Your Shadow – Part 1

I have had a few students recently say that the issues they see in the world are “not them” and that they “would never do that.” I want to do a two part blog post on this concept by relating it to the concept of the shadow.


Let me give you a simple definition of what the Shadow is. The Shadow is all that you think is not you. See, once you have fully defined who and what you are, by the very nature of the assumption of creation[1], all that you are not also comes into existence. That existence is defined in the form of the Shadow. It’s the not- me. It is the qualities that we deny in ourselves. The Shadow arrives or becomes an issue when a person is purely persona-focused or ego-driven.


The Shadow is everything that we do not accept as being in the self. “I would not do that. That is not me. I am not that way.” In my book about the conscious mind, Find Your Purpose, Master Your Path, I used an example of the dad who yells at his kids after a frustrating day at work, then blames them for his behavior rather than recognizing his own short fuse. Based on Jung’s Shadow concept, odds are that same person is a big advocate for treating children with respect or maybe is adamantly against violence. “I am totally against unkind behavior. That is not me.”


Perception is Projection


In this case, the man has to make excuses for his not-me behavior when he becomes his Shadow, the “mean” self that he can’t cop to. It becomes a natural act of projection. “It’s not me, so it must be those darn kids who need disciplining!”


The Shadow begins to appear when we have confined ourselves into the box that is the ego or the person we show to the world. Prior to meeting our Shadow, life is very one-dimensional. “I’m a banker.” “I’m a trainer.” “I’m a husband.” “I’m a wife.” That’s a very one-dimensional life.


Do you remember when your role or title was all important? People would ask, “What do you do?” “I run The Empowerment Partnership. I’m the President of the company.” Very one-dimensional. This is what I do. This is who I am.


As we develop and define our own ego, we can also become one-dimensional emotionally. “I’m very responsible.” “I’m open-minded.” “I’m loving.” Really? Always?


You’re More Than That


Deep down inside, we know life is more than that. Deep down inside, we realize that we are more than just that one-dimensional living. And that’s really when the Shadow begins to appear. The Shadow begins to show itself.


I love a quote I saw from Amy Grant: “Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real.”


The ego casts the Shadow. And just as you don’t want to get rid of the ego because the ego has an important purpose, the idea is not to get rid of your Shadow. The Shadow has an important purpose too. Any book that says the Shadow is evil, dirty or nasty and should be eliminated has been written by someone who is projecting it out because it’s something they have repressed. They’re still at the “It’s not me” stage.


Click here to read Part 2.


Dr. Matt


[1] Definition from first book


  1. This is great! Make sense why we need to understand the major laws of the universe. The duality of it all is amazing to me. This concept gives me an opportunity to remember to forgive myself when I’m, uh, in this aspect of me. And it is geeky for me to say but the languag-ing is cool because when you shine a light a shadow is always created. That Jung guy’s pretty cool. Oh you are too, Kumu 🙂 Thank you for this!

  2. Few people actually write about this aspect as we are so conditioned to deny it, fear it or suppress it, I really look forward to part 2 of this post -where it would be awesome to see a one or two advices that can lead us to more congruency and help us live in better peace with duality instead of hiding it. Thanks Matt!

  3. In my work with children who bully, I have sensed that the children who are the target of the bullying represent the shadow side of the bully which the bully hates and views as weak, inferior, wierd and distasteful. I appreciate your insight into this overlooked phenomenon.

  4. Great writing, Matt! Very useful.

  5. George Krichner says:

    Well stated. The Shadow is always there, always in motion, it can save a life or take it. Acceptance is the wiser choice.

  6. Shahin Jedian says:

    Thanks a Million

  7. I enjoyed this post… Very on point. I intend to shine light on the shadow, my shadow, the shift is happening! Thank You Matt.

  8. Thank you Bruno! What you just said is coming out in my next book (after this one) 🙂

  9. Is your book published, Matt? if not – when is it coming out please?

  10. Thanks, Abz! I don’t think I’m Jungian-cool, but I try. 😉

  11. Glad you liked it, Rosa! Congratulations on shining a light onto your shadow 🙂

  12. You’re welcome, Shahin!

  13. So true, George! The shadow stops looking so dark after you accept it. 🙂

  14. Thanks, Gael! Glad to hear it’s useful

  15. Nice! It’s great that you’ve sensed that! I agree – and it works the other way around! If the child continues to be bullied, then that bully may have an aspect of that child’s shadow as well. 🙂

  16. It will be coming out in about a month! We’ll keep you posted. 🙂

  17. My definition of the shadow was so different before I read this. You have changed the whole perspective for me. I was one of those that feared the shadow, especially if it was my shadow. It was evil and horrifying. The bad place that people lived in that wanted to be satanic.
    Now I feel better about it because it is in your vision of shadow. I changed to yours because it makes so much more sense to me. My shadow are the denied parts of me. Parts I choose to deny or not use because it’s not my persona.

  18. I have been reading your books. They are so enlightening, Dr. Matt. I recently started to do some radical acceptance of my shadow side. It is very empowering. Thank you so much for all you do.

  19. Thank you so much!

  20. Hi Brenda, I am so happy this helped. Have you had a chance to read my book “Integrate the Shadow, Master Your Path” yet? I cover the shadow in depth in it.

  21. Nanci Newhall says:

    Ihave read the book and had told you it made me angry. You said good. you likes the feed back. Now working with in that and doing breakthru with my self I see what angered me was the negative I had put on the shaddow. Denying I had one. I now can except my shaddow . Your blog and re-reading your book was a big AHHA. I love this work. Thank you.

  22. Thanks so much Nanci, I am happy it helped.