There are two major streams of thought within the psychology and spiritual sectors. People who follow the law of attraction believe that what you think gathers momentum over time and attracts more positive thoughts. If we can tune our vibration towards things that make us happy, then this momentum will increase, and being happy will become easier and easier. But there are others who make an equally effective argument. Every person has a shadow side that is repressed by modern society, if this shadow side is not scrutinized and allowed to express itself, then it will continue to lurk in our subconscious,
sabotaging our happiness. Whatever is within us needs to be processed and expressed in some way. It is a commonly accepted scientific principle that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transmuted.
A Deeper Look Into the Shadow
Shadow psychology was first popularized by the imminent professor Carl Jung. The shadow is the unconscious aspect of ourselves that we cannot consciously identify with. There are actually positive aspects of the shadow side. “People Pleasers” need to start identifying with their anger and start telling people to get lost, in no uncertain terms. But because they were brought up in such a way as to respect others and be “good”, they find it difficult to consciously understand that saying no to people can be immensely organic, satisfying, and natural. Instead, they take on more work than they should and end up stressed, believing that sabotaging their mental and emotional wellbeing is somehow a ‘positive’ thing.
Generally, however, the shadow exhibits negative tendencies. It contains deep fears and insecurities. It then projects these fears and securities onto other people. Often, people will project their own negative tendencies onto others to deal with their own pain. It is the next best thing to being able to confront it within themselves, which is far more difficult. For Jung, the best way to explore the Shadow side was through dreamwork and symbolic analysis. The Shadow was referred to as the “Unconscious” in the works of both Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. The concept of Shadow Self has become much more popular in recent times due to the prior dominance of the law of attraction. More people than ever are involved in dreamwork and self-assessment questionnaires to dissolve shadow tendencies and bring the shadow self to the forefront of the conscious mind.
The Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction is demonstrated or alluded to in many historical societies and spiritual texts. It is not the sole domain of the Hicks, though they are the ones who have brought it to the public awareness in a 21st-century context. The Law of Attraction makes perfect sense and does more to explain why some people are successful and others are not more than anything else. But the complete set of teachings add so much more and delve into complex situations that extend far beyond focusing on positive thoughts.
Additionally, it places a new emphasis on desires and emotions. These were viewed as ‘dirty’ from an Eastern spiritual perspective, where we gain much of our esoteric information from. Such distortions have convinced people that desires and emotions are somehow evil, though nothing could be further from the truth. Moreover, too much emphasis has been placed on mental thoughts, when it is the emotional vibrations that are what gives the strength to the manifestation. The law of attraction is based on feelings as opposed to thoughts, which is a completely new paradigm.
Which One Should I Do?
The good news is that there is no need for discrimination. Shadow work and a positive mindset can both easily be applied together. There is no need to side with one group ‘against’ the other. This is both pointless and counterproductive. Instead, embrace the best of both worlds. You might find that doing positivity work brings up hidden shadows and that focusing on understanding the Shadow works to increase your levels of positivity. A good compromise could be to do both shadow work and keep positive psychology but try to focus more on positive psychology. It also helps to notice that there is a difference between ignoring something and focusing on the positive side of things. So meet your difficulties head-on and face them upfront. At the same time, try to look to the future and be optimistic about what it has in store for you. Don’t avoid the past and your inner demons, as this has been identified as the number one impediment to future growth and development. Emotional avoidance is also the leading cause of unhappiness according to some experts in the field of psychology. It can be a tough line to balance between the two. But to develop a really healthy mindset, you have to focus on both.