One of the most important things we can do to create a happy and successful life is learning to identify and face our own shadows that live in the unconscious primitive ego of our inner-child psyche. The failure to face our own shadows is responsible for the creation of almost all of the stress, anxiety, and powerlessness we experience in life.
There is a wise old saying that reminds us that………….
“unless we learn to face our own shadows, we will continue to see them in others, because the world outside of us is only a reflection of the world inside us.”
For example if we tend to be a bit too controlling by harboring strong judgmental beliefs or opinions (the shadow) of how others “should” behave, we will find ourselves feeling powerless and surrounded every day by people who refuse to behave the way we are convinced they should behave. For instance, if we tend to get irritated by people who refuse to use their turn signals when they drive, we will quickly find ourselves surrounded by those folks when ever we drive.
Another common shadow harbored inside our unconscious primitive ego is our narcissistic need to be right (the shadow). When we have this shadow lurking in our inner-child psyche, it can often feel like the whole world is being critical because “everyone” seems to want to disagree with us. If we “push” this shadow too hard, we can often find ourselves moving from one conflict to the next.
One final example is a close cousin of the example above; and that is the narcissistic belief (the shadow) that every situation or experience is about us personally. If someone doesn’t smile, it’s not because they might be having a bad day, we defensively assume it’s because they don’t like us. No matter what happens in the world, we assume it’s about us. More than any other, this shadow shuts down our ability to empathic.
The world outside of us is only a reflection of the world inside of us. When it feels like everyone is being critical, we need to examine our own tendency to be critical. When it feels like everyone is trying to drive us crazy, we need to examine our own tendency to be too controlling. When it feels like the whole world is against “us”, we need to examine our own tendency to take everything personally; and the lack of empathy we might have for others.
Until we deal with the shadows that dwell inside of us, life can be very anxiety provoking and stressful. Fortunately, the world is an effective mirror for us to see the shadows that live in our unconscious mind. In this case of course, we have to embrace the paradox that the reflection coming from the world actually “is” about us….and not about the world.