Do You Know Your Shadow Side?

Introduction

I find this article on Carl Jung’s thoughts and insight into human nature to be highly interesting. It echoes the Judaeo-Christian concept of the soul, the inward battle between good and evil, i.e. humans created in the moral likeness of God versus our fallen and/or carnal nature.

Jung refers to greed, envy, anger, rage, selfishness, power strivings, and sexual lust as being part of our primitive and negative emotions, the dark, unconscious aspects of our personality. A Judaeo-Christian worldview would point to this darkness or “shadow” as the result of Original Sin in the Garden of Eden, our carnal nature resulting from sin and separation from God.

Even to the casual observer, with some knowledge of the theological concepts of our essential human nature, it is easy to see that Carl Jung was also influenced by a Judaeo-Christian worldview, albeit a somewhat twisted and reinterpreted worldview. To the secular mind, Jung’s ideas are palatable, to the theologically trained, they fall far short of the ancient writings (scripture) and the historical account of Jesus Christ, including the meaning of His life, death, and resurrection.

Nevertheless, the author (Eric Perry, PhD) fleshes out some fascinating ideas applicable to the practical realm of our lives. Human beings do, indeed, tend to suppress the aspects of their dark nature and often project those same “shadows” on others.

In the final analysis, the post is a good read 🙂

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MakeItUltra™

By Eric Perry, PhD-c


“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence”
~Simon & Garfunkel

Like Dr. Jekyll and his evil shadow Mr. Hyde, most of us are completely unaware of the constant dark companion that dwells within us. Our shadow side, according to C.G. Jung, the celebrated swiss psychiatrist, is the dark side of our personality. It is an unconscious aspect of the personality of which we are not consciously aware. The shadow side is comprised of primitive and negative emotions. It resides within the deepest recess of our psyche, rarely seeing light. It is comprised of the least desirable aspects of our personality such as greed, envy, anger, rage, selfishness, power strivings, and sexual lust. These…

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Exercise Addiction: Chasing the Dopamine High

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Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham crawl to the finish line at the 1997 Ironman

In a day and age where extremes seem to be the norm, rarely do I find someone that I know personally that exercises moderately for their mental, physical, and spiritual well being. Just about everyone I have met in the climbing and mountaineering, road cycling, running, swimming, and XC ski communities tend to exercise or “train” at the extreme or sharp end of their chosen sport or recreational activity.

Keep in mind that the majority of the aforementioned are at least in their forties now and would be considered master-aged athletes. Some are incredibly gifted physically and appear to excel at their chosen sporting endeavor. The majority are just ordinary middle-of-the-road “pack filler”, yet they train and race in their age-group or skill level categories like they are world class athletes. They are addicted to exercise and the dopamine highs that come with it. Their stated reasons for participating in extreme endurance sport are varied, but if work and/or family responsibilities, injury, or illness prevent them from exercising daily, they are often miserable, anxious, and a bear to be around socially or otherwise. That dopamine high – the heightened sense of well-being and feeling alive rapidly diminishes. For many, depression is not far behind.

How did I come to recognize this in others? Because I am just as guilty as they are for chasing the proverbial dopamine-on-a-stick so prevalent in endurance sports today. Our sporting clubs are almost like destructive religious cults where we literally celebrate the extreme and those individuals that accomplish the extraordinary. Every ride, every run has to be of “epic” proportions to be worthy of our praise. The bar is set higher and higher and we move from marathon challenges into the realm of ultra marathon distances. If one has not gone on a four to five hour 100+ kilometre ride over the weekend, one’s efforts are not deemed worthy of attention, let alone celebration. This is borderline insanity and we have social media sites like Strava to prove it.

Over a period of many years, I have repeatedly asked medical doctors and other specialists how much exercise is necessary to maintain optimal physical and mental health. Invariably, their response is typically “about thirty minutes of moderate activity per day“. Keep in mind that several of these physicians are endurance athletes themselves and are just as addicted to the dopamine highs as the rest of us. Perhaps we need to heed the warnings of the medical community, and the studies of psychologists and psychiatrists about exercise addiction and the long-term consequences of abusing our bodies in our pursuit of exercise nirvana.

A number of months ago a friend suggested to me that I should consider participating in sport in a “manner that is suitable for my age“. At first I felt insulted and wondered if this was just another criticism from someone that may be living a rather sedentary lifestyle. It is that group that I am most concerned about, as the medical clinics and hospitals of our nation are filled with people who suffer from diseases that predominantly originate from inactive lifestyles and poor food choices and eating habits – the opposite extreme of exercise addiction.

