Psychologist Carl Jung describes Shadow as everything in our unconscious mind that is repressed, underdeveloped, and denied. Along with anima and animus, as well as persona, Shadow is one of the three most recognizable archetypes. Unlike external shadows that are brought out by light, Shadow is mostly hidden and shows itself in the form of projection. This projection is brought out when we turn a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Essentially we become disgusted by the actions of another because we sense those same qualities repressed in ourselves.
Two things are important to know about Shadow; 1) everyone has Shadow, and 2) confronting Shadow is essential in creating self awareness.
Accepting Shadow is important because in acceptance we allow ourselves to progress beyond what we are limited by and redefine who we potentially can be. Once we allow ourselves to accept we can then confront. In confrontation we begin to learn about ourselves which in turn allows us project upon ourselves and stop projecting on the mirrors of other people. Self awareness comes when we understand where our perceived weaknesses come form and learn to deal with them internally. In doing this we can take the energy we waste on others and apply it towards our own self healing and evolution.
Shadow contains the faces we are afraid to show not only the outside world, but ourselves as well. We can try to hide them as much as we want, but ultimately they will appear because they are a part of our unconscious being. In repression of these faces we deny ourselves the ability to become authentic and whole, we deny who we really are, therefore losing touch with potential and giving in to our greatest weaknesses.
If it is a goal of ours to create greater self awareness, we must start from the inside and work our way outwards towards the actions of others. Much like physical combat, the more we know about others weaknesses the better prepared we are to win. In self awareness, the more we know about our own insecurities the better prepared we are to overcome them and not project them on to those we surround ourselves with.
Self awareness is a step towards empowerment and as long as we project outwards we are being controlled and manipulated. We can look to others and become disgusted by their actions, but must understand that until we can resolve that disgust within ourselves we will never find awareness, power, or peace internally.