Heal the Inner Child & Integrate with Your own Shadow
You might have already known, or might have never thought about this before: Every child is born free - We are all born free. What that means is: there are no such things as perceptions, evaluations, judgements or preconceived ideas exist in any child’s mind at its birth.
A baby lion, no matter how fierce their parents can be, is completely pure, gentle and joyful, don’t you agree?!. Likewise, a baby human, no matter how kind or bad, how generous or selfish, horrible or wonderful, rude or polite, warmhearted or cruel, … that its parents can be, the baby itself is born completely pure, gentle, and joyful, is it not?!
Every single baby of any species shares these qualities.
Years’ gone by, almost everyone of us now have in ourselves certain degrees of impurities (greed, lust, neediness, possessiveness, competitiveness, conservativeness, jealousy, fear, loneliness,…) instead of purity; harshness (judge-mentality, bitterness, aversion, grudges, resentment, anger, aggressiveness, even violence,…) instead of gentleness; worries and sorrow instead of joyfulness.
The interesting thing is that we can easily find these negative qualities in other people and very often we get bothered by them; but not many of us see and admit that the same qualities also exist in ourselves.
We would easily recall memories of an encounter with somebody who you think is not really nice to you or to others - who seems to be (even just a little bit) competitive, selfish, mean, greedy, grasping, annoying, possessive, dishonest, cruel, cold, or negative, cynical, etc. But believe it or not?! There must be some people (at least one person) who (at least for a second) have had one of those thoughts about You!.
How come we - including ourselves and those others - developed to have those “negative” qualities if we all were originally born as Pure, Gentle and Joyful Babies?
The simple reason (but can also be a little unpleasantly surprising for some of us) is that: we were trained and taught to become this way!
Who taught us to develop those negative qualities?!
And Why would they do that?
Our parents (or the carers of those who were not raised by their parents since births) laid out the first fundamental foundations of all, and then all the other people who we come into contact with in our childhood, adolescent and early careers added some layers and adjustment into the completion of our belief systems, thoughts and behaviours patterns that we hold tight for the rest of our lives (if we do not consciously work hard to undo that process).
Would be no need to discuss any further if you choose to just function and get on with life as how it has been for you, because after all, what we were taught all supposed to help us survive and be able to fit in with the common values and the normality of the current communities in which we are parts of.
But for those who have been yearning to make sense of your lives, to understand Who you really are, to live a fulfilling, meaningful and purposeful life instead of struggling in stress, conflict, loneliness, unhappiness and all other sorts of mental sufferings; it is very important to understand how we come to forget Who we are originally: The Pure, Gentle and Joyful Souls coming in to Human Life at Births!.
From such innocent, gentle and joyful babies, like pure white sheets of paper, we were taught and commanded by our parents to agree with their perceptions and belief of what is: right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, lovable/hate, like/dislike, beautiful/ugly, acceptable/unacceptable, polite/impolite, real/surreal, possible/impossible, strong/weak, patient/impatient, mine/yours, us/them… Which they held as Truths, and they believe their Truths would be most of helpful for us to function and fit in the societies. But not just that, more than often, they also taught us to fear what they fear, to worry about what they are worried, to hate what they hate, to love what they love, to believe in what they believe, to strive to get what they always wanted (for themselves and then) for you. Even worse, some parents also unconsciously teach (or pass on to) the children their dysfunctional qualities such as: lying, stealing, violence, aggression, anger, jealousy, resentment, nastiness, selfishness, cruelty to other people and animals,…
Ok, if what we were taught all supposed to help us survive and be able to fit in our societies, So
What’s wrong if we just live our lives based on these perceptions about good/bad, right/wrong, etc, that our parents (and others later on) have taught us?
There’s Nothing “wrong” about that. But there are side effects that often become issues in life if you are unaware of and these side effects are the main sources of mental struggling and sufferings. Let us now look into that:
We grow up being told to Not do this and Do that instead according to the sets of values that your Parents defined, right?. Before going further, we need to repeat an important Truth here:
Nothing at births (before being taught) originally existed as bad, wrong, shouldn’t, unacceptable, unlovable, or impossible in the babies’ minds, in other words: all babies were born in the state of complete freedom in terms of what and how they choose to feel, think, do, want, like, etc. That means, All possibilities of choices and actions have equal chances to be chosen and acted out by a person according to his/her free choices without any restrictions, no matter what these choices and actions would be defined as good or bad, right or wrong, etc, later on!
