Embrace your shadow (quotes)


Stop denying your dark side


We all have light and dark within us 

  • Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. Mark Twain
  • The saintly and the cynical, the divine and the diabolical, the courageous and the cowardly: all these aspects lie dormant in us and will act out if they are not recognized and integrated into our psyches. Many of us are frightened to look within ourselves, and fear has us put up walls so thick we no longer remember who we are. Debbie Ford
  • I believe that within each of us lies the essence of the universe. I am the sinner, the saint, the depraved and the righteous. I am everything that is good and holy; Buddha Nature. I am also ignorance, the reactive mind; the Shadow. Today I love and accept. Tomorrow I judge and expect. I live in a sea of change; sometimes floating in calm serenity, sometimes clinging, gasping, drowning through the storms of my life. Most importantly, (I have come to believe) I am the Observer, pure consciousness…connected forever to the Unified Field, to Brahman, to God…and so are you. Martin Prihoda
  • Each of us possess every existing human quality. There is nothing we can see or conceive that we are not, and the purpose of our journey is to restore ourselves to this wholeness. Debbie Ford
  • In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time. Libba Bray
  • There is darkness inside all of us, though mine is more dangerous than most. Still, we all have it—that part of our soul that is irreparably damaged by the very trials and tribulations of life. We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. Some use it as a shield to hide behind, others as an excuse to do unconscionable things. But, truly, the darkness is simply a piece of the whole, neither good nor evil unless you make it so. Jenna Maclaine
  • LightDarknessSelf-knowledgeSelf-awarenessProjectionThe subconsciousCreativity

We try to deny our dark side… 

  • What the psychologist Carl Jung called the shadow, contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny. It contains those dark aspects that we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. The dark side is stuffed deeply within our consciousness, hidden from ourselves and others. The message we get from this hidden place is simple: there is something wrong with me. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable. I’m not deserving. I’m not worthy. Debbie Ford
  • Our persona was not created by accident; it was created in order to camouflage the parts of ourselves we deemed the most undesirable and to overcompensate for what we believe to be our deepest flaws. What persona are you hiding behind? Debbie Ford

…but we do so at a cost 

  • By choosing not to allow parts of ourselves to exist, we are forced to expend huge amounts of psychic energy to keep them beneath the surface. Debbie Ford
  • Whatever we refuse to recognize about ourselves has a way of rearing its head and making itself known when we least expect it. Debbie Ford 
  • Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work. Marianne Williamson
  • The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us. The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being’s difficulty in coming to viruous balance with himself.   Elizabeth Gilbert

The rewards of integrating your shadow


We need to accept and integrate our shadows to be whole 

  • Within ourselves, we possess every trait and its polar opposite, every human emotion and impulse. We have to uncover, own and embrace all of who we are, the good and bad, dark and light, strong and weak, and honest and dishonest. Debbie Ford
  • We live under the pretense that in order for something to be divine it has to be perfect. We are mistaken. In fact, the exact opposite is true. To be divine is to be whole and to be whole is to be everything: the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, the holy and the devil. When we take the time to discover our shadow and its gifts we will understand what Jung meant by, ‘The gold is in the dark.’ Each of us needs to find that gold in order to reunite with our sacred self. Debbie Ford
  • Jung first gave us the term ‘shadow’ to refer to those parts of our personality that have been rejected out of fear, ignorance, shame, or lack of love. His basic notion of the shadow was simple: ‘the shadow is the person you would rather not be.’ He believed that integrating the shadow would have a profound impact, enabling us to rediscover a deeper source of our own spiritual life. ‘To do this,’ Jung said, ‘we are obliged to confront the shadow, to integrate the devil. There is no other choice. Debbie Ford
  • Nothing is not the opposite of everything. Dark is not the opposite of light. Good is not the opposite of bad. They are all the same coin, the head is inseparable from the tail. Yin is entirely dependant on Yang to exist. All opposites arise and fall away together. Mike Jenkins
  • Be careful lest in casting out the devils you cast out the best thing that’s in you. Joseph Campbell
  • The reason for doing shadow work is to become whole. Debbie Ford
  • Only in the recognition and acceptance of our shadow side can we become whole, integrated, reconciled, and therefore truly and fully ourselves. Ruben Habito
  • The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable. Paul Tillich
  • AcceptanceSelf-acceptance

Accepting and integrating our shadows allows us to embrace all parts of ourselves…

