there a time this trait or behavior has served me in a positive way?

Today as a guest of the Digital Breeze Show on we used the example of road rage.  Let’s say someone just cuts you off on the highway by driving their car fast just fast enough to squeak between you and another car, nearly clipping you.  At first you might feel a rage for that other vehicle, a strong negative emotion is a trigger.  What is it about that situation that angers you, is it them being inconsiderate and cutting you off, do you view it as self-important or self-absorbed, that it might anger you because you feel like you feel as if they endangered you and others?  Is it that they don’t see the rest of you as being as important as they are.

Now could there be another possibility?  Perhaps the person started out the morning with a sick child at home, whom they needed to arrange and scramble to get daycare while fretting that their boss has been getting on the team about being late.  It is important they are on time and that just took 20 extra minutes! Now not only are they stressed about their child being sick but also about getting to work on time.  They need to get to work as fast as possible.  That morning they drove more aggressively than normal, inadvertently cutting you off.

Now while you may have handled that situation differently, it is certainly a different point of view than your original thoughts.  We may never know that other persons’ story or get the back history.  One thing is certain though, unless you have some super psychic abilities you don’t know the motives just the results. The fact is the person cut you off.   Assigning any meaning to it or feelings of anger and rage at being slighted or less important, those are all projections, triggers that are created from your shadow and yours to own.

Again, ask the question, where has placing yourself as more-important than others helped you?  Perhaps there was a time where you had an emergency and everything else became less important for you.  It allowed you to get the services that were necessary.

  1. Now note where feeling like you aren’t as important as others may have worked against you.  Yes, that’s the flip of the shadow.  You had to buy into it right?  Part of you had to believe that being more important than others was undesirable or bad, so where has that belief held you back?  Perhaps in asking for a promotion you deserved?  Maybe if feeling that you weren’t worthy of having that fit body since you know others and serving them is more important.  Maybe it hindered your ability to work and communicate in a team environment sense you felt less important than your team members.  Look at all the areas of your life where you’ve felt this way.  Where have you made sexy excuses, or been willfully ignorant to stay stuck in this?  Where have you lashed out because of it?  Obviously in our example its rage in the car, have you lost your temper in grocery store lines?  When speaking with customer service to right a wrong?  Just get clear on where in the past this belief in being less than worked against you or sabotaged your efforts.  (Again, being honest and kind to yourself).
  2. Now write in your journal and have a conversation of what you would say to that part of you that you disowned. Acknowledge that it too has good qualities that have applications in your life.  That it too has a place and time to be used to your benefit.  That sometimes you may need to put yourself first and at times that’s appropriate.  Apologize to that part for keeping it separate ask it for forgiveness and invite it to be part of the whole of you.

In her book Abundance Now, Lisa Nichols has this to say about forgiveness of yourself and others “If you want to make more room in your heart for abundance, love and goodness to come into your life, you must set yourself free with forgiveness.”  You can feel the energy shift on that because the guilt and shame, the judgment, the wrongness of that trait has been lifted.

As a recap, all of us have “Shadows” in our personality, they are neither good nor bad, they just are.  Left unchecked the shadows want our attention so they come up at the most in opportune of times.  Rather than having shadows rear their heads and us irrationally reacting we can choose self-awareness and mastery.  Simply by taking the above steps to reclaim the disowned aspects of ourselves, we are able to choose to respond to situations in a healthy way.

With much kindness,

Jill Dell

It’s Your Life, Own it, Design it, Live it!

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