With this complete freedom, of course we couldn’t live in any of the current civilisations on Earth at the moment, where we have to and must follow and agree with their current sets of values, even from simple and small things, such as: you cannot (or shouldn’t) punch in your sister’s face even if she is naughty, you cannot (or shouldn’t) slap your boss even if she is unreasonable and makes you angry; you cannot (or shouldn’t) go straight to your neighbours’ kitchen to take their delicious food whilst you pass by and smell their food when you’re starving, etc, to serious things such as you cannot kill somebody even if he killed your much loved dog, etc. There are millions and billions of things that can be listed down if you really think about what you’ve been taught and made to agree with about what you shouldn’t do through out your life.
But this is where and why the actual issues arose: as We already learnt from our early childhood for so many times that if we did the things which our parents told us Not to do, we’d be treated or punished by our parents in ways that made us feel unloved and unaccepted. For a child, this means: Death, as it cannot survive without being loved and being accepted by its parents. A child’s chance of survival completely depends on its parents’ decision that if they would look after and care for it or not. So if the parents showed the child that it was unlovable and unacceptable, it is as fearful as a Death sentence to the child since it assumed that it wouldn’t be cared for by its parents.
So here comes the First Issue: Because of this fear of being unloved and unaccepted by our own parents in our very early childhood, and later on by our teachers, friends and people around us, we have gradually learnt to hide and bury the thoughts, feeling and deeds which we were taught as “bad, wrong, shouldn’t, unacceptable, unlovable, and impossible” to feel more secure and safe, to make sure we are accepted and loved. The Shadow side of our personalities is formed and that is where we store all the aspects that we believe that are not accepted by others.
This Shadow side which was formed from the childhood becomes darker and more well hidden as we keep suppressing more and more, again and again the “wrong” thoughts, feelings and actions over the years.
Similar to the literal shadow which appears when we expose to sunlight that always follows and attaches to us everywhere we go, the Shadow side of our personalities is, similarly, a part of our whole selves and cannot be detached from our whole personalities.
Here comes the Second Issue:
What we suppress and deny in ourselves, are still there, hidden in our own Shadows, and cannot be Not parts of ourselves, but we always deny and refuse to accept those “unaccepted qualities” in us.
Also, we’ve all learnt from our parents that to not obey is “wrong”, and “wrong” deserves to be punished. By this understanding, we then learnt that: the ways to express the Shadow aspects (or to give us the right to be nasty) are: either we need to have the power over others to make them obey, or we need to successfully point out that Other People are Wrong, so that We can be Right to react in the ways that we wouldn’t normally Should react.
Here are some examples to make this point clear:
We allow ourselves:
to be demanding and mean when we pay for someone to do us a service, in this case we think that we have the power and the right to be nasty over the ones who are serving us.
to be bossy and unreasonable to people working underneath us, as we think we have the power and control to ask them to obey our requests.
to backbite somebody who is more beautiful/handsome or more successful than ourselves as we find (or make up) something in that person (out of jealousy) which we think is not nice, so that We’re Right to judge and make him/her look bad.
to be impolite (beeping the horn or swearing and shouting) towards a stranger on the street who cuts in our ways, as we think He/She is Wrong so We're Right to be angry and aggressive.
to beat up or swear at someone who steals as we believe that He/She is Wrong so We’re Right to be violent in our actions and words.
to be sulky and furious when our partners/boyfriends ignored our calls or forget the anniversaries, as we believe that He/She is Wrong so We’re Right to be that way.
to be scolding (and even violent) towards our children when they did things that we told them to Not to do, because we believe that They are Wrong to not listen and obey, so We’re Right to punish them
to quarrel with our parents or spouses when they try to push forward their opinions, when We Think Their opinions are Wrong, so We’re Right to be annoyed, and even angry, shouty and rebelling to fight back.
When making somebody wrong, we give ourselves the rights to act out of our own Shadow sides which we always normally try to deny in ourselves.
But the real problem is that, we don’t just react spontaneously out of our Shadows when something “wrong” (according to our set of beliefs and values) suddenly happens; We in fact often deliberately look for and infer further that something or someone is and must be “wrong” so that we can be annoyed, angry, aggressive, violent, mean, nasty, shouty, etc, without being “wrong” ourselves! Many of us so enjoy doing this, but mostly unconscious and unaware of the real underlying motivations and conditionings.
