Are You Afraid of Your Own Shadow?

In February, I’ve over-indulged in self-help books. And the lesson learned this month is: trop, c’est comme pas assez, which means that too much is not enough. So I’ll have to give this genre a break.

There is one book I’d like to share with you nonetheless. The first one is The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williamson, which I read on the train for the most part, with a bunch of talkative teenagers all around.

This book seeks to establish the value of the Shadow and how it can help you to answer your most profound questions. Are you all clear about who you are, what you want, and what makes you special and unique? In The Shadow Effect, the authors give us a compelling view into the Shadow and make a convincing case to encourage us to uncover our Shadow selves and embrace who we truly are.

We all have a Shadow, a shadow-self that we would rather forget about, ignore, bury. Our Shadow is the part of ourself that we hide from others, because we somehow learned along the way that it was bad, wrong, or incorrect. As a child for example, you may have been told that it wasn’t nice to be proud about your accomplishments or to be loud. You’ve therefore learned to hide (or repress) that part of yourself, and confined it to your Shadow.

The Shadow is that part of yourself that holds your secrets and your uniqueness. Uncovering and embracing it will set you free and will enable you to enjoy and share your gifts.

Debbie Ford’s chapter is by far the one that resonated with me the most, and I have since used some passages repeatedly to further my reflection about my own Shadow. One of the best hidden gems of this book will completely turn you upside down if you have a real face-to-face with yourself: “The shadow can be seen in the person in our family whom we judge the most, the public official whose behavior we condemn, the celebrity who causes us to shake our head in disgust. If we understand this correctly, we come to the startling and sometimes sobering realization that our shadow is everything that annoys, horrifies, or disgusts us about other people or about ourselves.”

Who is it that you judge, condemn around you? And what is it that you hold against them? Which part of them makes you react? Why? Is it so important that you have to react to it, sometimes out loud? These judgements, whether you keep to yourself or share  (on Facebook perhaps), are mirror reflections of your Shadow. What can you learn from them?

This short book is a good introduction on the Shadow Effect that Debbie Ford has masterfully developed in other works. It will not guide you through the deep reflection that needs to be done to uncover your Shadow, but it will certainly set questions in motion.