Early in our lives, in order to be ‘civilised’ and to be accepted by those around us we undergo the natural process of dividing ourselves into what works for us in our world, and what does not work. We hide away the parts of us that don’t work – the parts we are criticised or shamed for, and we work on presenting the ‘valuable’, ‘good’, or ‘acceptable’ parts of ourselves to the world. This is an essential process which we all go through in early life in order to be loved and accepted by those around us – or at the very least in order not to be harmed by those around us. it’s a survival mechanism, and it is unavoidable.
So, it is essential at times, especially in childhood, that we hide these sides of our personality from others. Unfortunately, however, the result of this is that we begin to hide them from ourselves too. This is where the real difficulty lies. We end up denying or hating parts of ourself. An internal war begins. The more we ‘shine’ and show what we believe are our acceptable qualities, and get respected and valued for this, the more we feel we have to repress and deny the other sides of ourselves. Yet it is not possible NOT to be who we really are – so these other sides find a way of coming out, usually in dark, shadowy or destructive ways. We seek the light, and create darkness. We go up, and we must come down. If we are male, we must know female. We must know our opposite, our mirror image, our twin who inhabits the ‘other’ side of our personality. Our ‘bright’ side is not the whole story. We cannot escape our ‘dark’ side, just as we cannot avoid the dark side of life. However, we can intelligently work with it and come to know it – not as ‘darkness’ but as a part of us that that hasn’t been loved, and that has been forced to show itself in shadowy ways.
If we miss this opportunity to integrate ourselves in the second half of our life we are in danger of our shadow sides destroying our lives. Many who have been before us have warned us of this:-
‘If you bring forward that which is within you
then that which is within you will be your salvation.
If you do not bring forward that which is within you
Then that which is within you will destroy you’
“Just take this as a warning. Know that there’s always a price for not being yourself.”
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
~C G Jung~
“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have”.
“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”
~G I Gurdjieff~
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