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Integrate the Shadow
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

The views of Carl Jung have always given me strength and insight. I have been lucky to get introduced to the master right in my graduation. At every stage in life and for every phase, Jung has convincing solutions. Here I want to take just a slice out his big cake and elaborate it as per my inclination.

Every human has a shadow, a darker side. By darker side, we mean those emotions which society does not accept easily. Our desires, urges, dreams, hungers, cravings, fantasies and fears are often buried. We do not live them, nor do we express them because of social fear and reprimand.

Carl Jung has said that the aim of human life ought to be to integrate the shadow into our personality. When we realize our darker side, we realize our full potential. A given society or family, or community is never perfect and yet we kill ourselves in parts in order to conform to the practices of that society, family or community. When we repress dark side, the positive side is also killed in equal parts because both are related. Our stronger urges, competitiveness pose threat to others and so they condemn them. In order to be accepted by society, we diminish our vitality and psychological well-being.

The question is, how to integrate the shadow? This life-giving integration of shadow makes us self-reliant. We may receive rebuttal from society but without integration of two parts of self, individuation is incomplete. So, how to do it?

Introspection, self-observation, honest self-analysis and reflection are the tools. We have to talk to ourselves candidly.

Accepting oneself, telling oneself loud and clear, "Oaky, I'm not perfect. I have urges. I want, may be, more fun, more power... I lie sometimes. I'm not as honest as I look. I'm tempted by luxuries..." so on and so forth. It is different with everyone. We hate people. We love people. We are jealous. We have passions. We have fears. We have insecurities. Recognition and acceptance by self is crucial. Once we do that, we realize that the social code of society is full of hypocrisy. It changes from one society to other and from one time period to another. Within one society and time, differ communal groups have different ethics.

Morality is never the same for the two genders. Social morality is not perfect. It is not necessary to behave according to dominant social behavior. Tiptoe - ing society will leave you psychologically paralyzed at times. You speak loudly, you look bad, you are not successful enough or beautiful enough or you do not dress properly... There is no end, especially in a society like India. It is essential to break the code at times. One doing so is not evil. One is only one thing with one's latent self. Assimilating some evil, a peg of wine, a puff, some flirting, bold dressing or laughing loud - all this is pretty normal. The societies which accommodate individual will are more productive and prosperous. The individual must have the freedom to satisfy individual needs which at times may run contradictory to collective values. Values given by society, family, school or peers are not final. Morality of society itself can be sick and in need of medication. We must strive not to have a fixed self-image. The shadow must be accommodated.

If the shadow grows and is not integrated into mainstream personality, it starts eroding g the self. It is a threat to fragile self-image. Everything and anything can hurt. Repressed shadow is bad for mental health. Acknowledge it. All of us are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If we do not face our darker side, sometimes it may result in sleeplessness, addiction, depression, and lack of vitality and joy. We deny it and it takes enormous proportions. Better accept it. For example, aggression is a social taboo. But healthy aggressiveness gives us ownership, self-respect, bravery, ability to face life and also our exploring spirit. Accepting our shadow is about growing and mastering life. Throughout our development, aggression is obstructed. It is met with punishment. To minimize conflict, we throw it at the back of our mind. No wonder so many people nurture rage, an unexploded bomb.

We should watch ourselves clearly. We should be able to see ourselves like we see another human being. "Okay, here is a lady, trying to make sense of things. She wants more out of life. And yes, why not." We should watch our impulses as well and analyze them. Our fantasies are important. Our resentment, bitterness, fears, desires, vengefulness etc speak through our dreams. They are our raw needs. It is time we reconnected to our assertive self and took decisions. Our aggression must move out through sports, exercise, regimen, running, or martial art. It gives us both physical and mental strength. By tapping our hidden energies, we become strong and act with force. We are more grounded, more secure, more independent, courageous and self-reliant. For psychological rootedness, wholeness and stability, we must accept that we are not perfect. Our mind wants to be wild at times. We should canalize that energy. The best part of the process is that we become less judgmental. Except for basic sins and crimes, we realize that it is human to be imperfect. Let people be the way they are. Their methods of fun, frolic, enjoyment and exploration are their own. Each one is differently creative. Let there be freedom.

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Comments on this Blog

Comment It’s olws a joy to go through your articles as they interface writing to our life in a few or the alternate manner. They are more pragmatic than hypothetical.