  • When you can say, ‘I am that’ to the deepest, darkest aspect of yourself, then you can reach true enlightenment. It’s not until we fully embrace the dark that we can embrace the light. Debbie Ford
  • Most of us are living with a narrow vision of what it is to be human. When we allow our humanity to embrace our universality, we can easily become whatever it is we desire. Debbie Ford
  • The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • I’ve heard it said that shadow work is the path of the heart warrior. It takes us to a new place in our consciousness where we have to open our hearts to all of ourselves, and to all of humanity. Debbie Ford
  • To get past your ego and its defenses you need to get quiet, be brave, and listen to your inner voices… When you embrace the messages of each aspect of your shadow, you begin to take back the power you’ve given to others and form a bond of trust with your authentic self. The voices of your unembraced qualities, when allowed into your consciousness, will bring you back into balance and harmony with your natural rhythms.  Debbie Ford 
  • When you acknowledge the less than perfect parts of yourself, something magical begins to happen. Along with the negative, you’ll also begin to notice the positive, the wonderful aspects of yourself that you may not have given yourself credit for, or perhaps even been aware of.  Richard Carlson

…which leads to healing and transformation… 

  • As a psychotherapist I see nothing does as much for an individual’s self-esteem as becoming aware of and accepting disowned parts of the self. The first steps of healing and growth are awareness and acceptance—consciousness and integration. Nathaniel Branden
  • Once the shadow is embraced, it can be healed. When it is healed it becomes love. Debbie Ford
  • True transformation occurs only when we can look at ourselves squarely and face our inner demons. We have to retreat into our own cocoons and come face-to-face with who we are. We have to turn toward our own inner darkness.  For only by facing the darkness does the caterpillar’s body begin to spread out and its light, beautiful wings begin to form.  Julia Butterfly Hill
  • Compassion starts with making friends with ourselves — particularly with our poisons. Pema Chodron
  • We need to revisit the experience of our innocence that allows us to accept all of who we are at every moment. This is where we need to be in order to have a healthy, happy, complete human existence. This is the path. Love is inclusive: it accepts the full range of human emotion—the emotions we hide, the emotions we fear. Jung once said, ‘I’d rather be whole than good.’ How many of us have sold ourselves out in order to be good, to be liked, to be accepted. Debbie Ford
  • We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying. Sue Grafton  
  • We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.  Carl Jung
  • HealingTransformation

…and makes us less judgemental of others  

  • The most enlightened people in the world embrace their full potential of light and dark. When you’re with people who recognize and own their negative qualities, you never feel judged by them. It’s only when people see good and bad, right and wrong, as qualities outside themselves that judgments occur. Deepak Chopra
  • Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside is only a reflection of the world inside you.
  • Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. Pema Chodron
  • Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. Carl Jung
  • Let go of the need to judge

Our shadow contains great energy we can harness

  • We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.  Sue Grafton
  • True healing comes from owning and accepting all of life’s energies within ourselves….When they are allowed to be expressed, they take their places as important facets of our nature. There is no split between ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Shakti Gawain
  • We all have a dark side. Most of us go through life avoiding direct confrontation with that aspect of ourselves, which I call the shadow self. There’s a reason why. It carries a great deal of energy. Lorraine Toussaint
  • There are things that are shadow sides of the creative energy that are negative and all that kind of stuff. The only thing that I say to myself is, in the spirit of that quote from the Gnostic Gospels: Writing is a way to let all that stuff out into the sun. George Saunders
  • Make friends with your unconscious life. That’s a great source of energy. Malcolm Morley
  • We tend to misunderstand the colour black, seeing it as evil, or negation of life. Rather, black means all things being possible, infinite energy of life before consciousness has constructed any boundaries. When we fear blackness or darkness we fear the deep unconscious source of life itself. Rachel Pollack

