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Shadow Work: Integrating Our Shadow to Achieve Wholeness

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

Integration of the Shadow is a path to our Divine Wholeness. The majority of us have repressed our Shadow for eons doing so has only produced chaos, pain and suffering by projecting our hidden Selves onto others and our environment as opposed to accepting it and using it. In this Blog we’re going to talk about what the Shadow is, how it manifests in our lives and some general ideas on how to begin integration it to help us experience more of our Wholeness.

What is the Shadow?

The Famous Carl Jung describes what the Shadow is in the following quote: “By not being aware of having a shadow, you declare a part of your personality to be non-existent. Then it enters the kingdom of the non-existent, which swells up and takes on enormous proportions…If you get rid of qualities you don’t like by denying them, you become more and more unaware of what you are, you declare yourself more and more non-existent, and your devils will grow fatter and fatter”. In other words, the Shadow is an aspect of our own nature that we don’t consciously accept because we don’t like them. We deem them as “bad”, “immoral” or “unacceptable”. These attributes are then pushed down into the subconscious realm of the Shadow and then hidden away from our consciousness, only to fester and grow and the more we repress the more we will not see its truth. Keep in mind, the terms “bad”, “immoral” or “unacceptable” are subjective terms developed through ideals; either societal ideals and/or ideals our brains manufactured during, and due to, our childhood and environmental programming.

How We Interact with our Shadow: Scapegoating

Below are some general examples of how our Shadow manifests in our lives.

  • Jealousy and Resentment: Instead of simply accepting that we may not be good at something as someone else is and/or deciding to improve on the areas we are envious of, we project our unconscious feelings of ineptitude and self-loathing onto others. A well-known example is the biblical story of Cane and Abel. We’ve all experienced moments of jealousy and resentment and these feelings could have been programmed into us by our parents as a by-product of their decision to have “favorites” between you and your sibling(s) or something to that effect.

  • Being Overly Critical, aka Bullying: When a child grows up with an oppressive over-critical parent in the home they are being programmed to constantly view themselves as “bad” or “good” (This is often the case when the parents are highly programmed by religious doctrines, or just by some very strict parenting themselves). We manufacture this framework of viewing others in a critical nature in an effort to satisfy our subconscious feelings of inadequacy and perceived failures. This can manifest in the smallest of ways, from judging other people’s life decisions as “wrong” because you need to believe your life decisions are “right” or in larger, more traumatizing ways such as genocide (the spectrum is truly as far and as varied as the previous two examples; our lack of integration of our Shadows permeates our existence on every level). This form of programming is running rampant in our World now, so much so that you can see the manifestation glaring at us by just turning our TVs on or logging onto Twitter or InstaGram; these platforms support this Shadow projection. An easy example is the recently popular “Reality Shows” like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip Hop, Jerry Springer to name a few. The media has found a way to monetize our desire to satiate the hunger for our need to feel “Right”, “good” and justified and to continue repressing our Shadow.

When What We Repress Can Actually Help Us

Our denial of what we deem “unacceptable” within us can take root in our Shadow even when that characteristic can be highly beneficial for us; such as aggression. Aggression is a natural part of who we are as part of the human spectrum of emotion. (And if you’re familiar with my talking points in the past; emotions are “Breadcrumbs” that bring us closer to Enlightenment and to our Higher Selves). Now, keep in mind, I’m not suggesting that we be hostile with each other or to amplify our aggression, rather, we have to acknowledge the feeling and allow it to communicate to us. Aggression is often a message from our Higher Selves that we simply need to be assertive and possibly to hold firm and healthy boundaries. From my personal life experiences, the group of people that struggle with this are the Divine Feminines (male or female, and myself included!) who often find it very difficult to assert themselves in a healthy manner and either lapse in passive-aggressiveness or allow their inner Divine Masculine to run rampant with over-asserting themselves; either through verbal or physical violence. This particular programming can be linked to times when a child is taught to not feel angry or upset; to hide their feelings or were told blatantly that their feelings were wrong or when a child’s ambition or competitiveness was seen by others in their environment as a threat.

Guideline for Integration

With these examples, you can see the pattern of what a repressed Shadow does or just as important, what our programming does; it aims to tame us by making us focus on being likeable, or accepted, to force us to conform and to turn away from our necessary individuation and self-reliance, but unfortunately, the price is our Spiritual Wholeness. The road to Shadow Integration may take a long time, maybe even a lifetime, especially for those in modern societies as myself. It requires a brave vulnerability to face our fragile self-image, one that was developed by listening to others’ ideas and opinions of who we are “supposed” to be or expected to be. It will also take a strong and self-compassionate heart because we still will have to work through the actual mental programming of these feelings of inadequacy and shame. (Sidenote: Collectively, as we deal with the current global unrest, we are actually working through our Collective Shadows, how we choose to deal with the hidden and forbidden pains, inadequacies and self-loathing will make a world of difference). Individual Shadow Work is unique, so this blog won’t be able to provide a simple solution, however here are some general and simple ideas that can help you begin your Shadow Work Journey:

  • Accepting the existence of our Shadow and taking it very seriously

  • Stay curious about what the Shadow’s true intentions are; what is it trying to tell you about you (do this in a self-compassionate, nonjudgmental way)

  • Be consciously aware of our moods, impulses and desires. For example, recurring feelings of anger can mean that there are repressed feelings/fantasies of resentment and self-loathing. Or feelings of revenge can mean we’re struggling with honoring our feelings of aggression and providing a creative and healthy outlet for it.

I wish you all Safety and Happiness. Please stay Blessed, Protected & Grateful! See you on YouTube!

Poster Print By: Ruby Art

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