“The people I trust the most are those who are always tenderly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, making preemptive strikes on their personal share of the world’s evil, fighting the good fight to keep from spewing their darkness on those around them.” ~Rob Brezny
One this 18th day of my 30 days of exquisite self care, my focus is on tenderly wrestling with my shadow. The quote above is from Rob’s book, “Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.” I love how Rob’s uses the unusual adjective or adverb to challenge assumptions. When he says “tenderly wrestle”, what exactly does he mean? I imagine that it means the kind of wrestling I did with my son when he was a toddler: wrestling in a way that won’t do damage. Wrestling in a way that would help him be stronger yet not feel beaten down. My personal wrestling with my shadow reminds me of parenting myself: my more developed self trying to guide and discipline my less developed self. I have always believed in being a tender, loving but firm mama. I have to give myself the same regard I would my children. I want to care for my self, including my discipline of myself, in ways that build me up and make me feel more whole. Everyone has both good and bad, shadow and light, inside of them. Wrestling with my shadow is a way to for me to take responsibility for choosing which one I am feeding. I like the idea of a preemptive strike. I like the idea of taming my own demons. Carl Jung explained the shadow to be the unconscious part of the personality that the conscious ego doesn’t identify in itself. The shadow is often hidden from awareness. I help identify my shadow by noting the judgments that I have of others and looking for where those quality exists in myself. The more I bring my unconsciousness responses into my conscious awareness, the more I integrate my shadow side with my light side. I can not totally get rid of my shadow. No one can. But I can choose to take care of myself by tenderly wrestling with my shadow, and creating more balance between my apparent paradoxes or polarities which ultimately helps me manifest the true artistry of my whole self.