Jungian Archetypes Articles

Who Are You? Shining Light On Your Shadow Side

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

How well do you know yourself?

Not just the bits that are easy to see in the light… but the parts that lurk in the shadows, too. The more hidden, darker undersides. The parts that might be harder to catch a glimpse of. That you’re less comfortable with – or even unconscious of.

Or maybe you don’t believe you have any of those…

Carl Jung believed that you do.

A luminary of the psychological realm, and founder of analytical psychology, Jung pioneered a whole new outlook on the way we tick. He peered into our darker spaces and our dim, forgotten corners. And there he saw the shadow play that he felt we all engage in.

Jung thought each of us (even you) harbour both constructive and destructive forces – the good and the bad – the yin and the yang.

And our shadow self is simply part of that rich mix. It’s just that it happens to be the darker side. The less socially acceptable one. The dangerous. “…The side of ourselves that we would prefer not to recognise.” [1]

So it’s the bits you’d rather disown. Or deny. The stuff that might unconsciously drive you in directions that your more public self could feel embarrassed about, shocked over, or even ashamed of. The secret self…

Do you feel like you might have one of those?


The Crush of Infatuation and Other Affairs of the Heart

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

These two hearts were drawn together on the pavement near where I work; one with cobwebs, one without. They’re just a couple of children’s chalk drawings – yet, they’re also food for thought. And they remind me of another way of understanding the experience of infatuation.

When infatuation or unrequited attraction or a ‘crush’ is awakened within us, how much of that is actually really about the other person occupying our thoughts, and how much is perhaps saying something about the condition of our heart? Our life? The forgotten, un-used, cobwebbed parts of our passion?

There’s an old saying that these things are called ‘crushes’ because they hurt. And, aside from those moments of euphoria, they often do.

So is there also a way of taking some of the crush back out of infatuation? Of healing some of that hurt? And with it, perhaps, healing some of the stuff that might have invited the crush into your life in the first place?


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