“What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved — what then?”
― C.G. Jung
A strange thing about actively seeking one’s own shadow self is how difficult it becomes to criticize others. I see in myself the cynical jaded parts, the sarcastic parts, the parts that may wish another ill or wish to take advantage of others. I seldom, if ever, act on these impulses but still I know they’re there. I also have a painful awareness of the criticism I have cast upon others for this very trait. At times I catch myself becoming critical of someone else’s unkindness. I have the temptation to be derisive until I sense the echo of myself and realize that the unkindness is something that has come up for me too. Oops.
As I said I catch myself. I cannot deny the negative parts of myself because all too often denial is the nourishment that the shadow thrives on. Still if I come down too hard on myself it is no good either. How can I learn compassion for others if I have not yet learned compassion for myself? So I step back and observe the process. I practice kindness, if not gentleness on myself..acknowledging even the rough parts that will one day shine.
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