Something not many people want to know or speak about. The word shadow brings up a whole host of thoughts about what this part is inside of us. And no, nobody lives without a shadow side to them. Our denser, more primal side that we hide from others eventually hides from ourselves in the unconscious. Sometimes impulsively slipping out every now and then, you wonder where this has come from, as if you turn into another person. When we grow up our family and society reflect to us what is acceptable and not acceptable. We tend to innocently hide what seems to be unacceptable to others and society, creating a shadow with these repressed parts of our identity - sexual desires, angry thoughts, shameful feelings, immoral/taboo urges, racist/prejudice views etc... Over time our shadow grows both individually and collectively. Desperate to be owned and integrated into balance.
Imagine how much of our energy goes towards keeping this shadow side hidden away, locked out and the key thrown well away. Can you imagine what people could achieve and feel when they take back their disowned parts and live more balanced lives? No more seeing the problem in another but knowing full well that it comes from within the individual. When working with our shadow we will never have full access to it in one go, but bit by bit when we are ready over time. Our fear turns to courage, creativity starts to flow, greater emotional depth is added and wholeness felt, rather than living a flat, repetitive and mundane life. What do you hide in your shadow?
The shadow is not dangerous nor something to be afraid of. However, the more we turn away from our darker aspects, the more dense and heavy the shadow becomes. That feeling like something is on your back/shoulders weighing you down. Jung spoke about how the shadow can also regress the longer we distance ourselves from it, by not integrating our shadow we express our inferior/uncivilised parts more primitively. We can get a taste of our shadow when we are around and/or dream of people that are of the same sex. Certain personality traits or behaviours we do not like in the other are really traits or behaviours that we do not want to admit to having ourselves. Integrating the shadow allows us to be much more authentic, the ability to feel whole, and no longer needing to waste valuable energy in arguing with/judging another.