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Make Peace with Your Unlived Life

The true self and the shadow self

The true self and the shadow self

The idea of a "true self" and a "false or shadow self" has long preoccupied psychologists.

  • Carl Jung viewed the "shadow self" as our unknown, dark side. Jung believed that unless we come to terms with our shadow side, we will become its victim.
  • Similarly, psychologist Erik Erikson introduced the idea of the identity crisis. He said that identity formation has a dark and negative side, and in the process of becoming an adult, these negatives attract you. You have to integrate it into your sense of identity.
  • Donald Winnicott developed the idea further of the "true self" and "false self." He explained that we develop a defensive structure from a young age that may turn into a "false self." Later we will hide or deny our "true self."

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Make Peace with Your Unlived Life

Make Peace with Your Unlived Life

https://hbr.org/2016/12/make-peace-with-your-unlived-life

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

The true self and the shadow self

The idea of a "true self" and a "false or shadow self" has long preoccupied psychologists.

  • Carl Jung viewed the "shadow self" as our unknown, dark side. Jung believed that unless we come to terms with our shadow side, we will become its victim.
  • Similarly, psychologist Erik Erikson introduced the idea of the identity crisis. He said that identity formation has a dark and negative side, and in the process of becoming an adult, these negatives attract you. You have to integrate it into your sense of identity.
  • Donald Winnicott developed the idea further of the "true self" and "false self." He explained that we develop a defensive structure from a young age that may turn into a "false self." Later we will hide or deny our "true self."

Identity exploration

The journey of identity exploration often begins at adolescence.

Some people always do what others think is a good idea for them. Only later on in life, they will start to think that they never really pursued their own ideals, but the desires of others. It can become draining and contribute to life choices that don't accommodate their real needs.

The unlived life

A person may experience a delayed identity crisis, but it may contain seeds of psychological renewal - the motivation to move into new directions in life.

Instead of ignoring these parts, accept the unlived parts of yourself and learn to read the messages that are contained in it. In doing so, you may discover all sorts of creative and positive ideas, ready to come to light.

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Our inner demons lead us to negatively judge ourselves, further leading to avoiding that judgment, and eventually starting the internal self-destruction, if the negative downward spiral is left unchecked.

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