I have been watching recently the very powerful new movie from Debbie Ford with Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and many others great teachers on The Shadow Effect. If you haven't watched it, please do watch it, it is for the future of humanity. And these are some of the thoughts I have been thinking after watching it and from my work supporting people suffering from social anxiety, expatriates and others.
In the movie they mention that the individual's shadow begins in childhood with feeling bad about some parts of ourselves. Shadow comes out in various ways, also with being judgmental about others; but is it possible that shadow will increase in adulthood with others' judgements? Judgements can come from society, peers and, maybe with the best intentions, friends and family. This is what I will try to reflect on here.
I believe if a person has low self-esteem or they do not approve of themselves, maybe they are insecure of who they are, their values or behaviors or they have negative subconscious programming - this insecurity is part of their childhood shadow - and they are looking for outside approval, then what 'others think of them' - and so society judgements - might cause them to increase their shadow. Or if they have beliefs that in order for example to be successful they have to behave in a certain way, this will cause them further shadow.
I believe no matter which society we reside in the world there is always present, in some form or another, judgements or criticism; judgements to be in a certain way, to behave in a certain way, to have certain values, behaviors, etc. and if a person does not have them, they might be automatically - which means coming from the subconscious - criticized.
I often see the trends of society going with what is 'cool', and so if some parts of the individual are not aligned with what is 'cool' in that society and the individual suffers from low self-esteem, then this might cause him/her further shadow. He/she will suppress more parts of himself/herself just to feel accepted by others and so he/she will deny who he/she is.
I see societal judgements come out also in the form of sarcasm or 'humor'; some people use 'humor' to belittle somebody else, they laugh at somebody else: it is all judgement anyway and it is part of the shadow of the one who is laughing or belittling. I see this sometimes with people who have problems with public speaking; they tell me that somebody has laughed at them before; it is never justified to laugh at somebody, no matter what. If we laugh at somebody, we are simply projecting our stuff which we need to take care of.
Something needs to be said about the collective shadow, as they mention in the movie. There might be behaviors, beliefs, values/non-values in that society which are not quite ok, but are accepted or justified in that society; they are part of their collective shadow and need to be taken care of.
Also something needs to be said about starting a business. If a person wants to start a business and they do not know how, they might ask for advice; advice given is sometimes of the kind: look at the market, follow the trends; and so people might suppress their dreams, suppress what they would really love to do and create in the world. It is paramount that they learn about the Spiritual Laws so that they can create whatever brings them most joy.
In my work supporting people who suffer from social anxiety I see the number of people suffering from social anxiety is increasing continuously worldwide; why is that? Maybe the first reason is that people want approval. Many people do not approve of themselves, maybe even beat themselves up the whole time. Society is trying to tell people there is something wrong with them unless they are like everybody else. And if they want approval, society will program them with their judgments and they will increase their individual shadow. The solution is to connect with who you are, love yourself and, no matter what society is telling you, do what feels right for you.
For foreigners there might be a further issue to deal with if in the host country cultural integration is meant to become 'like them'. If foreign nationals are not aware or prepared with cross cultural mechanisms and if they are not strong in who they are, then cross cultural pressure might cause them further shadow; it might cause them to suppress who they are just to be accepted or successful in the foreign culture. It is really key for a foreigner to be strong in themselves, learn about cross cultural mechanisms and also the Spiritual laws to be able to shift reality.