Can your shadow self be positive?
Yes, absolutely. Your shadow holds positive, untapped qualities that you disowned long ago. By tapping into your "inner gold," you'll become more authentic, and you'll find life to be more satisfying. People who never uncover the gold hidden within their shadow are people who don't know who they are. These same people are those who feel their life isn't going their way.
Before we get into how your shadow can be positive, let's quickly go over some important concepts.
What are shadow, shadow work, and projection?
The shadow is the side of yourself that's disconnected and unfelt. It's the part of yourself that's been rejected since childhood, and you have no awareness of.
Shadow Work is integrating the entire spectrum of your being. It's the intentional process of admitting the parts of yourself you've ignored and repressed.
Projection is an unconscious defense mechanism your ego uses when you see someone with a quality that you've rejected in your personality.
Why People Project
Projection is easier than assimilation, even though it leaves us less than whole.
There are two main reasons why people use projection:
- They've disowned a part of their personality, and they're not yet ready to accept it back
- People are scared of their own Goodness and darkness
The ego uses projection to keep us internally disconnected from qualities we find unpleasant.
However, not identifying with these parts of yourself doesn't mean they're gone.
Instead, they show up as qualities we loathe or admire in other people.
We are going to focus on the POSITIVE shadow projections and qualities going forward. If you want to learn more about projection, check out my post, Projection Psychology.
How Projection Works
Repressing your qualities is not the same as eliminating them. You can't eliminate who you are. Instead, you are shifting these qualities outside your awareness.
This is why you might not feel any connection to the quality in question.
Since the shadow harbors these rejected qualities, and it wants to be validated, projection is used to express the repressed.
In other words, these rejected qualities become easily observable in others but nearly invisible to ourselves.
Our projections color our view of others.
This is an incredible insight because it means that much of what we perceive about other people and the world reflects our psyche.
Can your shadow self be positive?
Yes, it's most obvious through your positive projections.
Positive Projection is Validation, which includes admiration and recognition.
For example, when you admire and look up to someone, you are actually projecting your unclaimed, positive qualities onto them.
You haven't claimed these positive qualities for yourself because, on a deep level, you don't feel you deserve them yet.
But since these qualities are a part of you—only repressed—you've projected onto someone who may share that quality.
Like mentioned earlier, our shadow projects our repressed qualities through other people because we are not yet ready to accept them as part of ourselves.
So when you aren't ready for your own validation, you give it to others in the form of admiration.
(You can only admire others when your unconscious senses that it's worthy as well.)
In this sense, you aren't creating your admirable qualities—you are discovering them.
There are two scenarios in particular where we use positive projection:
Hero-Worship & Idolizing
When you look up to somebody as an idol, you project your best qualities onto that person.
Not only does it show more about who you are, but it also reveals a path to take for your self-development.
However, when you idolize someone with your projection, you are putting them on a pedestal.
In a sense, you are deluding yourself with an illusion of perfection.
When you do this, you cannot have a real relationship with the person you idolize. Otherwise, you'd be disillusioned by the reality of who they truly are.
Hence the quote, "Don't meet your heroes."
Instead, it's best to admire from a distance, despite your desire to monopolize the person.
The illusion is all you need from them until you are ready to integrate those positive qualities into yourself.
Besides, people who take on the projections of masses of people are already under lots of pressure.
— BEWARE —
Most people are immature or are stuck in unconscious cycles. This leaves them lacking in self-love and acceptance for others.
When others lack validation, they can act as emotional vampires and take away from your self-validation.
But this is unfortunate because the truth is—Everyone has enough validation for themselves and more, but most people aren't ready to accept it.
Falling In Love
Falling in love, as in the stage of infatuation, is projecting the best parts of yourself.
It's possible to imagine adoring qualities that the other person possesses, which makes us obsessive and want to spend lots of time with them.
Although women can sometimes be shocked by how much a man can idealize her, this projection is also a man's greatest motivation to make something of his life—a muse to his motion.
Of course, the 'falling in love' phase only lasts so long before a couple is disillusioned. After which, the couple learns to truly love or let the relationship crumble.
Check out my article Shadow Work in Relationships for a much better understanding of your projections, inner child wounds, and even shadow work prompts.
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work Course is based on my in-depth research and personal experiences with shadow work, projection, sadomasochism, inner child healing, triggers, and all things shadow. This course is updated every year and gets new content at no additional cost. Learn more here.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This short course goes over consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, and makes sense of why people are the way they are. Recommended for people dealing with resentment and self-hate. Learn more here.
Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Shadow Work Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Manifestation Manual: The Path of Least Resistance bundle teaches you some holistic and systems thinking along with how to mend your inner child wounds so you can align with your higher self and move forward in life. This includes 20 video clips as a free bonus.
Shadow Play (or “DsR”) is a small sister website that goes over “sensual” shadow work through my BDSM experiences. If you are 18+ and are interested, go here.
Can your shadow self be positive?