Carl Jung, a psychoanalyst I’ve long admired, called this shadow work. He said we never see others. Instead we see only aspects of ourselves that fall over them. Shadows. Projections. Our associations. If we can see and accept those aspects of Self that we would rather cast out – the parts we don’t like – we will find ourselves more understanding, forgiving, caring and loving toward others.
If you want a glimpse your darker side, try this little mind trick : judge others’ unabashedly on paper (for your eyes only!). Now, find the ways that quality speaks about you.
“I don’t like people who think they’re superior to other people“.
True about me? Lets see… Have I ever thought I was better than others?
• When I get annoyed that the driver in front of me is “too” slow. (i.e., My way of driving is better than theirs)
• When I think I’m smarter than the support staff or employees at PetSmart (ouch)
• When I think others’ are superior to me. (I’m not smart enough, in good enough shape, creative enough, fun enough, young enough, or successful enough)
As I make my list, it is sinking in… I know the next time I see another as “thinking they’re superior to others“, I will probably realize I do not know the one I am judging, and I may feel more compassion for those I imagine are not being understood.