Me And My Shadow

Posted on 19. Feb, 2012 by in Blog, Character, Lead From Within, Leadership Development, Personal Development, Purpose

Everyone casts a shadow; we all have one.
 
 
Where we go… it goes. Where we stand, it stands… There is no escaping it.
 
 
Our shadow is filled with characters we have no wish to be, and certainly no wish to present to others; our fears, our insecurities, and our anxieties. 
 
It’s the negative side of our personality and it’s the part of ourselves that we are often are not in touch with, or have possibly disowned.
 
 
Carl Jung says, when emotions and feelings are not made conscious, they usually manifest outside of us.  
 
He says that our judgment, anger and pain will present itself and we will see it everywhere, and in everyone. It will attract the very people that we may often dislike and detest. Usually these people and situations are telling us more about ourselves than they are about the other person. They have come to teach us lessons…
 
 
How do we recognize our SHADOW in relationships and business?  
 

  • When our acts are unintentional and unintended. (“Oops, I didn’t mean to say that!”)
  • When our interactions continuously have the same troubling effect on several people. (“Both David and Libby feel you have not been honest with us.”)
  • When our negative feedback from others serves as a mirror. (“This is the fourth time you have not shown up to the meetings or even called to say you will be late.”)
  • When our feelings are amplified about others. (“I just can’t believe that she would say that. I cannot believe he had the nerve to show up that way.”)
  • When we are humiliated by circumstances. (“I am so ashamed about how he spoke to me.”)
  • When we are extremely irritated and irrational about another person’s faults (“She really let her weight get out of control.” or “He just can’t seem to get his act together.”)

Our shadow acts like our immune system. It addresses the lessons we need to learn by spotlighting our blind spots that we have hidden, have not addressed or have disowned  
 

As leaders who lead in every part of our business and life, our objective should be to have an ongoing relationship with our shadow so we can: 
 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of who we are by achieving self-acceptance and expansion of self.
  • Defuse negative emotions that derail us from our daily lives, to balance the light and dark.
  • Secure freedom from guilt and shame that plague our negative emotions.
  • Obtain clarity on how our projections color our opinions about others.
  • Address our conscious and our unconscious.
  • Heal our relationships by having honest and sincere self-examination and courageous conversations.

When we address our darkness, our blind spots, we will come to realize that there’s a gift in every shadow; a gift that is ours if we dare to receive it. 
 

THE GIFT… 
 

  • Of being in the right place and always doing it the right way.
  • Of embracing some of our disowned parts.
  • Of recalling our potentially positive qualities.
  • Of rediscovering who we are in our complete self.

Lead From Within: Our shadow is our gift. It can lead us back to our purpose. It puts names to our darkness, our suffering, and our pain which needs redemption, and that we as the redeemers can provide absolution.

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25 Responses to “Me And My Shadow”

  1. Greg Blencoe

    19. Feb, 2012

    Lolly,

    You mentioned negative feedback from others serving as a mirror. I definitely think that our relationships are mirrors. I first heard this discussed a couple of years ago. And I have found that it has been true with me.

    However, this concept can be difficult to accept at times, because it puts 100% of the responsibility on us. But this is actually empowering, because it means we have the power to change the situation.

    I agree that the shadow can be a blessing by serving as a reminder for us to instead go in the direction of our true selves.

    I think the answer to a lot of personal and relationship questions/issues is to simply love both ourselves and everybody else completely and unconditionally (while still holding ourselves and others accountable for our behavior).

    I find that the more I do this, the better my life is.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tolle Haus

    19. Feb, 2012

    Just noticed that my shadow is holding a small sledge hammer. Should I be worried??

