Befriending your Shadow
Okay, so here is an example of how to integrate a positive projection. For the sake of an example I'll take a fictional character; don't want to confuse family and friends. Let's say I admire/envy the serenity of Atticus Finch (character from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'). I ask myself then: "What does Atticus Finch and I have in common?" We both have a sensitivity towards injustice. Atticus is, even in the heat of a moment, poised. He is embodying his ethical convictions. I acknowledge that common kernel and find an affirmation for personal use.
When entering a conflict a possible affirmation would be: "I'm staying poised and grounded in my body, regardless what this situation will bring." After repeating it out load to myself, writing it down on post-its, etc. I'm preparing myself to act on it. Observing my habitual reactions towards a tense situation and consciously acting out the affirmation. Afterwards, I review myself critically and evaluate if my behaviour moved towards the preferable direction. This must be exercised numerous times in order to become it a habit. This is a fascinating way to build consciously character.
The art of dealing with negative projection works in a similar way, but needs a bit more work. I dislike wholeheartedly how arrogant and narcissistic Donald Trump acts out. It goes as far as I refuse to watch any news where I hear him speak. So, I must investigate a bit closer those negative traits. What's the positive core element behind arrogance? Self-confidence. Arrogance is an attempt to act strong, despite severe insecurities. When having problems accepting arrogant people, there is an unconscious mechanism running who wants to avoid seeing insecurity in others. What I actually want (or lack), when being annoyed by arrogance, is the virtue behind it: "Self-confidence" That's the key to integrate the shadow.
I acknowledge that I'm insecure myself and that there has been times in which I acted out arrogance. My goal however is to act self-confident. What can help me to act more self-confident? Admit my weakness and work out a plan to change my behaviour. Building self-reliance through developing and keeping to-do lists. Taking care of body and mind. Being disciplined. etc.
The way to integrate the shadow is therefore, to act as if the opposite is true. Then we become more forgiving when others behave inappropriately.
Here is a short list of examples of positive values behind shadow traits:
Projected (strongly upset) -> Unowned (not using this potential)
Anxiety -> Excitement
Approval seeking -> Openness to appreciation
Bias -> Discernment
Bitterness -> Refusal to overlook injustice
Clinging -> Loyalty
Cowardice -> Caution
Cruelty -> Anger
Demanding -> Daring to ask
Flattery -> Complimenting
Foolhardiness -> Bravery
Greed -> Self-provision
Guilt -> Conscientiousness
Hypocrisy -> Ability to "act as if"
Impatience -> Eagerness
Incompetence -> Willingness to experiment
Jealousy -> Protectiveness
Laziness -> Relaxedness
Loneliness -> Openness to nurturance
Procrastination -> Honouring one's own timing
Selfishness -> Self-nurturance
Self-pity -> Self-Forgiveness
Sense of obligation -> Choice
Submissiveness -> Cooperation, docility
Vengefulness -> Justice
The shadow is only dangerous when projected and don't found within oneself. We don't have to be possessed by it. Befriend and you can open locked potentional in you. When in a difficult situation, be observant and ask for grace. Transformation will happen. We don't do the works of darkness, but we have to notice its presence.
Source: The Shadow and its Integration by David Ricko