Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jayson Gaddis - The Shadow and My Major Blind Spot

Jayson was our fearless host this last weekend for the Evolving Men's Conference - he had posted this piece on his blog before the conference and I had been wanting to share it, but spaced it out. So better late than never.

The Shadow and My Major Blind Spot

Mon, Sep 20, 2010

The Shadow

For years, folks have been giving me a certain kind of reflection. It went something like this:

“Jayson, I appreciate what you are telling me, but “how” you are telling me is kind of harsh.” In other words, I would often laser in with my very accurate bullshit detector, but “how” I called bullshit left people feeling stung and even hurt.

Sometimes, even today, I give people feedback as a way to push them away in order to get some personal space. I also have cut people out of my life because the story was “I can’t stand your neediness.” (more to the story below…)

In fact, I used to unconsciously get in a fight with my wife to get some space from her because I was too afraid to ask for space directly (a classic enmeshed relationship pattern). Do you have some version of this?

The feedback others gave me was the kind of mirroring which was attempting to point me to my blind spots. At first I was defensive. Later I was open to hear it. Now, I begrudgingly give thanks when someone points out a blind spot, otherwise know as my shadow.

The Shadow

Ah yes, the shadow. We all have one. As Carl Jung said,

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well0meant intentions.”

The shadow is essentially what we are unconscious to within ourselves. The shadow can run our lives if we are not careful. Contrary to popular belief, the shadow is not some dark, bad part of us that we must “get rid of.” The shadow is as valid as any other part of us and it needs our curiousity, love, attention, kindness and acceptance.

Once we finally see our shadow, we can begin to heal it, reclaim it, and become whole again.

As a “healer” it is pretty easy to fall victim to hiding my shadow from my clients and mentees. Most western therapies train the therapist to reveal very little about themselves so the patient or client can project onto them. Then, the therapist works the projection and the person can begin to heal. While this is valid and largely a good technique for certain folks, it is far from what I am doing these days.

I continue to reveal more of who I am not only because this is one aspect of the new masculine paradigm, but because people keep telling me my truth-telling serves them. It gives other men “permission” and inspiration to do the same.

Even still, this one is hard to admit. I don’t like admitting what I admit in this video, but it is crucial to my path. It is paramount that I continue to tell the full truth about myself so as to be fearless and free.

Not surprisingly, after uncovering this shadow last Sunday night and being raw all week, my shadow surfaced three specific times. Three times I lashed out toward others. Ouch.

Watch the video as I take responsibility for my main shadow.

Go watch the video.

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