If you’re unfamiliar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you might want to brush up before delving into this one. Sorry guys, this post is about to get deep.
Trying to figure out how to break this down. The Jungian concept of the Shadow or Shadow Aspect is the unconscious stuff about ourselves that we do not express. Often it’s the stuff we repress, reject, dislike. It doesn’t have to be bad stuff, just traits that we don’t see as part of ourselves, or that we consider to be negative aspects of ourselves.
In terms of self-growth and self-understanding, one of our main jobs is to integrate those shadow aspects of self into our more complete personality. We have to accept, embrace and integrate these other parts of ourselves. These parts that have been there all along, rejected or ignored.
The Myers Briggs offers one easy way to spot our shadow, because it’s our opposite type. As an INFJ, my “shadow” self is an ESTP. I’m not going whole-hog or anything, but I am certainly going through a very clumsy process of integrating my Extroverted side.
I do think it’s important to note that I’m integrating this into what I already am. I’m not “losing” the parts of me that are INFJ, and that will always be a part of me. The weird inner world and the strange insights. Those aren’t going anywhere.
I did a little research into what an ESFJ looks like. It would move me from a place of seeing patterns, relationships, symbols and meanings into a place concerned about social harmony and caring about people.
What does that look like when it’s clumsy and uncertain? It looks like a writer worried about how the world sees her work. Early stages of shadow work might look really deep and scary from the outside.
Change is less scary when I can see that it’s growth, and not disintegration.
Meanwhile, Brett is doing the same thing. He’s juggernauting his way from an ENFP into an ESTP. Most of this shift has to do with his move from theoretical work into the very concrete, hands-on Paramedic work that he’s doing now.
What does that look like? He’s been doing his integration for over a year now, but he’s been much more concrete than he used to be. He’s less patient with my long, soulful ramblings (that’s what blogs are for, right?).
None of this is bad, it’s just undiscovered territory.
Anybody got a spare headlamp? It’s kinda dark in here.