Apr | 2020
Facing your Shadow in this time of COVID-19 pandemic darkness
Tags: analytical psychology, counseling, COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19; coronavirus, depth psychology, Enlightenment, Jung, maturity, Mentorship, Pandemic, psychological insight, Psychologist, psychology, shadow, skeletons in the closet, Tucson Counseling
Everybody has a shadow, but no one wants to look at it. At least the Shadow I am talking about. The idea of the “Shadow” was coined by Dr. Carl Jung, one of four brilliant depth psychologists who explored the deeper aspects of the mind at the turn-of-the-century.
The Shadow to Jung is the collection of undesirable, raw, primitive, and sometimes dangerous elements in each of our personalities. The Shadow can include experiences we do not wish to talk about, are embarrassed by, and/or which have traumatized us, but which we do not wish to talk about. When you say someone has “skeletons in their closet”, the idea is there are parts of their life they prefer not to look at so they keep it locked away in the “closet”.
The Shadow grows stronger when left in the closet, yet true Enlightenment – and the path toward Mature Wisdom – necessarily involve the closet being opened and a full inventory being taken. And not just an inventory, but working through the elements in that closet such that they do not continue to negatively influence your day-to-day personality functioning. Because humans necessarily want control over their existence, many people choose to stuff things in the closet but then slam the door shut. They put things in, but do not clean it out. Sound familiar?
During this COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all going to get to know our shadows – and closets – much better than we would prefer.
How willing are you to look at your shadow? You are about to find out.
Many people are feeling overwhelmed, especially given the likely prospect that it will be at least another 2 to 3 months before countries can begin to feel any reliable relief.
We are all in this together, and each of us needs to take stock of what is in our shadow closet. Or, accept that as your stress increases your shadow is going to force open the closet door and welcome itself into every aspect of your life it can. When you are willing to shine light into your closet, you can unleash great energy that can be used to refine parts of yourself that previously had been holding you back.
The sad reality is even Great People people are often derailed by their shadow elements. No matter how many great characteristics you have on your Personality Train, the Shadow can be like the proverbial penny that sits on the track that can derail the whole train.
Too many people believe that by only highlighting – and accelerating – their best parts, they can reach their True Potential. The truth is, you cannot reach your True Potential unless you are willing to process and thus “unload” the heaviness that all those unrefined Shadow elements bring. Whether we want to admit it or not, those elements drag us down.
Like a secret that we never tell anyone, but which consistently creeps back into our mind, the Shadow elements continually divert energy as they demand attention. Here is a list of characteristics that can derail your development, that even many healthy people have.
As humans become stressed, their shadows become more evident. Take this time to become better friends with your Shadow, where each week you have a goal of working on a certain aspect. It may even take a couple of months to work on certain aspects. But know this: if you do not intentionally work on your shadow, it is going to become much more powerful, especially during this stressful pandemic.
Reach out to a seasoned credible professional to come to precisely understand the roots of the elements in your shadow, the true nature of those element, and how you can address it.
This is one way you use COVID-19 to become a better person. There are others as I discuss here.
From the Southwestern and sunny Desert, I continue to offer guidance to those wishing to stay on the path of Wisdom even amidst growing darkness.
Stay safe and remember, as Socrates pointed out 1,000’s of years ago, the most important kind of knowledge is Self Knowledge.
Your most reliable way to get through this COVID-19 pandemic, is to get to know yourself even better, by shining the piercing light of insight into your closet.
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