I recently learned about the concept of a “shadow” that Carl Jung defined. According to it, each of us has a psychological shadow - the part of us that we suppress unconsciously. It’s usually a darker side which society makes us hide, such as a side of violence, but it doesn’t have to be negative. It can be different sexuality, or creativity. It is there, even if we aren’t aware if.
For me personally, on the surface level I’ve struggled with some addictions, anger and procrastination, so I was curious whether these might result from something I’m suppressing in my shadow. So I started probing.
One thing I realized I was suppressing is that I was thinking of most things I spent my time as things I “have to” do. Not the things I “want to” do. Even for genuinely fun things. I realized also I wasn’t as productive in the “have to” tasks, as the “want to” part of my brain would keep pushing me towards procrastination.
So I decided to not fight that voice and start thinking about what I “want to” do and spend more time doing it. And to lean towards whatever seems to generate the most genuine fun - do that.
I realized I want to be active and healthy and tackle physical challenges in the outdoors, to solve math problems and to discover through doing, whether it’s writing an essay, or an app. To spend more time with favorite people, to party, to dance and to travel. To learn new things, to satisfy my curiosity, and to see the product of my work flourish. To help others and to see them succeed.
The phrase “To do list” started having a different feel, as it was more “want to do list” than “have to do list”.
The result - my perceived stress decreased, and I am enjoying what I’m doing now a lot more. What is a bit unexpected is that having decided to be a bit more selfish and be more driven by “want” than “have to”, the things I “have to” do haven’t suffered and in fact seem improved, as I struggle less with procrastination.
This essay’s existence is a result of that.