Identify and integrate your shadow


What irritates us about others can help us to identify our shadows 

  • When we seen men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. Confucius
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Carl Jung
  • Our indignation over the behavior of others is usually about an unresolved aspect of ourselves. Debbie Ford
  • What I discovered was my potential to act like the people I had been most harshly judging. It became clear that I had to be on the lookout for the traits that most bothered me in others. Debbie Ford
  • The particular egoic patterns that you react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you, but that you are unable or unwilling to detect within yourself. Eckhart Tolle
  • Ask someone to give a description of the personality type which he finds most despicable, most unbearable and hateful, and most impossible to get along with, and he will produce a description of his own repressed characteristics. These very qualities are so unacceptable to him precisely because they represent his own repressed side; only that which we cannot accept within ourselves do we find impossible to live with in others. Edward Whitmont
  • If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us. Hermann Hesse
  • Difficult and unpleasant as it may be to accept, we often feel most hostile to those who remind us of aspects of ourselves that we prefer not to see. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
  • I realized that I only judged people when they displayed a quality I could not accept in myself. If someone was a show- off, I no longer judged them because I knew that I, too, was a show-off. Only when I had completely convinced myself that I was not capable of a certain behavior would I get upset and point my finger at the other person. When we are blaming others, we are only denying an aspect of ourselves. Debbie Ford
  • If you admire greatness in another human being, it is your own greatness you are seeing. Debbie Ford
  • Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will continue to press every button we have, until we realize what it is that we don’t want to know about ourselves, yet. They will point us to our freedom every time. Byron Katie 
  • When you have an emotional reaction to what you see, you are judging. That is your signal that you have an issue inside of yourself – with yourself – not with the other person. If you react to evil, look inside yourself for the very thing that so agitates you, and you will find it. If it were not there, you will simply discern, act appropriately, and move on. Gary Zukav 
  • What you react to in others, you strengthen in yourself. Eckhart Tolle
  • When the defects of others are perceived with so much clarity, it is because one possesses them oneself. Jules Renard
  • We discover in others what others hide from us, and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves. Marquis de Vauvenargues
  • Self-knowledge

Therefore, identify what you dislike in another and ask, “How am I that?” 

  • Everything you see in another is a projection of an aspect of yourself. Michelle Mayur
  • Think for a moment of someone you actively dislike. What quality in that person do you find most objectionable? Now ask yourself, ‘How am I that?’ Jim Loehr
  • What we find most annoying in others is really an indicator of what we find (unconsciously) most annoying in ourselves. The fastest way to identify our shadow? Take a look at what bothers you in other people. 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 need to address in your life! Brian Johnson
  • When you complain about someone, end the sentence with the words “just like me.” For example, “Look at that person acting all mean … just like me.” It stops the feeling of separateness. Reminds us that we have done the same, and now we know how it feels. Do it also if you think positive thoughts about someone. Geraldine Evans

Integrate your shadow by listing the things you dislike in yourself and work on finding the gifts in them 

  • This process seemed miraculous to me. So I made a list of all the parts of myself I didn’t like, and worked on finding the gifts in them. As soon as I was able to see the positive and the negative value of each aspect of myself, I was able to drop my defensiveness and allow these parts to exist freely. It became clear that the process was not about getting rid of things we dislike in ourselves, but about finding the positive side of these aspects and integrating it into our lives. Debbie Ford
  • If you believe you are weak, then you must seek out its opposite, and find your strength. If you are ruled by fear, you must go within and find your courage. If you are a victim you must find the victimizer within you. It is your birthright to be whole: to have it all. It only takes a shift in your perception, an opening of your heart. Debbie Ford

Set aside some time and try this exercise 

  • There will be disharmony in your life if you refuse to accept certain aspects of your personality. Nothing about you is bad.  Every trait or quality you possess serves a useful purpose.  Make a list of all the things about you that you don’t like.  Then think about how each of these things serves you and others in some way.  Next make a list of all the things you do like about yourself.  It is natural to think that your positive qualities serve both you and others, however for every perceived positive there is also a negative apect of your perceived positive.  The process takes a bit of time and requires an open heart and mind.  It is definitely a worthwhile exercise for in the end you will hopefully see that nothing is actually good or bad.  Every aspect of you serves both you and others.  Owning and accepting and loving what is without wanting to change it will lead you to experience a happier and healthier and more harmonious life.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Are there certain aspects of your nature that you are constantly at war with?
  • Are there any aspects of your nature that you find hard to accept?
  • Do you have any traits that you fear might be part of you but you try your hardest to deny?
  • Are there any parts of you that you try your hardest to hide from others?
  • What traits in others most agitate you?
  • Do you think it’s possible that that trait might be a repressed aspect in you too?
  • What are the traits and qualities in you that you don’t like or find hardest to accept?
  • In what ways do each of these traits serve you and others?
  • What are the traits in you that you do like?
  • For each of these traits, can you think of a negative aspect?
  • Do you think you could learn to accept and own and even love your seemingly negative traits without wanting to change them?
  • If you did, do you think this would make you a happier person?
  • Would it make you less judgemental of others?