My first interaction of the shadow self many years ago when I opened my Pilates studio in St.Helens. I was visited by a fellow Pilates teacher who wanted to open a studio and was told to stay my side of the bridge. As you all know I am from Merseyside. I now understand that the teacher in question was showing her shadow and of course insecurities which we all have including myself. I did not respond and carried on as normal.

The more we react from our shadow the more pain we create in relationships to the self and others including things. The reoccurrence of pain that we create unconsciously, is how the shadow works on your behalf.

‘You can’t heal on something that you are unconscious of’ – Paul Chek

If we are constantly pointing the finger and blaming others this is a direct route to what’s called the shadow self. What are the things you like least in other people? Does that characteristic exist within you too? Can you think of an example, even, of when you did something similar? What we repress never stays repressed, it lives on in the unconscious—and, despite what our egos would have us believe, the unconscious mind is the one really running the show.  The shadow manifest itself in many ways, but we can really understand it by seeing what we are creating or taking part in creating in our relationships and relationships with others. If we don’t learn to own our shadow it will keep coming up again and agin in life. Our outside world is a reflection of our inside world.

So what exactly is the shadow? This will be a quality or trait that you see in another person that you dislike and detest. For example, you might feel that everyone around you is making excuses and not pulling their weight perhaps at work or the home, leaving you to do everything. If you looked at yourself honestly, you will likely find those qualities in yourself or something equivalent or similar in nature. Another example would be detesting someone unable to give up smoking and drinking. Again, what addiction or habitual patterns do you have and are unable to give up. ‘So when you blame and criticise others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself’.

When we recognise and face our shadow, we can become more whole, conscious and balanced. By becoming more conscious ourselves. We actually raise the consciousness of others.

1.For example,  if we accept and face our anger and frustration and results and stick to what Chek practitioners call our core values, this includes setting boundaries and perimeters we will have  abetter result.  This can be particularly challenging when dealing with loved ones and family. All pain whether physical ,mental or emotional will have sadness, without feeling sadness we can never appreciate happiness and joy and its perfectly natural to show all emotions. They should never be hidden.

2.Knowing your shadow side will also improve your relationships with the self and others. The more whole we become the more empathy and compassion we will have with others. When we understand where negative emotions and behaviours come from that do not serve us (F.E.A.R- false evidence appearing real). We will have a better reaction and also know how to handle this situations and experiences.

3.If you feel uncreative in life, working to understand your shadow might help. Jung connected the shadow to the creativity. This is because w may have been brought up in circumstances that kept our R brain underdeveloped. Creativity can show up in art, music, sport and so many other things so developing our creative side can uncover those shadow qualities.

As we have said in previous blogs, we all find a cover up for pain. We usually mask it with the ego. We tell ourselves stories about who we are, who we are not, and what we would never do to protect ourselves from suffering the consequences of being an outcast. Ultimately, we believe these stories, and once we develop a firm belief about something, we unconsciously discard any information that contradicts that belief. In the world of psychology, this is known as confirmation bias: humans tend to interpret and ignore information in ways that confirm what they already believe. So if we have been brought up through parents, schools and teachers to think one thing, we will naturally be drawn to that thinking, feeling and emotion. Having a flexible mind as well as a flexible body helps us to look at other possibilities and angles in life.

We all possess qualities that society has deemed undesirable. People fall short of others’ expectations, have a temper flare-up, swear, crudeness and could be outspoken etc.

 The truth of the matter is that the ideal person does not exist,The ideal individual in any society is one who lives up to impossible standards.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”— Carl Jung

What no one wants to admit to others is that we are all secretly failing to meet those standards. Women wear makeup, men use deodorant, advertisers photoshop celebrities, people filter their personalities with photos and status updates on social media—all to mask perceived flaws and project an image of “perfection.” We see this everyday on instagram and reality TV,  gossip magazines and of course organisations.   Jung called these social masks we all wear our “personas.”

Having the courage to follow a road less travelled takes great courage. Uncommon thoughts and emotions put us at an even higher risk of being alienated from society. Ideas that are challenging or contrary to social norms are considered dangerous and are best left unexpressed if one wishes to “fit in’. I always say – Are you a leader or a follower?, are you the hunter or the hunted?

Emotionally, any mood other than happy, or at least neutral, is considered undesirable. Rather than admit we are going through a difficult experience, thus making others uncomfortable with the knowledge that we are uncomfortable, we say that we’re fine when we’re really not. Nowadays depression, stress and anxiety are more recognised but were hidden under the scarper years ago.

Ironically, this need to avoid things that make us and others uncomfortable undermines our ability to confront and either heal or integrate them. And if this failure to heal is bad for us as individuals, the effects of that failure on a mass scale are catastrophic.

Religious and secular morals only tell us who to be, not how to become that person. These organisations are known as memes. When solutions are offered, they are bogged down in esoteric practice that the average person has a hard time understanding—at least not without years of mentoring and study, something that not all of us have the luxury to undergo. We can’t all be monks, after all. This is why i will never fix cliemts as it make stew cleat reliant on teh practitioner. Arming them with etc right information, education and knowledge gives them the power to make the right choices. ‘If i give you fish, you can only feed yourself, if i tell you how to fish , you can feed a whole village’. Paul Chek

Your shadow like pain is something that can indeed offer many gifts of insight and personal power, should you dare to understand it. It does not have to be the Jekyl and hide portrayed in the movies. If you have not been given the opportunity to find your creative side as a child, finding it as an adult can lead to many gifts including art, music and sport to name but a few.

“If you had only truth, goodness, and harmony on the inside, and the complete absence of the other, there would be no creative impulse. Everyone has a shadow unless they are standing in the dark.” Deepak Chopra