A key theological point I am learning through l’Arche is about accepting the “shadow-side” of my Self. Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen, two great theologians from l’Arche, speak about our shadow-side as being not “apart” from us, but “a part” of us. It is never going to go away, and the more we repress it, the more it is bound to explode. Repression of our shadow is practically the same as “feeding it.”
I ran into the comic strip below from my brother who has always shared great stuff with me. The story tells everything you need to know about how to handle your shadow side.
Jean recommended that we not feed the shadow, but befriend the shadow so that when others do wrong to us, we will not react with aggression or despair, but will hold a sense of empathy for that wrongdoer. Knowing how to forgive is also knowing the “bad wolf” of our own, and realizing that the person who wronged you has ultimately a harder battle…within their Self their shadow is winning, and it is not allowing them to become the best person they can be. And that’s a sad state of being. So pray for them, and forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
- The Light Shadow (jeanraffa.wordpress.com)