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Walking – a healthy alternative to extreme endurance sport. © 2017. Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

The answer, of course, to the aforementioned dilemma is moderation in all things. If we want to be truly healthy in mind, body, and spirit, we need to make positive choices that will benefit us in the long term. It was the off-the-cuff remark of a friend that has caused me to re-evalute what it truly means to be healthy and to take positive steps to wean myself off of the pursuit of dopamine highs through extreme exercise. Addiction is addiction, no matter which way the ball curves. There is no such thing as a healthy addiction in the true sense of the word.

The extremes that we see in just about every aspect of life today reminds me of how broken humanity really is and how far removed we are from our Creator and His loving intentions for our lives. We really are living in an upside-down world.

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Reflection: Dr. Leaf Smith

I am not even certain how I got on this guy’s email list, but I really do like what he has to say, especially for coaches and athletes involved in sport. Very useful and down-to-earth advice from Dr. Leaf Smith at Personal Best Consulting.

May 2017 Edition ISSUE #161

Reflection

Three habits you need to STOP (because they increase your anxiety levels)
1. Disengaging.
Disengaging from your life-via shutting down, ignoring work to be done or conversations to be had, or running away from your stress-only makes things worse. Procrastination is another form of disengagement. Even if your current stress levels are overwhelming, stay in the fight! Sometimes the best move is to simply stand your ground. The next step will come to you. Stay engaged with your social network, your partner or spouse, and your supportive family members.

2. Negative self-talk.
We all have that negative inner voice-the one that tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough. In fact, our brains are hard-wired to be negative, since predicting pain is a way we try and protect ourselves. However, we have to be discerning homo sapiens. We have to understand the difference between helpful self-talk (“I need to stop being late all the time, and plan my time better”) and negative, unhelpful self-talk (“I’m such a screw up, I always do this”). Stop beating yourself to a pulp with your negativity. Quiet that voice via positive, rational thinking. Ignore the negativity. Just don’t give it free space in your head any longer.

3. Failing to prioritize.
Being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive. Most people fool themselves in this way, feeling proud of their busy days, when in reality, they did very little with regards to tackling their most important life priorities. Everyday, as soon as possible, do one thing to improve your health, your finances, your relationships, or your spirituality. Choose one category, and get something done! Nothing will improve unless you prioritize like this. Your future self will thank you!

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Feeling Fat: Why Self-Talk Matters

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Who’s talking? The monkey or the professor?

Does this sound like you?

I feel like a McChunk-Chunk today.

I just feel so bloated.

Urgh, I’m bulging out of my clothes. ****, why did I eat that last night?

I feel like a sausage in my kit today.

When I bend over, I can feel rolls.

I can’t look at my legs in the mirror. I just see cellulite.

Flab. I just feel and see flab.

When you feel fat, you’re actually feeling something else. Feeling fat is a smokescreen for other feelings. For example, you might feel frustrated that you don’t feel in control of your exercise or eating habits, or depressed that with all the exercise you do, your body still doesn’t look the way you want it to. Perhaps you feel jealous or envious of the badass athlete with the great legs, or you’re worried about gaining weight.

Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7a

Read more here.

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The New Atlantis: Sexuality and Gender

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Introduction

The New Atlantis, founded in 2003, is a quarterly journal about the social, ethical, political, and policy dimensions of modern science and technology. The journal is published in Washington, D.C. by the social conservative advocacy group the Ethics and Public Policy Center in partnership with the Center for the Study of Technology and Society. It is edited by Adam Keiper, who took over in 2007 from founding editor Eric Cohen.

Wikipedia

Editor’s Note: Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. We offer this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.

Full text of The New Atlantis #50  –  PDF format in  English, Spanish, and German.

Conclusion

It is important for society to examine the frequent claims about sexuality and gender from the biological, psychological, and social sciences. As a follower of Christ, I would add that the theological basis for understanding human sexuality and gender is also vitally important, though not addressed here.

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Loneliness is not a disease…

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Courtesy Mario Zucca for the Boston Globe.

Loneliness is not something most of us want to talk about. After all, there is often social stigma attached to a lonely person with few or any friends for that matter. In a world of social media, where one is often measured by the number of friends they have on Facebook or the number of kudos and/or comments they receive on WordPress, to be lonely is the equivalent to being a loser, a social outcast or leper.

Continue reading “Loneliness is not a disease…”