Xiao Rong wrote:I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time; I hope you have found it helpful. I’d love to hear about ways in which you have worked with the Shadow, or any questions you might have!
This is a great OP. Thanks for posting it, Xiao Rong.
I have been involved with several programs over the past five years strictly dedicated to exploring my Shadow. From my experiences, and what I've learned from fellow seekers who were also undergoing the same exploration, this is--for the vast majority of us--an excellent way to come to terms with the parts of our consciousness we separate ourselves from.
Some of the methods we used were the same as in the OP. Other methods included guided meditations, spontaneous thought experiments, and role playing. We also underwent professional psychological screening, looking for individuals who may have signs of mental disorders, like bipolar disorder, autism, or ADHD, all of which contribute to how we view ourselves. The exploration of the Shadow using a structured system and employing the use of feedback from other people has the potential to be very emotionally trying for individuals who may have a mental disorder. But they certainly need not be excluded, only carefully guided.
In becoming aware of the traits about myself I dislike, I was forced to look at the idea of my being an "imperfect being." Something about that phrase never sat well with me. I did not like viewing myself as imperfect, or flawed... as if it implied I was broken, damaged, or somehow less of the person I should have been.
Being convinced there is something wrong with yourself at the outset is half the problem your Shadow is created to begin with, and why it might cause you problems. (Is anyone else hearing the phrase, "Born into sin..." in the back of their minds?) Fact is, there's nothing wrong with you as you are. There may be things about yourself that you want to change, and that's good. But that doesn't mean there was something inherently wrong about it beforehand--you were simply convinced it was wrong, or needed changing. Maybe someone else convinced you of this, or maybe you convinced yourself.
A misconception that I had initially, and others shared as well I found, was that we were striving to become closer to perfection. But this is really a false idea, because there's no such thing as perfection (just like there was nothing wrong with you before someone else made you think there was something wrong with you). In reality, we were striving to become what we thought we wanted to be, and this also had its consequences. Was what we wanted to become what we genuinely wanted, or was it what we'd been externally convinced of? Were we falsely projecting the idea of happiness onto a misunderstood façade which had all the beauty of a cheap veneer covering?
Learning more about the Shadow helped me to answer that.
In my opinion, it is worthy to note that some things found in the Shadow are better off only acknowledged, and not embraced.