Updated: Apr 24
Here's 3 Reasons Why
Every person has a "shadow self" This shadow self is composed of the parts of the self that we refuse to see and consider unacceptable. They are the parts of ourselves that are not congruent with the way we see ourselves or how we want to present ourselves to others, so we shove them into the darkness out of our awareness.
Made up of thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality traits that we don't accept, we find ways to try to distance from them. We project them onto others, we use denial, we repress them. We use a host of defense mechanisms to escape what we don't want to see.
Why is that so bad you ask?
1. We are controlled by what we can't acknowledge
When we refuse to acknowledge parts of ourselves, those parts often seep out in unintended ways or control our behavior without our awareness. Our shadow self can impact us in ways we don't understand. We may cause ourselves or others pain, often without awareness of what we are doing or why. And without awareness, we can't make things right. We may instead spend our time shifting blame, looking away, minimizing or denying any problem. Awareness allows us to be watchful of our shadow, to keep an eye on it's antics and let that shadow know that we control it and not the other way around.
2. It keeps us from authentically connecting with ourselves and others.
Have you ever been intimidated by a person who then one day acknowledges a personal flaw? We usually don't recoil from this, it usually brings us closer with compassion and understanding. we usually feel more like ourselves around this person, free to be imperfect as well. When people carefully hide their shadows from themselves and others it creates a wall of distance as well. That distance can keep others from connecting to us. It often can keep us in hiding in darkness in a state of shame.
3. It keeps us from authentically connecting to God.
If we allow ourselves to see and experience our shadow self, we can freely go to God in confession and know without a doubt that we will be accepted and enfolded in His care. It's fair to say that shadows only appear in the presence of light, therefore our ability to witness our shadow comes only from our exposure to light. If we refuse to come into the light, then we are refusing to come into the presense of God, for He is light.
God has a shadow as well. However, his shadow is not at all the same as what I've described as our shadow. His is a shadow of protection that he offers to shelter us in.
We can't truly know that we need His protective shadow unless we allow His light to shine on us revealing our own shadows and our need for his grace which I believe is exemplified in His protective shadow.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalms 36: 7
And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people. Isaiah 51:16
So let's not try to run from our own shadows, lets allow our shadow self to motivate us to run instead into the loving protective shadow of a Father who longs to protect and provide for everything we need.
This has been a post written for FMF, a writing community that writes for 5 minutes on a prompt. Today's prompt was Run. If you are a writer or you'd like to exercize your "writing muscles" please join us!