Are you afraid of your own shadow?
I’m not talking about the silhouette of yours on the ground; I’m talking about the psychological shadow.
In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the collection of aspects of yourself that you deem unwanted or undesirable and hide deep in the caverns of your subconscious mind.
What we classify as unwanted or undesirable is largely determined by our cultural conditioning. The classic example is the business man whose true passion is art, yet he suppresses this gift because of what his parents and society labeled as favorable or unfavorable.
This happens with all aspects of self we refuse to accept (which can happen consciously or subconsciously).
While the shadow self is often thought of as the “bad” qualities that we refuse to acknowledge within ourselves, the most suppressed qualities are often the best ones. This is what I call the golden shadow.
The Golden Shadow
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
– Marianne Williamson
Hero worship is an extension of the golden shadow. We suppress our inner greatness and subconsciously project our collective golden shadow onto heroes.
Heroes of all kinds – superheroes, celebrities, athletes, gurus – are thought of as amazing and perfect, while we view ourselves as a lesser “poor little me.”
We put all of our hopes and dreams not in ourselves, but in our favorite athlete, or the president, or a superhero we saw in a movie. All of the beauty we’ve refused to accept within ourselves is projected onto models and the “beautiful faces” we see on TV. This is all externally projecting our suppressed greatness because somewhere along the line we’ve deemed ourselves unworthy of embodying.
Here’s the truth. We all have greatness within. Yours may not look like Michael Jordan’s (who supposedly isn’t the nicest human being by the way – a testament to the grand deception of celebrity worship). Your greatness may not look like mine either. But I can guarantee that you have some kind of unique greatness. It’s been there all along, you’ve just refused to acknowledge it.
The Darker the Shadow, The Stronger the Super Powers
Mythological figures like superheroes and omnipotent gods are the projection of a society that feels weak and helpless. This collective projection comes from a huge “elephant in the room” shadow that we refuse to acknowledge. Our hero myths are created to fill the yearning for the brilliant potential that we’re systematically denying ourselves.
Can we fly and lift giant boulders? Who really knows? But super powers are more metaphorical. We’ve denied our inner gems so vehemently that we subconsciously create external, all-powerful saviors to fill that void and balance the scales.
We’re so afraid to step into our own power that we project it outward instead of owning it.
We cowardly choose work unfulfilling jobs, sit on the couch and watch TV instead of coming to grips with the immense power that lies within. You don’t have to be rich and famous to do this. It all simply comes down to your focus. What are you focusing on? What are you giving energy to?