Part 1: Exploring the shadow side of self love!

Learning to love yourself is a term used a lot in today’s society but what does it actually mean?

Firstly the term self love means to have regard for one’s own well-being and happiness, I believe many people would agree with this description and also feel that the majority would be self motivated from this place.

So if this statement were true, then why are so many people disconnected from themselves and unhappy with their lives?

A few years ago I began a journey of self discovery, it was initiated through a challenging time I was experiencing in my life and at that time I felt I had become totally lost and disconnected from myself and those around me. I was rapidly approaching my 40’s and I had read that around this time is when men experience a mid life crisis, it sort of made sense at the time as I was outwardly expressing many of the same concerns of a man experiencing a life crisis-

  • unrealized goals
  • False self-perceptions
  • physical changes as a result of aging or health issues

It was during these challenging times that I believe the most personal growth in my life to date has occurred and has been motivated through a willingness to go on an internal search inside and asking the question  “who am I”. This question has brought up a lot of what I call impostors or shadow personalities that I’ve encountered, utilized and disregarded over the years.

In Jungian psychology, which the extremely clever Carl Jung developed refers to  the shadow or “shadow aspect” as an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. A simple way to explain this is to use an example of a person who displays regular destructive patterns and behaviors which do not serve his greater good and therefore dissociating from this part of himself and creating a shadow.

In my case my shadow parts refer to not feeling loved and I have become aware of how these parts continually show up in my life through my relationships with myself and others. The problem with the shadow is that until I became aware of it and made a conscious effort to reconnect with it through observing my thoughts, behaviors and patterns, it went undetected and laid dormant in the murky waters of the subconscious mind.

We know light expels the shadow and the light in this case is the light generated through bringing the shadow part into the conscious mind for identification, observation, self expression and reintegration.

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