ID-100110349A few weeks ago I asked a good friend to listen to me as I drained some of the yucky thoughts I was having about two people in my life. The feelings I had toward them were anything but the loving ones that I wanted to have, but I couldn’t seem to get there.

My shadow self kept stepping in front of my true self–which is Love–the true self of each one of us.

As I talked, I came to realize that unless I could made friends with that side of me that I was ashamed of and embarrassed by, I could never really heal.

And so I have spent many days praying and thinking and feeling and discovering why I felt as I did. The simple truth is that these two people have not behaved as I expected, wanted, or believed I deserved. Wow! Such an expectation I was putting on others. If they didn’t conform then I couldn’t love them. I couldn’t spend time with them. I couldn’t remember them in my prayers and conversations and so on.

I came to realize, slowly at first, that perhaps they had similar thoughts and feelings about me. What if I didn’t match their expectations and hopes? What if I had disappointed them? What if I did not offer them what they wished I would?

And then came the zinger–the reminder that God loves each of them as much as he loves me. They are precious in his sight. They are his beloveds. He has opened the door to a relationship with him–regardless of what they have or have not done about anything or anyone.

So I return to a place I have visited before but never stayed very long–the high and narrow road that God calls us to. If I never set eyes on these two again, I can at least hold them in love within my spirit.

Only by acknowledging and embracing my shadow self as well as my true self, can I be a full human being willing to lean into God for his grace and mercy for myself and for others.

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:8)



Making Friends With My Shadow Self — 18 Comments

  1. Karen this is a wonderful post, and how much I have thought about my own shadow self. I just wrote a blog called Hypocrite, which will be published soon. I get this wrestling. I have always known you to be such a loving, honest saint of God. Thank you for sharing with your trademark transparency!

  2. Wow! I never thought about calling it “my shadow” when I have trouble forgiving, forgetting and accepting those who have disappointed me and seem to be difficult in communication! I guess I have a few shadows myself and I will work on them ! Thanks! We will lift each other up in our prayers. Yes, God loves each one of His creations! Love to you.

    • You’re right. It does take courage to be vulnerable, but the rewards for being so are rich, aren’t they?

    • Patti, thanks for commenting. I’m happy to know my words and insights have been a benefit to you.

  3. Dear Karen,
    Ditto to all the above. I, too, have been in that situation but what a relief to finally figure it out! I’m happy for you. We don’t always know when or whether our actions or comments help or heal.

    • Thank you, Marie. I appreciate hearing from you and that you have had a similar experience. I find that very encouraging.

  4. I like your statement that we become “…a full human being willing to lean into God for his grace and mercy for myself and for others.” It’s as we recognize our weakness that we rely on God for His strength and love. Thank you Karen, for sharing your processing.

  5. Another beautiful example of the human condition and the never failing remedy . There is a shadow person in all of us. Thanks Karen for that verse. We should all have it taped to our mirror .

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