“The shadow self seems to be the opposite of love. Actually, it is the way to love.” Deepak Chopra
One of the most important psychiatrists and founders of “philosophy of human condition” that often spoke about this topic was dr. Jung. Carl Gustav Jung wrote about many things concerning the human psyche but what stand out of them is his conviction that every person has a light side and a dark side within (1).
In general, men and women experience their vulnerabilities and shame in different ways. With men, it’s really about their feelings of being perceived as “weak” and their ability to earn, provide, protect or connect emotionally. Women, by their very natures, have much more to contend with as appearance and body image are ripe with societal stereotypes and self-judgments. A woman will juggle unspoken expectations of doing it all, doing it perfectly and making sure she has made her efforts “look effortless” Nevertheless, we can experience insecurities in countless ways.
It is the human condition to be imperfect. Feelings of inadequacy and failure are part of the experience of living. Paradoxically, it’s our struggles that make us who we are. When we can show up by dropping the masks that hide our personal humanity and recognize that we all have shadows, we contribute toward an environment of supported vulnerability, courage, openness, empathy and compassion. We help others to find their heart courage to risk emotional exposure. It starts to make sense that we dismiss vulnerability as weakness only when we realize that we’ve confused feeling with failing and emotions with liabilities. Everybody has something about himself or herself that they don’t like. These somethings cause them to feel shame, to feel insecure or not “good enough.”
Rather than to fight the darkness, we should learn to embrace it (2). To love it, since it is an essential part of us. We should be careful not to stop and mere acceptance of your “vulnerable darkness” but to go further, nurture it and build a relationship with it. It is not about not feeling anything bad but seeing the you-ness in those negative emotions (shame, loneliness, anger, fear, jealousy, insecurity, etc.). You can see it as a part of you that needs your love and attention. We tend to only look at the good sides of our personality, and neglect the bad. But what if there was no good or bad? If we can look at ourselves as different aspects we understand that all aspects have the right to be there. Only then we can become more whole. Otherwise supressed, it shall become a negative aspect within you, which isnt necessarily bad. As a matter a fact it can be your doorway to understanding yourself on a deeper level, and to look at it without judgement. If anything, it is a hard task not to judge ourselves, but it is necessary to integrate this shadow aspect of ourselves by merely acknowlodging its existance.
Your vulnerable darkness will be your path for reaching a state on living your life through your inner light.
This isn’t only a step towards feeling love and acceptance towards yourself but also feeling the same towards others. If you recognize and accept certain dark aspects in yourself you will do the same towards those of others. You will learn to understand and embrace the other without fear of his or her dark sides. You will have the courage to step into an all-in connection.
The only kind that counts in the end.
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti Gawain