Dr Sartaj Manzoor
07/03/2021 23:58 PM

Comment Very well fully articulated and reasonably presented. Shadow and Society cannot coexist. And here lies the trauma that an individual has to face.
Jung's theory is very relevant when we are all masked. The real self is suppressed and the superficial surfaces all the time.
Just for an instance the bapu's and rahim's are jailed. Might be if they had opted for simple life they wouldn't have suffered.
Once again well written Shubha ji!

Anupam Shukla
05/27/2021 05:38 AM

Comment Traffic analysis. Very interesting and positive insight towards life. Amazing article Thanks mam for sharing.

Anurag Tiwari
05/27/2021 00:11 AM

Comment I enjoyed the way you narrate. Superb narrative mam and of course acceptance is the key to grow

Dr. Jagjeet Kour Makhija
05/24/2021 01:15 AM

Comment I too appreciate Carl Jung and have quoted him in several contexts in my book, Space-Time Continuum. This particular aspect on which Prof. Subha has dwelt upon, has taken me back to my childhood days. Somehow, my ambition and studious nature were not given much importance by the elderly people in a huge joint family of ours. I was treated as a bit dull, I too started thinking of myself as just a bookworm. I used to live with the idea that I was not brilliant like the toppers, had no other alternative but to work like a bull. It has paid me in the long run. Hard work has become my second nature, I not only enjoy any work on hand, but do it perfectly well. I didn't know Jung's theories when I was growing up, but now, at eighty, I know the value of accepting certain realities that shadow one and working accordingly. I like the way the theory is analysed.
K. Pramila Sastry

Dr. K. Pramila Sastry
05/24/2021 00:47 AM

Comment "I highly appreciate the analysis of conflict of human mind by Carl Jung. Your reference to the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is interesting. The story implies there is danger of baser instincts/ amoral desires going out of control in allowing their expression. I tend to agree instinctively. One should learn and strive to overcome काम, क्रोध, लोभ, मोह, मद and मात्सर्य.

Rejecting existing morality and defining one's own (its inevitable) is surly a sign of a liberated mind. In fact, it's the key to emancipation according to my knowledge and understanding."

Rohit Misra
05/23/2021 23:51 PM

Comment Carl Jung's theory and analysis of human mind is great. I tend to agree with his views on every individual's baser desires/ instincts. Juxtaposing the message from Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is interesting. The story implies a great danger in nurturing and feeding the uncontrolled wishes, and I instinctively agree. Rejecting existing morality and defining one's own (its unavoidable) is definitely a sign of a liberated mind. I think this is the key.

Rohit Misra
05/23/2021 22:34 PM

Comment Dear Mam,
Your Writing always gives us Positive insight towards life and situation which helps us to explore the Hidden angles of Situation.
Thanks for noble messages Mam.

arun ojha
05/23/2021 22:16 PM

Comment This is a well balanced and interesting article that brings out one of the most important aspects of human life—individual liberty and societal controls.Most often we come across people who couldn’t develop as per their potential only because of the lack of balancing their aggression and regressive impulses.

Madam has lucidly explained such a complicated psychological trait.


Dr. Balkrishna Anjana
05/23/2021 10:25 AM

Comment Undoubtedly this exploring article gives eye to see and understand the life in its complete meaningful sense. Especially at the time of pandemic and misery it has the positive power of consolation to our suffering soul.

Dr Anil kumar singh
05/23/2021 09:55 AM

Comment Amazing article mam. Acceptance is the key. We should be less judgemental. Thank you sharing this article.

Pratima Payasi
05/23/2021 08:52 AM

Comment Very interesting and prudent analysis of the psychological theories and the human nature and life in the actual world

A K Paliwal Bhopal
05/23/2021 08:27 AM

Comment A well organized exploration of Dark side that is almost overlooked by many of us. The article has very critical and practical facts. Shadow part must be observed and then fear free environment should be created to Individual existence. Overall this article will open a new scpoe of self analysis and channel of self reliance.

Dr. Shashi Kant Tripathi
05/23/2021 08:15 AM

Comment Its always a pleasure to go through your articles as they connect literature to our life in some or the other way. They are more practical than theoretical.

Dinika Kulchandani
05/23/2021 08:13 AM

Comment Interesting and beautifully explained!

05/23/2021 08:12 AM

Comment Respected Ma'am,
Its always a pleasure to go through your articles, as they always connect literature to our life in some or the other way. Its more of practical aspect than theoretical.

Dinika Kulchandani
05/23/2021 07:50 AM

Comment Excellent narrative of life and personality, kudos ma'am

Dr. tarun Singh gangwar
05/23/2021 07:31 AM

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