How I Learned To Love My Dark Side

Your Shadow is Not Your Enemy.

Misconception # 1  

One of the biggest misconceptions about the “Shadow” is, it is your enemy. You’ve been told, if you don’t deal with your Shadow, it will deal with you. Sounds pretty ominous right? 

Your Shadow is not your enemy. It’s not there to sabotage you. It is not there to hurt you. It is there to help you, because it holds that which needs to be disposed of and that which needs to be accepted, in order for you become real.

It holds what you need in order for you to become whole, in order for you to accomplish what you have come into this lifetime to accomplish. It is not your enemy.

It takes awhile to really understand the Shadow. The movie “The Shadow Effect” by Debbie Ford,

which included Deepak Chopra and Marianne Wiiliamson, was a beautiful and heartfelt  project. Feedback from many people who saw it was, they understood the general idea, but not what The Shadow meant in their daily lives. It’s so important to understand The Shadow and the misconceptions.

So, what is the Shadow?  The Shadow is made up of all the stuff that you have denied. The stuff about yourself that you discount, that you defend yourself against, that you distract yourself from. That you pretend doesn’t exist or ( if if it does exist )  are “no big deal.”  The Shadow is all the stuff that you learned to resist and that you refused to accept. This includes the dark and light aspects of yourself.

What most people have done is create an alliance with “the Idealized Self” or the negative ego.  

The negative ego is the unauthentic self which seeks approval by others. Don’t be yourself, be whatever it takes to be accepted. Just fit in and be normal, be idealized,  be whatever people want you to be to gain approval. Don’t accept yourself,  just be accepted by others. When it come to the Shadow, the Idealized Self will say,

“Ok, you’ve found your Shadow, don’t look any deeper. It’s nasty and ugly. So run away.”

Even those on a spiritual journey may deny the Shadow, as they only want to focus on the “positive” and the “light” aspects of themselves. The truth is, until you make peace with your Dark Shadow, you cannot truly embody your Light Shadow.

Briefly, your Shadow is the friend of the “real ” or “authentic” you. You need to shift alliances from the Idealized Self to your Shadow. The Negative ego always lies.  The Shadow always tells the truth.

  ” The Shadow contains the Lost Depth of Soul. And it contains the Lost Depth of  Spirit. Of an  imagination that imagines itself, of a creativity that creates itself. That is where that stuff is. The Shadow has it – not as ransom, but as a gift when you are willing to own it and make peace wih it and accept it. “

8 thoughts on “How I Learned To Love My Dark Side”

  1. kprophet.darkeros says:

    Thank you, Pat, for such a well written treatise on the Shadow! Tis truly one of my FAVORITE topics! For it IS in the shadow that the Gold of the Self is found. And what a place to hide it! No wonder we struggle so in our lives because of our split. Yet to go into the areas of ourselves that is the most unseemly, UGLY (or so WE think) and that which we loathe, is not an easy task.

    I work with the shadow in creative forms… movement, painting, writing, ritual… which seems to be a much easier medium to explore the hidden places. It is difficult to see our shadows, thus its name. But it does like to come out and play creatively!

    Thank you again for this piece, Pat. It is really a treat. Gonna check out that movie!

  2. laurie.rosenfeld says:

    Pat, this is a wonderful and accessible explanation of the shadow. Bravo! I have not seen the movie “The Shadow Effect” and will have to check it out. You are so spot on that in order to become whole we need to embrace the disowned parts of ourselves. I work with the Enneagram system of personality which helps us see elegantly and clearly the disowned parts of ourselves. Some of my own shadow work is about reclaiming joy, pleasure and having “fun without a purpose”. Others have no problem with this … for me … this is a challenge. This month I have been focused on reclaiming my heart’s desire and doing the things that move me for no other reason than that they move me. Visual journaling, vision boards, creative work, and art of all kinds takes me into this space. It’s both my light shadow in that I idealize and admire people creatives who can do this with such ease, and it’s my dark shadow because I can sometimes get frustrated or jealous of people who allow themselves the gift of play. We all have a shadow side just naming it is the first step toward shedding our “false self” the self of the Ego.

    How do you work with your shadow? Thanks so much for this insightful post on such an important topic!http://www.laurierosenfeld.com/blog/

  3. pat novak says:

    @laurie.rosenfeld Thank you for the great comment Laurie! I am so interested in the work you do with the Enneagram. I work with my Shadow through awareness of patterns which repeat themselves in my life, in the people I interact with and of course, in the secrets we keep. It’s crucial to stay honest and non-judgemental as we explore the different aspects of our own Shadow. But without it, we cannot achieve the kind of transformations we are desiring. I like your challenge! The ” gift of play ” Is vital !

  4. pat novak says:

    @kprophet.darkeros Thank you Kathryn! So true, it is where we find the gold!

    It is not an easy task to go into the darkness, it take courage and a true desire to become the authentic self. But once you realize The Shadow is actually you’re friend and not the enemy, it;’s easier to keep it close and find the gold!

    I love the creative forms as a way to engage the Shadow. Makes it more tangible for people to explore and work with!

  5. SusanaFrioni says:

    Great post Pat! I’m yet to see this movie…this book is also on my ‘must read’ list! I’m a big believer of embracing the dark + the light…you cannot have one without the other. xx

  6. LoraleeHutton says:

    Thanks for sharing this post Pat. As I age I find it so much easier to embrace the light and the dark. They’ve always been there for me, but what I tended to do was not let people see me, the real me. And so I would either put on a fake “happy, positive face” or completely avoid people while living with my ‘shadow’. Now I embrace the times when tears naturally fall down my face. If it makes others uncomfortable, I allow that to be part of the experience too (for me, and them). It’s all part of life. Sharing, connecting and being who we are, in all ways. I wasn’t having fun doing the fake thing anyway 🙂 Thanks Pat ~ Loralee

  7. ashgwilliam says:

    Interesting post Pat. I’d say I’ve been embracing the shadow aspects of myself more recently. I’d never thought of it in quite this way though! Thanks for the insights and movie suggestion! I really need to make a list – so many good ones have been recommended to me lately =)

  8. pat novak says:

    @kprophet.darkeros

    kprophet.darkeros Thank you kathleen prophet ! So true, it is where we find the gold!

    It is not an easy task to go into the darkness, it take courage and a true desire to become the authentic self. But once you realize The Shadow is actually you’re friend and not the enemy, it;’s easier to keep it close and find the gold!

    I love the creative forms as a way to engage the Shadow. Makes it more tangible for people to explore and work with!

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