Carl Jung is my idol.
I have learned all I know about life, spirituality, and philosophy for the last 5 years of studying his works.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist that gifted the world his knowledge of spirituality, psychology and wisdom. Jung believed that most of our questions, most of our sufferings, arise from the distresses of the human “soul,” which is the original meaning of the Greek word psyche. His work invites a new form of dialogue between ego consciousness and the “soul,” the latter being approachable only through our effort to understand our symptoms, our inexplicable life patterns, our compensatory dreams, and so on. His dialogue serves as a form of psycho-spiritual enlargement.
His most famous work is on the psychology of the human "SHADOW". We all have one we hide behind a persona.
"Like plants, so men also grow, some in the light, others in the shadows. There are many who need the shadows and not the light. - Carl Jung
None of us are as good as we think. We all have an aggressive side with flaws and weaknesses. We possess animalistic sides. I'll be the first to admit it.
But we all have this, and what we deny doesn't disappear. It actually congregates in what Carl Jung called the Shadow.
"Only the man who goes through this darkness can hope to make any further progress." - Carl Jung
For a shadow to be cast, an object must impede a path of light. The object that casts our psychological shadow is called our persona.
Persona = Latin word signifying a mask worn by an actor.
In Jungian psychology, the persona represents the metaphorical mask we wear in the social world. It is the collection of character traits we want others to believe define us, or as Jung writes;
The persona is a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other, to conceal the nature of the individual. - Carl Jung
The construction of our persona begins early in life when we learn which elements of our character garner approval from family members, peers, and society at large, and which are rejected.
The former we integrate in our persona, the latter we hide behind this mask. Over time though, so as not to have imposter syndrome or feel like a fraud, we start to identify with our persona.
This is where it gets dangerous for self.
Because in the process we hide unwanted character traits not only from others, but also from ourselves.
These character traits are repressed and congregate in the unconscious to form the shadow.
The shadow is in the inferior part of the personality; sum of all the psychic elements which because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude of the persona, are denied expression in life and therefore coalesce into a relatively autonomous "splinter personality" with contrary tendencies in the unconscious
The repressed contents of our shadow do not lie dormant in the unconscious, never to be heard from again, rather they operate in an autonomous manner behind the spotlight of conscious awareness.
One way the shadow manifests itself is through projection, wherein we perceive in other individuals, groups, nations, political parties, or races, the weaknesses, evils, and faults that reside within ourselves.
"We still attribute to the other fellow all the evil and inferior qualities that we do not like to recognize in ourselves, and therefore have to criticize and attack him, when all that has happened is that an inferior "soul" has emigrated from one person to another." - Carl Jung
The world is still full of scapegoats, just as it formerly teamed with witches and werewolves.
Elements of our shadow also find expression in our day-to-day life by affecting our moods and behaviors for the character traits, instincts, and desires that we repress fester in the unconscious, leading to tension created between our conscious personality and the autonomous splinter personality of the shadow.
AT TIMES OF STRESS AND CONFLICT, WHEN OUR CONSCIOUS MIND IS UNABLE TO KEEP THE DOORS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS CLOSED, THE SHADOW REVEALS ITSELF, AND OFTEN WITH DAMAGING CONSEQUENCES.
"There are patients who boast that for them the shadow-side doesn't exist; they assure us that they have no conflict, but they do not see that other things of unknown origin cumber their path, hysterical moods, underhand tricks which play on themselves and their neighbors, a nervous inflammation of the stomach, pains in various places, irritability for no reason, and a whole host of nervous symptoms. - Carl Jung
CONFRONTING THE SHADOW
Rather than denying our shadow, we are better off by shining a light on this dark side of our character. Confronting the shadow begins with accepting its existence and realizing that the personality we portray to the world, and our conscious sense of self, DOES NOT REPRESENT US IN TOTALITY.
When we accept our shadow, we can be honest and self-reflect, self-critique, and reveal some of the traits we have been hiding from.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD ARE BOUND TO COME TO LIGHT IN US ALL. SHOULD WE WISH, AS WE OUGHT TO LIVE WITHOUT SELF-DECEPTION OR SELF-DELUSION. IT ALL WORKS IN YOUR FAVOR.
For although some aspects of the shadow are personal, much that gets deposited there is influenced by social and cultural trends and so shared among members of our society.
Most times are character trait we reject, has likely been rejected by a sibling or close friend. But, if we an learn about their shadow, clues about our own will be revealed.
"I have come to the conclusion that the most individual thing about man is surely his consciousness, but that his shadow....is far less individualized, the reason being that a man is distinguished from his fellows more by his virtues than by his negative qualities." - Carl Jung
RECONNECTING WITH THE POSITIVE SIDE OF OUR SHADOW
Allows us to minimize the effects of the negative side and integrating it all into our conscious sense of self, produces a character that tends toward the ideal of wholeness - Jung believed defined the psychologically healthy.
As we approach a true state of wholeness, we become more attractive to other people. For as humans possess an instinctive suspicion of those who appear too good and who identify too much with their persona.
Truth is, beneath the bright persona lurks a real dark and dangerous shadow. Trust me on that. You know this as well if you listen to your intuition.
WHATS FAR MORE ATTRACTIVE:
The complete character of someone is always far more attractive than the persona. A complete character is a whole woman/man, who not only knows their strengths, but their weaknesses, faults, and potential for becoming evil.
This is how you master self.
"The shadow belongs to the wholeness of the personality: the strong man must somewhere be weak, somewhere the clever man must be stupid, otherwise he is too good to be true and falls back on the pose and bluff." - Carl Jung
Those of us who take up the challenge of confronting the shadow will also help heal the divided world we live in.
For when we face the shadow, we withdraw our projections, and we stop participating in the shadow, we are able to withdraw our projections, and this leads to us participating in the rampant scapegoating of political opponents or members of a different race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or spiritual beliefs.
In conclusion, the world today is full of the viewpoint containing a negative and problematic outlook on society. The worst part: they notice the faults in others but themselves.
The serious problem is that lies within themselves.
Most people fail to see they are a character split in two and until they confront the shadow side, they will only amplify the hostility and divisiveness of the modern world.
"The man who confronts his shadow, knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day." - Carl Jung
Don't be afraid of your dark side. We all have one.