My, What a Big Shadow You Have
As a therapist, I mainly work with those who want to improve themselves and their quality of life. This is, imho, incredibly meaningful and rewarding work. Grateful, I am.
Although I am deeply connected to my clients, I am usually not working through the same issues they are working through—at least not at the same time.
On Wednesday, November 9th 2016 I woke up with a deep sense of sadness and disbelief. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what had just happened…not who had lost the election, but who had won the election.
My 9 a.m. client that Wednesday asked me how I felt about the election results. I said that I was very sad. My client nodded, burst into tears, and said, “I haven’t been able to stop crying.”
Some version of this has been occurring in my office for the past 9 months. The initial reactions mostly revolved around feelings of incredulity and genuine confusion about what had happened. Over time many have shifted to feeling helpless and hopeless with a lot of statements like, “I just can’t watch the news any longer.”
I’m working through a similar process myself…trying to understand what happened, why it happened, how to speak about it, and what to do about it.
There is a shadow side that has come sharply into the light and for many of us this is very, very uncomfortable.
The shadow represents the things we do not wish to see—the ugliness in ourselves, our weaknesses, our base impulses, etc. So the tendency is to repress the shadow and stuff it deep down in the hopes that it will disappear, or at least that no one else will see it.
The same is true on a more global scale…
I think what we are beginning to understand is that all those years of political correctness and emphasis on equal rights covered up the ugliness, but it did not—obviously!—remove it.
The feelings of fear about those who are perceived as “different” or “other” became shameful to express and so were buried deep within the psyche and festered BIG TIME.
As horrible as it may seem to have it all come into the forefront, I think it’s actually a necessary part of the process of our evolution as a society. When the ugliness is out in the open, we are going to talk about it. When we are acutely aware that something is wrong, we are better able to make it right.
Healing doesn't involve keeping something hidden below the surface, it involves bringing it to light where we can all see it and say, "Gross! Unacceptable! We need to do something about this."