All of us, even the best, have what is known as a “shadow” part of our personality. The Shadow is our “dark” side, the one that wants to cuss and do what society deems as “bad things” and which in some manifestations really are bad things. Normally we are not even conscious of it, our Ego isn’t conscious of it, and when those times the shadow asserts itself to the point that it breaks through the Ego guardian, perhaps even the Super Ego guardian, i.e. “Society,” we become unconscious and don’t even acknowledge it.
But the trick to making your life happier is to acknowledge it.
If one can learn to acknowledge, release, pay homage to the shadow in a ceremonial, private way, it won’t come out in a public embarrassing way.
In fact respecting the shadow in private ceremonially is the key to releasing the enormous amount of positive, creative energy that’s stored inside all of us in public. In other words to be successful and happy. Manners are the oil on which societal interactions run. Forced manners are painful and take up a lot of energy. In a person who has released his shadow energy, manners flow naturally and exuberantly.
How can one deal with their shadow personality privately? Well, since the shadow is a part of the subconscious, it responds very well the ceremony and ritual. Subconscious energies believe, for example, that something said or written in private is the same as saying, writing, or doing it in public. If you are angry at someone who is close to you, for example, you may write your shadow feelings in a diary or scream and cuss at them when you are alone and no one can hear you.
This may seem absurd to some people or even “weird,” but what it does is prevent you from sending a nasty note or getting into a real argument that could have lasting scaring effects.
It’s important to understand that dealing with your shadow in private doesn’t mean that you won’t deal with conflicts that really do need to be dealt with in public or at least between two people. It’s just the opposite. Releasing your shadow in private, enables you to deal and resolve conflict more effectively and in a socially acceptable way. This is because the shadow, your dark side is also about shame and fear. You know what causes avoidance behavior? It’s not for lack of “thrashing out.” It’s from repressing your shadow, so that your shame and guilt control your consciousness, blocking out your objectivity.
This is why privacy is so important. One must have the private space to express every ounce of shadow energy, privately. Bad or “dirty” thoughts and feelings are not something to feel guilty about. But acting these “bad” or “dirty” thoughts in public is something that will cause society and yourself much harm. Still they’re going to get out one way or another, so the best way of dealing with them effectively is to pay them respect, privately, ceremonially, in a socially acceptable way.
The best book I have ever read on this subject is one called Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche by Robert A. Johnson. It’s a slim, simple book to read whose deep ideas are expressed in such easily understood language, you’ll go “Wow, this really makes total sense.” He really gets to the heart of the matter without all the extra literary “fluff.” It’s highly interesting and engaging, and something that you can put to work right away. Definitely not some University textbook tome that tries to dissect the life out of life. I highly recommend it.
Dealing with your shadow is actually a lot of fun and will enable you to release hidden, positive parts of your personality that you never knew you had before.