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Most of us like to think of ourselves in the best possible light, yet becoming aware of all aspects of ourselves, and accepting them, is the key to our personal and spiritual growth.

Carl Jung called it our “shadow” and said: “Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.

If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness.

At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”

The key is to become conscious of that which is kept hidden from our own awareness. So what is the fastest way to identify our shadow? 

Psychologists call this “projecting.” We project our own issues onto others—we focus on the most unappealing aspects of another’s personality that mirror our own challenges.

Take a look at what bothers you in your relationships with others.

Are you annoyed with people who are impatient? Guess what? Look at how your own impatience shows up in your life. It may be more often than you’d like to admit and your reaction to “impatience” may just dissolve.

Are you annoyed when people are inauthentic? Are greedy? Are self-obsessed? Are controlling? Are cheap?

Same thing. Look within. And watch your own reactions shift and dissolve.

This is a powerful exercise: The next time you’re upset with someone, pause for a moment. Notice the emotional reaction. Take a a few deep breaths. Identify what it is you’re finding frustrating in the other person. Ask yourself, “How am I that?” And see how this is really just an issue YOU can address in your life!!

Some more thoughts on shadow from Carl Jung: “To confront a person with their own shadow is to show them their own light.” 

And: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

About Val Boyko

Val Boyko is originally from Scotland and came to the United States over 25 years ago. At "Find Your Middle Ground" Val brings together her experience as a life coach, yoga teacher and mentor, to inspire awakening to the light and inspiration within us all. This blog is a place of exploration and discovery as we all explore finding harmony and peace, in the highs and lows of life 💛

27 comments on ““How am I that?”

  1. Well written Val, us humans do indeed not see ourselves in others, we’re too busy pointing the finger not realising it is our own frustration with it that sets us off 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Val. Indeed we are floating in the same area of consciousness this very day, my friend. Well done here, my friend. 🙏🏻💜☮️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The result of a consistent practice of honest self-reflection has illuminated the idea that I can’t identify characteristics in others that I don’t have. When I am disturbed, I’ve found that this warrants my attention.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So very valid Val

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pat Walton

    Whoa! How very true this is; even if we fail to acknowledge it. It is there, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. uh-oh; sounds like I’ve got a lot of issues to become aware of…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the title, it is so apt to use each time we judge someone for something. We recognize in others that which we have in us, dormant and potential. Your post was very good to read and be reminded.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That will prove to be an interesting exercise, Val. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So wise, Val. And very true, we’re all mirrors… sometimes it is hard to take a good look, but worth doing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so important to understand and practice, and can only be found and healed in stillness. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Very interesting Val, and a very good exercise for us all to try.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A powerful exercise, Val. I can see how it provides an opportunity for growth. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I found that learning to laugh at myself gave me the freedom to look at the shadows within me. We’re all somewhat absurd, but it’s no bad thing at all. The most absurd among us take themselves so very seriously. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chuckling …. Have you been talking to Esme today? I love the idea that laughing at ourselves gives us freedom to explore more deeply. Thank you Hariod 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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