Shadow Work for a Sustainable Lifestyle with Impact

It’s time to focus more on the People aspect of the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit. Humanity has brought us out of alignment with the laws of nature and since it supports our very existence, we must nurture the nature within to have more respect for and alignment with our environment.

This is why any course of self development is necessary to bring ourselves back into alignment with nature. Shadow work is some of the deepest and most effective personal development work you can do to ultimately create less of a negative environmental impact on the planet.

There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t have a shadow side to themselves, and yet not many people are clear on exactly what a shadow is or how to identify theirs.

Shadow can also be seen as your baggage, shame or fear.

Our shadow self is an aspect of ourselves that we would be very embarrassed to reveal or have anyone find out. Often times we don’t consciously know what our shadows are. Other times the shadow can be so dark that we feel like we might die or have to move to the other side of the world if anyone knew about it.

You want to identify and work with your shadow because as long as it limits you or causes pain, it will dictate how you operate in your life. This is contrary to living your unique and authentic self, feeling free and in control to live a resilient and regenerative life. So when you start to OWN your shadow side, essentially you start to take back your power and control so it doesn’t control you.

Examples of Shadow:

  • Body Image – maybe you were told it’s not OK to carry weight, or saw your caretakers/parents laugh at overweight people, or was bullied at school because you were a bit chubby and now you dress to cover up your body instead of expressing your authenticity. Your shadow is the loathing you have for your body, instead of the love and admiration you could feel because it’s doing its job. Some of my clients who struggle with body image also find it hard to speak up for what they believe in. They don’t want to be seen.
  • Speaking Out – as a child you were quite a rambunctious youngster with lots to say about everything. Your parents/caretakers or teachers or any other adult, kept telling you to be quiet, you talk too much or you should go play over there away from us. Now as an adult you have a hard time speaking in front of strangers or voicing your opinion at work or presenting new ideas that could solve problems.
  • Relationships – you saw your parents hurt each other, either emotionally or physically or both and they eventually broke up. This devastated you, pulling the rug of security out from under you. Now you have a hard time trusting in the love and joy that can come from healthy relationships and so you consistently sabotage opportunities with good partners or even coworkers. Your shadow is the belief that all relationships are doomed and you play it out to always be right.
  • Finances – because you witnessed adults around you creating their dream business and watched it fail, or saw others work so hard and always struggle financially, you yourself might believe that work is pain and doesn’t offer any financial (or otherwise) rewards. So you limit your career options to things that don’t light you up, refusing to put yourself out there and go for exactly what you desire that could make a bigger difference in the world.

The thing about shadow is that, as Carl Jung describes it as the “Id”, they are often things we can’t see within ourselves. The subconscious is aware they exist but the conscious mind doesn’t and instead does everything to overcompensate for the existence of the shadow within. This means there is a lot of energy spent trying to hide the shadow when instead that energy could be used to: start a community garden, transform your companies waste system, work with local government to create more active transport paths or any other topic you’re passionate about.

Working to reveal the shadows within is a big first step in healing them and feeling more free to be your unique self without shame. When you work through the Sustainability Theorem, your shadows are revealed so you can start the journey back to you, free of that excess baggage that continues to drag you down. With your shadows brought into the light, you create more opportunities for yourself while also feeling more satisfied and available to be of service to the world.

Shadow work contributes to Sustainable Happiness and that’s important because it’s hard to save the world on a bad day.

Shadow work contributes to Sustainable Happiness and that’s important because it’s hard to save the world on a bad day.

If you’d like to learn more about increasing your Sustainable Happiness so you can be of better service to the world check out the Sustainability Theorem and see if it’s a fit for you or your team.