    Reply to this comment
  3. Jesse Stoner

    19. Feb, 2012

    Lolly,
    This is an amazing post – the topic and the eloquent way you have addressed it. I find it easier to see other people’s shadow side than my own. It’s taken a long time even to admit to myself that I even have one, but in doing so, it’s opened the door to understanding myself in a much deeper way, and also the possibility of freedom from repeating patterns. For me, the biggest clue that my shadow side is emerging is the last example you gave – when I experience intense reactivity. What I try to do now is to not to act out my reactivity when that happens, but instead stay with my experience and see where it takes me, even though I’d much rather release the feelings by acting them out. I almost always see that the intensity is sparked by something in me, I often learn something very interesting about myself, and by keeping my mouth shut, I interrupt the pattern. Still learning… what an amazing journey this is! Thank you for the gift of this powerful and beautifully written post.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      Jesse,

      You are always teaching me – guiding me- mentoring me and shinning the light on myself thru your words.

      And for that I am deeply grateful…KEEP on stretching my thinking, keep on sharing your friendship

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  4. David Lapin

    19. Feb, 2012

    Lolly,
    You have outlined a daunting segment of life-work. How can one even begin to approach it without a coach or mentor, someone to hold your hand and guide the pathway? And yet begin this life work we must if we are to grow our greatness in any way at all.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Thabo Hermanus

    21. Feb, 2012

    Great post Lolly. Life’s biggest joke on us is the irony of we are in control, and yet we are not. I have met a people who frustrated me, and have had to go back to the corner where I ask myself “what is this person teaching me about myself”? I do agree, when you dig deep, it is an element of yourself that you recognise that tends to be the wind up! Reading this I was thinking about the relationship between being in the dark and how there you have no shadows.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      Thabo,

      So nice to see you!

      We all get frustrated but that we have to learn …we learn from others, we learn from self…life is the classroom of lessons.

      If we dare to live it we will continue for the rest of our lives searching and learning. I always ask when in encountering someone NEW what do they have to teach me about myself.

      THANKS for being the wonderful you that you are.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. Simon

    21. Feb, 2012

    Of course I Love this post Lolly. Shadows give us so much depth and perspective, and allow us to see what we may not have seen without. For me they give more clarity, to see the things that I may not have seen without, or even tried to ignore.

    When you drive on a bright day into what seems like total darkness of a tunnel, the shadows become light and what seemed like total darkness becomes light. When we explore those shadows, as you say we: “Gain a deeper understanding of who we are.”

    What many of us fear perhaps, is the unknown, and so many stay away from the shadows because we think we do not know, of do not want to see what is in shadow. But it is within those shadows that hold many answers to our own personal growth and development, they are part of who we are and as we walk from the sun we become one with our shadow.

    In the Star Wars saga Luke is asked to go into the dark shadows, and before he goes he asks Yoda:

    “What’s in there?

    Yoda replies:

    “Only what you take with you.”

    I have always liked this part of the film and your post here made it pop into my head. We carry our sun as we carry our shadows within, they are there always, our balance and our light to see deeper into ourselves.

    When you explore your shadows your eyes adapt and become familiar with the shade, and so as we learn and explore into our own shadows we will come to understand, not fear our own shadows.

    As I walk back to the light from the darkness of shadow just a small part follows, it is me, my shadow, for we are one.

    Thank you for reminding me to visit my shadow.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      As always Simon, you give my posts heart, and soul. Your added wisdom brings deeper meaning to what I am thinking and for that I am grateful.

      I love this line, As I walk back to the light from the darkness of shadow just a small part follows, it is me, my shadow, for we are one.

      You are brilliant and eloquent my man.

      Love reading your comments always…they make me linger and think…they make me want to explore more.

      Lolly.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Barry Birkett

    21. Feb, 2012

    WOW! Once again you are giving us a different path for needed insight into ourselves — and where to find a gift that will help us deal with some of what we find.

    Thank you, Lolly. As always, I spend much more time thinking about what you have to say than in the several times I read through to make sure I grasp it all!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      Barry,

      Lessons we learn…gifts we receive take time to digest and align with… Take your time…. because the shadow is awaiting for you to notice him….

