Shadow Integration 101: Projection and Judgments
Most of the women who join The Whole Soul Way program NEVER want to be called selfish.
Like they abhor those things––and they feel disgusted at the idea that anyone would say that about them.
And they get uncomfortable when we get to the point in The Whole Soul Way program where we talk about the "Cherished Self" and they learn that what we find offensive or repulsive in another is mirroring a part of us that's also in us. 😱
That we may do our best to NEVER be that way, but it's there in our unconscious mind.
I've faced those shadow parts in me, so I know.
I promise you it's only because it's SO crucial to you loving yourself, loving others, and feeling whole and comfortable in your own skin that I encourage women to explore the ways we cut off from parts of ourselves.
And I don't want you to miss out on really GETTING this.
Think of it this way––if you reject aspects of yourself, you're perpetuating the wounds of rejection that you experienced through the socialization process.
And self-rejection hurt us. To truly love ourselves, we have to learn to welcome the parts of ourselves we fear are unlovable.
I was in therapy with my husband and I brought up my judgment about him being materialistic.
Our therapist did what a good therapist would do and she helped me to explore the deeper reason behind my judgement, not teach us how to communicate better about my judgment, or tell him to stop being so materialistic.
She invited me to "meet" the materialistic part in me.
Turns out, it wasn't that scary or awful. Turns out, this part was just one of many parts of me.
I have generous, selfless parts too.
I didn't BECOME materialistic.
And, interestingly, turns out my husband wasn't nearly as materialistic as I had labeled him to be.
That's how projection works. We project things onto others in a much more exaggerated way.
I love projection and welcome judging!
Why, you ask?
Well, projection allows us to see the parts of us we fear are unlovable and unacceptable that have been banished into our unconscious (beneath our awareness) mind.
It's the best way to see what's in our unconscious mind. And the stuff in our unconscious mind is often running our lives.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”―
It's when we place our own negative (or even positive) traits, emotions, flaws, or impulses onto another in order to not have to face it in ourselves.
And we all do it. It's part of the human condition. And when we learn this, it can be liberating.
For one, we can stop judging ourselves for judging and instead harness its power.
And for two, we can release a lot of energy we use trying to suppress parts, instead, we become consciously aware of them, which means we can CHOOSE how we act in the world. When we turn away and keep them in the darkness, they haunt us and come out in the most surprising ways.
Basic gist about projection - "you spot it, you've got it" or when you point one finger at another, three fingers point back at you ;)
This is why, when we judge another, it says more about us than it does about the other person.
As Brene Brown says, “...research tells us that we judge people in areas where we're vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we're doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people's choices. If I feel good about my body, I don't go around making fun of other people's weight or appearance. We're hard on each other because we're using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency.”
Our judgments are pointing us toward an exiled, orphaned, or disowned part of us.
This part of us is ready to be seen and explored by us (hence, why we see it in another - they act as a MIRROR for us - we project our unconscious mind onto them).
In The Whole Soul Way™ Program, I teach about allowing a drop of that "negative" characteristic.
This helps us to find more balance and peace as we slowly integrate that aspect and allow it to be present in our lives.
>>> If you're always selfless, maybe a drop of selfishness will help you set a boundary or stand up for yourself.
>>> If you're always busy, maybe a drop of laziness will allow you to indulge in a lazy and unproductive Sunday and find it nourishes your soul in a way that nothing else could.
For me, integrating materialism and bringing in a drop of being materialistic at times **gasp** has given me the space to appreciate a little material indulgence without guilt.
- Such as flying on JSX airlines where we drop our car off at the valet, grab a coffee, and walk onto the plane. And when we land, our rental car is waiting for us.
- Or my La Canadienne suede rain boots so I can dress cute even when it's raining.
- Or my Patagonia puffer jacket which I adore because it's soft and makes me feel so cozy and warm and held (this link is not an affiliate link, it's just a link to my favorite puffer jacket ever).
When it comes to integrating our shadows, what's really awesome is that as you allow yourself to shine a light on the shadow, you find that there is this really delicious middle space where we don't need to deny anything and we also don't have to become anything.
We free up so much energy that was needed to NOT be something.
And we find this sweet spot called wholeness.
Wholeness is so yummy and is how we feel more alive and connected.
"Embracing our dark side gives us a new found freedom to be with the darkness in others. For when I can love all of me, I will love all of you.”- Debbie Ford
Here's what you can do to get to know that part of yourself and why you don't want to be associated with that aspect.
- How do I avoid being this way?
- How have I created my identity or persona around not being this way?
- Why am I afraid of being perceived this way?
- How does being not this way limit my life?
- How does it limit me to hold up the persona of being the opposite of this?
- Even if I think it's wrong, what do people who are like this get more of?
- What would be possible if I wasn’t afraid of being even just a tiny bit of this? If I could add one "drop" of this into my life, what might become available?
Tell me what you learn in the comments below!
Want to go a little deeper and learn more about Shadow Integration? Here are four way:
- Read my blog post on The 5 Pillars of Gentle Shadow Integration
- Download my free "Shadow Work Starter Kit" with the golden shadow exercise where you'll reveal new things about yourself and a guide and worksheets to explore what the shadow is and why shadow work is integral to your journey to be more authentic and love yourself
- Watch my TikTok video about how the Golden Shadow gets formed
- Watch my TikTok video about "disrespect" and how to work with this shadow
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