This behaviour is rooted from: the Shadow wanting to express itself and it is very much fuelled and amplified by the Ego’s needs for approval that it is Right. If we’re not aware of and become more conscious of the real emotions, motivations and actions that come out of our own Shadows and Egos, more and more complex problems in relationships are inevitable.
That’s not all. The Third issue is that, when we were children, usually we listened to and obeyed what we were told by our parents, teachers, later on the authorities and so on; but so many times we feel conflicted and coerced inside. Many of us growing up holding unspeakable (even unaware) resentment, anger and intolerance firstly towards our own parents, and then later on towards our societies. We often unconsciously rebelled (in actions or non-actions as thoughts and feelings) against what we were taught and commanded to do or to be by our parents and others.
Why is that?
Because deep down, we either didn’t completely agree with or couldn’t make sense of why we had to follow and obey the things we were told to do; or even more seriously, we sensed that there were things fundamentally conflict with our conscience, or unnecessary and irrelevant to our true nature and our real purposes in this lifetime.
Now, please stop for a second, and think about this:
As much as what you were taught to be this way, as much as how uncomfortable, resentful, and angry that you have been feeling towards your parents, They - your Parents - were also taught to be Their Ways by Their Own Parents since they were children, and they grew up having the same kind of unspeakable resentful feelings towards their own parents. And not just that! The same process had happened to your parents’ parents, and so on… Generations after generations. And you won’t want to believe this, but indeed this is now happening to your own children. This process seems to never end, if we don’t wake up and undo it.
Would you now be able understand your parents more, and be more empathetic with their powerless/ helplessness under the pressure of their own parents and societies that they have been carrying along through out their lives?!
You - their children - quite often is the only thing in life that they have the power upon, and very possibly that you are now feeling the same way about your own children. Would you now forgive your parents for what you think they have done and imposed on to your life?! Would you now also forgive yourselves for rebelling or being resentful towards your own parents?!
Would you now understand what your children have been and will be going through in relations with you - their parents?! Would you become more open and loving to let them go, to be what they want to be, to do what they want to do whilst lovingly teach them what you think is helpful for them but without imposing any outcome?!
Would you now choose to be tolerant and compassionate for all other people who have been going through the same process (as yours) amidst confusion of not knowing who they really are and why they act in certain ways (very often hurtful ways) in relations with you and others?!
Would you now understand that we all wish to be loved and accepted in life, but our beliefs for how to get there are different from one another, depends on what we were taught since our childhood and depends on our different stages of awareness and understanding about ourselves, especially our own fears and motivations behind all choices and actions under the influences of our own Shadows and Egos.
When we are not aware of the Truths underlying our sufferings, we live a life of unhappiness, struggles and grudges, reflected in our unresolved issues in relationships with parents, siblings, spouses, children, and also colleagues, friends, authorities and societies… And guess what?! We then unavoidably pass all these issues and lifestyle on to our own offsprings.
We spent so much energy and effort through out our lives trying to hide and bury the “bad, wrong, shouldn’t, unacceptable, unlovable, and impossible” thoughts, feelings and deeds, and making other people Wrong to make ourselves Right to express our Shadow aspects. Then at some point in life, deep down we start feeling guilty about hurtful actions that we did towards others, especially the ones we love.
But many of us are unaware of this underlying Guilt. We do not realise that: Everyone of us are unnecessarily suffering and hurting each other whilst we all just want the same thing: to be loved and accepted. Instead of loving and accepting each other, we unconsciously punish ourselves for hurting others and at the same time we blame others for our sufferings or punishment that we created and intended for ourselves. Isn’t that tragic?!
This is what it’s called bad Karma (which is often misunderstood). Bad Karma is, in truth, the unescapable, repetitive, and undesirable Outcomes - that we call sufferings (mainly mental sufferings) - resulted from our conditionings (which are : untrue beliefs, also repetitive patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are far removed from truths) - or in other words: our ignorance of Truths.
We have been struggling and suffering in our lives mainly to wish for being loved and accepted, and to resolve the conflicts between ourselves and our own parents, siblings, and relationships with spouses, colleagues, also other people in the communities, so that we can live a joyful Life in Love and Harmony. This is in fact the main part of the Purpose of all Lives!
What we have been struggling with is just fighting our own Shadows, whilst yearning to find and gain back our true original nature which is: Love, Joy, and Gentleness, that we are all born out of, but have been forgetting.