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 fears, our insecurities, and our anxieties.
It’s the dark 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 Gustav 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.
- 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.