Encountering the Shadow Self. If any measure that definitely increases well-being should be recommended above all else, then it is this one. Admittedly, there is nothing wonderful, light or beautiful about it, but in the best case it can tear apart all previous harmful thinking patterns about yourself and therefore about other people. It is a very violent processpoint and in it you step completely outside the comfort zone. It is perhaps the only way to get a hold of yourself if you suffer from harmful behavior patterns. You cannot get a good handle on addiction or addictions unless you are able to face the issues contained in the shadow self you are escaping from. The shadow can be the very thing that prevents you from breaking away from an abusive or violent partner. Shadows are exactly where blind rage springs from.
The shadow self certainly contains all the dark topics we push aside, but it is by no means dishonest. In its brutal honesty, it is very unpleasant, and it is human nature to eliminate everything unpleasant from oneself and one’s surroundings. That’s why we begin to feel bad, because our self, which we have trained for unpleasant escape, is in clear contradiction with our own perceptions. We often have a morbidly negative attitude towards things that are our own shadow subjects. We have great difficulty in finding a cure for our sickness, because medicine does not help, nor does learning new habits. The dark subjects pushed aside should be faced and internalized as a part of me. The professional term used here is integration .
Facing the shadow self is not easy, even if you try to face it. Our psyche is so strong in its protections that it convinces us of the usefulness of even superficial undertakings. I myself only succeeded on the fifth attempt, when I saw a very clear dream. In the dream, I concretely encountered my shadow chasing me, and it was terrifying as a dream. Even though my dream contained such strong symbolism, after that the processing of my shadow themes became easier and it started to show in my thinking and behavior. I had been very prone to depression until then. Since then, I have not suffered from it, even though I have faced losses and adversity in my life.
Don’t believe in trickery
The processing of subjects containing the shadow self cannot be done completely alone, but an external reinforcer is needed to help. The task of the confirmer is to listen and validate the observations you make about yourself and others. Under no circumstances should the reinforcer push his own views, so you should forget all kinds of apparent spirit healers with magical thinking and people who swear their health in the hands of natural treatments. They usually have their own shadow issues to face and they are happy to give unconditional lifestyle advice, often refusing to face these avoided issues in others. In the worst case, they cause irreversible damage to a person’s sensitive psyche, exacerbating possible harmful patterns of thought and action.
After encountering the subjects of the shadow self, you may feel very different. Or completely empty and waiting. However, it is certain that anxiety is not one of those feelings. On the contrary, the subject can be faced by observing it precisely, without it generating a repulsive reaction in one’s own mind. Memories that were previously pushed aside may return slowly or flood the mind in a short time. The latter method may seem distressing, but the cause of distress is related to the intensity of recovery and not to the contents of the memories.
Not everyone is able to face the shadow self. Some are never able to face it. A person must have some kind of resilience in order to work with the strong defenses and multidimensionality of the self. A person has to endure disappointments when he realizes that the progress was only a peak of his own mind and an effort to prevent the integration of shadow motifs into a part of me. But despite that, it’s worth trying, because confronting the shadow self (if anything) promotes your own well-being.