The golden nugget in the dark shadow.
Linda: We may find it helpful to befriend our shadow when we discover that these figures aren’t compeltely bad as we might at first have assumed. When we come into relationship with them, we lose some of our prejudice against them and find that they have a delightful and useful side that we can use to our advantage. It is only when we investigate our dark shadow characteristics more closely, that we are surprised to find that every single shadow figure has a gift in their hands. No matter how dark and scary these figures may appear at first, if we approach them with curiosity and a desire for understanding, we can find their gold nugget of redeeming value.
Some examples are: The golden nugget inside arrogance is self confidence, inside bitterness and grudge-holding is a refusal to overlook injustice, inside clinging is loyalty, inside being controlling and manipulative is taking leadership, inside cowardice is caution, inside hostility is assertiveness, inside selfishness is self-nuturance, inside submissiveness is cooperation, etc. It may appear, at first glance, that your shadow figure does not have anything positive about it, but they all do. Keep looking until you find some aspect that does serve you in your life.
Consider the following list of dark shadow figures that you may be identifying in yourself to find some redeeming value in that figure. Do not restrict yourself to this list. If there is a dark shadow figure that you are aware of that you have not yet found some redeeming value, make your best effort to identify that golden quality now.
|Dark Shadow||Golden Nugget
|Aggressive||Boundaries Are Strong|
|Approval Seeker||Openness to appreciation|
|Bitter grudge holder||Refusal to overlook injustice|
|Bliss Ninny||Optimistic, Hopeful|
|Co-Dependent||Concern For Others, Caregiver Is Strong|
|Compulsive orderliness||Organization, efficiency|
|Con Artist||Teaching, encouraging|
|Controller, manipulator||Leadership, efficiency|
|Covert, Sly, Scheming||Strategizing|
|Critical||Addresses The Problem To Fix It|
|Dependency on others||Trust of others|
|Ditsy, Ungrounded||Big Imagination|
|Exaggerating||Fascinating Story Telling|
|Greedy||Goes After What They Want, Lust For Life|
|Hypocrite||Ability to “act as if”|
|Impatience||Eagerness to get to action.|
|Incompetence||Willingness to experiment|
|Indecision||Openness to possibilities|
|Intrusive, Nosy||Willing To Get Involved|
|It’s Not Fair||Prizing Justice|
|Jumping to conclusions||Intuitiveness|
|Lack of order, The Slob||Flexibility|
|Loneliness||Openness to nurturance|
|Loner||Satisfied To Be Alone|
|Lust||Sexual and sensual pleasure|
|Needy||Asks for what she needs|
|Never Satisfied||Seeking Excellence|
|Nitpicking||Precise And Detailed Oriented|
|Perfectionist||Commitment to Excellence|
|Playing By Rules||Reliability|
|Procrastinator||Honoring one’s own timing, patient|
|Promoter, Pitchman||Enrolling, Persuasive|
|Ruthless||Committed To Winning|
|Sense of Obligation||Choice|
|Stuck In The Past||Appreciating The Past|
|Tactless bluntness||Frank Candidness|
|Taking for granted||Accepting|
|Victim||Willing To Express Pain|
We can eventually learn to respect and love even those parts of ourselves that we have found to be loathesome and detestable. We can learn to appreciate ourselves and our partner for things that we previously sought to destroy. Such inner peace and harmony with others is the ultimate value of shadow work. In engaging in it we become more compassionate, loving, and accepting, replacing judgment with tolerance, anger with acceptance, aggravation with patience, and fear with love.
Stay tuned for Part 3 with an example of a couple that started out being possessed by their shadows and were able to step out of the possession to go on to have a fruitful dialogue.