"To the degree we have awareness we have the opportunity for freedom, but where we lack awareness we act out conditioned behaviours."
In this post we are going to dip our toes into some deep waters, exploring the concept of archetypes, our shadow aspects and how we can integrate them in order to reach our full potential.
Carl Jung defined archetypes as "innate, universal prototypes, the bridge between psyche and matter, psychological organs, analogous to physical ones, innate neuro-psychic centres that initiate control and mediate human experiences"
Archetypes can represent a psychological longing, a desire to become.
Archetypes can have a good side and a bad side; a shadow and a positive aspect. The shadow aspect has power over us, it is hidden in the back regions of our psyche, we deny them because, to our conscious mind they are unpalatable, but by facing and acknowledging the existence of our shadow archetypes we can bring illumination to, neutralise and gain freedom from their influence.
It is important to note at this point that the shadow can become problematic when we don't pay attention to it as it has a way of influencing our behaviour, Have you ever said or done anything and wondered why exactly you took that course of action? Or made mistakes or had accidents that seem inexplicable, almost as if you had been hijacked? Chances are your shadow was at work and trying to tell you something.
Recognising active archetypes. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you spend your time and money on?
What are your main hobbies, interests and activities?
What experiences, interests, images trigger an emotional charge (either positive or negative?)
Some archetypes are classified as survival archetypes as they relate to the challenges of survival. For example the prostitute archetype is active in most all adults simply because we "have" to sell ourselves in some way to survive, we prostitute ourselves when we remain in a situation that compromises our wellbeing for financial gain.
The other survival archetypes are The Child, The Victim,and The Saboteur. Each one of these archetypes represent various challenges and issues within us but can also serve as our most trusted guardians, preserving integrity and acting as guides as we negotiate our way through life.
Quite often we think we are in control when the truth is that our shadow self is in the driving seat and making decisions for us; that is our shadow self has become 'triggered' or activated. This is not a good situation to be in, imagine the chaos caused by a child driving your car on public roads. It's the same thing when the shadow is calling the shots from behind the scenes, its worth remembering that the shadow is a psychological term for everything we can’t see in ourselves. More importantly we quite often 'project' our undesirable shadow aspects onto other people. As Carl Jung states, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves".
How to recognise when our shadow has become triggered.
Feelings of anger, anxiety, or sadness
Not paying attention to what the other person is saying
Thinking of a response before the the other person has finished speaking
Feeling out of control
Recognising these behaviours within ourselves can bring us to a greater level of awareness, aiding in the task of becoming fully integrated beings, and also increasing our capacity for empathic and evolved communication.
As you can see CHEK coaches focus on much more than just the nuts and bolts of diet and exercise. An Holistic approach means truly whole-istic, we take every aspect of the human organism into consideration when helping our clients become the best version of themselves.