To be happy, to find inner peace, to create a conscious life, the art of integration must take place.
The Idealized Self
There are parts of ourselves we approve of, we idealize, we hold as our true self. The compassionate one. The kind one. The protector. The philanthropist. The dreamer.
The Shadow Self
There are other parts of ourselves we experience on a consistent basis. Parts that we deny. The victim. The abandoned one. The angry one. The controlling one. The power hungry one. These versions of ourselves seem to arise whenever we feel fearful or uncertain. These are our shadows.
Shadows are the most misunderstood parts of the psyche. They are thought of as dark aspects, that should be done away with. Pushed away to the furthest corners of the mind, whenever they arise.
Shadow is a Protective Mechanism Against Pain
The function of our shadows is not malevolent. They form early in life, as protective mechanisms. We learn through painful circumstances to protect ourselves, this works to the extent that we avoid pain. Once this is learned, a shadow self is formed and remains in the recesses of the subconscious mind. When similar situations arise, the shadow will emerge to protect us, once again from pain and loss.
Repression Creates Emotional Suffering
Denying this part of the self, is like turning anger inward. We reject ourselves and as we do an internal battle begins.
The repercussions of this battle are anxiety, depression, anger and guilt.
Integration Is Key
To end this battle, to create true happiness we must bring the shadows to the light. In doing so we recognize their purpose. Creating open communication with these parts of the self and teach them new and heather ways to get their needs met.
Be gentle with your shadows, like you would be with a young child, that knew no better.
They await you. Let the art of integration begin.