      Reply to this comment
  8. Heather Kinzie

    21. Feb, 2012

    Lolly, great post…and spot on! Are you familiar with the Johari Window? Your examples and insight remind me of many of the “ah ha” moments I get when I use the Johari Window “on myself” as an example to participants of team building sessions. Concept of looking at how others see you to gain deep insight into yourself is a good one! Wish I could say I love what people see in me…but alas, there is always work to do on that front!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Dorothy Dalton

    21. Feb, 2012

    Lolly – eloquent and pertinent – to us all! Each one of us has a shadow!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      Dorothy,

      Yes this is important. Because we all have a shadow… the question is do we acknowledge it or not? Learn from it or not?

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  10. Lolly,
    Love this post. Such a clear and common analogy to a deep and hidden picture.

    All 6 items you list in the “recognize our shadow” section impact leadership, teamwork, entrepreneurial outcomes, and life relationships.

    This post says so much in so few words. You have the gift (as shows in your #leadfromwithin Tues 8pm chats — of tapping the subconscious and springing it to its full life.

    Truly wonderful. I will share in many places.
    Kate

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. Feb, 2012

      Kate,

      The shadow does impact leadership, teamwork, entrepreneurial outcomes and life relationships. because they have to do with self.
      were we go …our shadow goes…..

      Thank you for your relentless support, your continuous brilliance and your never ending insightful wisdom.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Marcelino Sanchez

    22. Feb, 2012

    Excellent post. This is one of the things that’s most difficult to 1) face oneself and 2) to help others to recognize. The shadow analogy works well for me!

    Reply to this comment
  12. Suzanne

    24. Feb, 2012

    Hi Lolly,
    This post is written like poetry- so beautiful- and meaningful. It is almost like a song and I wanted to thank you for sharing your beautiful writing.
    I have been working with people for a number of years providing direct client services and have worked in reflective practice- I have always believed that just by our presence, we are imposing ourselves, and our shadows, into every situation we engage in. This is what has always been called the ‘shadow side of helping’ (Egan). In previous works, theorists have identified the ‘shadow’ as in a darkness, or a negative imposition in some way. When I read your post, it captures the meaning for me about our shadows, their presence and value in our roles as leaders each and every day. I really enjoyed reading how you see it as a ‘spotlight’. This ‘light’ is what provides us profound reflection.
    Thank you for stimulating and massaging my brain with your lovely way with words and meaning. Have an awesome day! Suzanne :) (aka: @brainjacks)

    Reply to this comment
  13. Dan

    24. Feb, 2012

    A friend of mine was working through some difficulties in his relationship with his wife. One day he said to the counselor that was trying to help them, “I finally think I see my wife’s Shadow.” The counselor thought for a minute and said, “You know that’s really interesting because usually when you (meaning anyone) are certain you can see someone else’s Shadow, you are often standing in the middle of your own.”

    It was a moment of great insight for my friend and he had to step back with insight and compassion to try to understand what he had wandered into. The ensuing conversation with the counselor was liberating.

    I think the hardest part of this kind of self-revelation is dealing with the embarrassment and (even) shame of having made the projection. Our systems work very hard to avoid that feeling of exposure. I know I do. I try to conceal the shame and when I do I’m apt to blame others or otherwise lose my emotional footing. It’s even hard to acknowledge that. The learning process around the Shadow isn’t easy, and it requires lots of compassion and patience. And I also know for myself that when I think I actually know something about this whole dynamic, I may indeed be back in the center of my own Shadow.

    Reply to this comment
  14. LaRae Quy

    29. Feb, 2012

    Hi Lolly

    Thanks for reminding us that we all have our shadow side . . . unfortunately, many of us are scared of learning what this side of our personality has to teach us. It is the same reason many folks have a hard time accepting their weaknesses – but we all have those areas that can derail us if we’re not aware of their existence. To understand our shadow is to increase our chances of landing on our feet when confronted with the unexpected.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Savage

    21. Mar, 2012

    I’m interested in your interpretation of this quote:
    “We will sell our shadow to those who stand within it.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Dawood Chishti

    05. Jan, 2014

    When hard experiences of life become the mentor of extraordinarily sensitive people only then self-actualisation is revealed to them. It seems you are too deeply connected.

    Reply to this comment

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