Shadow Emotions

Like a shadow, I am and I am not.


I thought I’d backtrack a bit since I used the term “negative emotions” in my last post. What I’m coming to understand is that emotions are not necessarily positive or negative; or black and white. Like so many other things in life, they are more neutral and gray.

Shadow emotions are the darker emotions that we experience, and when we ignore, avoid, or suppress these emotions we are disowning a part of ourselves—and filling a space inside of us with these ‘creatures’ that we have cast aside. Apparently they remain there, waiting to come out.

Embracing our shadow emotions, on the other hand, is a way that we can process our experiences without denial, leading to better self-awareness, healing, and change. I think of it the same way that I think of everything these days, since I came to believe… and that is that you have to bring difficult things out, into the light, where they can be seen and dealt with.

So, maybe this is my “cheater” way of lumping them together… the emotions that I experience now and then that I consider negative… like sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, and jealousy.

I think jealousy is what my image depicts the most. I feel jealousy when I peruse Facebook. I enjoy my solitude (a great deal) and use it to help myself stay healthy, learn, and grow… but when I take a timeout and check social media to see what my friends or even acquaintances are up to… the first thing that I feel is a pang of jealousy. What they are up to always looks like so much more fun that what I’m up to myself!

But, when I embrace these emotions, and think about it rationally, I realize that my jealousy has to do with social comparison, which is not healthy. Comparing ourselves and our lives to others is never a good thing. And photographs never tell the whole story. I also believe that my feelings (or pangs as I prefer to call them) are trying to tell me something—that perhaps it’s time to get out a bit more and socialize. I’ll work on that.

In the meantime, all is well. I am here, with my shadow, and we are content.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

Carl Jung


  1. Happy New Year, Janet. I struggle with the same shadow emotions and feel the same way when I scroll through social media. I do need to make more effort to socialize as well. Our little nests can feel so safe though, can’t they?

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  2. Jung’s theory of the Shadow, and other archetypes of the unconscious are rich sources of artistic fuel, aren’t they? He has inspired me greatly. Also His theory os psychological types, which became MBTI personality. Has colored my perception of people irrevocably as well. Can’t ‘unsee’ it

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  3. Just for kicks I’ll share another related quote from Frank Herbert’s, Dune, since the movie just came out and its relevant. No doubt a footnote to Jung, “To attempt seeing Truth without knowing Falsehood. It is the attempt to see the Light without knowing the Darkness. It cannot be.”

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    1. Oh I like that! I am so not a movie person but I may need to check out this Dune. I used to be a big non-fan of fantasy fiction but I’m slowly changing that, mainly in my reading. I suppose movies are next. It really does help me think more creatively, and escape reality for a spell.

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  4. Oh I’m lovin’ this already, Janet–the blog title is Fabulous!!! “A sprinkle of faith” is all we really need sometimes–our Father God will make up the difference, care for us well. Not only does He provide for and protect us, but the Bible says He’s a “rewarder of our faith”. And I love this post about emotions–you’ve spoken the truth beautifully–we’re not to judge our emotions as black/white, negative/positive. I’m so glad to be here–keeping you in prayer, Sister! Much love, Z ❤

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