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“What you resist persists.” But what did Jung really mean by this?

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung is noted for saying this. But what did he mean?

Jung was talking about his research into what he called, The Shadow. He found that patients who resisted aspects of themselves would have those aspects persist, or actually enlarge. This would draw much energy into the cycle of resistance – problem – more resistance – more problem. The constant resistance to aspects of self could fracture the psyche. His focus was to have the person be whole, rather than fragmented pieces or perfect.

This resistance typically begins with shame. For example, a child gets called “dumb”, feeling lots of shame. As an adult he then resists “dumb”, striving to be smart, perfect. It becomes exhausting to run from any chance of being dumb. For example, maybe he’s always wanted to write a book, but so afraid he could say something anyone would think is “dumb”, so he never writes, ever. The more he resists, the more the pain persists. Oddly, he’ll be plagued by random occasions of really “dumb” things, more shames, more striving for perfection. Ever had this happen to you?

Resisting means hiding, denying, or covering up. The healing is to truly embrace being “dumb” and the gift in it. This is what I’d call Radical Love. We see this in a great comedian who embraces being “dumb” and turns it into art. Think of Ben Stiller. Here’s a guy that really embraces being “dumb” and we also see he is incredibly smart too. The nature of our dualistic existence means that if you are one, you are the other. So get excited embracing your shadow, there’s tremendous Light to be revealed on this journey!

Stay tuned and we’ll go on this journey of Radical Love over the next few weeks. An amazing gift is that when you love ALL of you in this radical way, you naturally start to love others and they love you.

For now, consider what you are resisting about yourself. Where do you think you are supposed to be perfect? Where do you beat yourself up? Consider what you are hiding about you or ashamed of? This is the first step in loving you completely. More to come…

(If you’ve got questions, please leave a comment or email me.)

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Rich October 18, 2010, 4:43 pm

    Hi, Just saw the mistake here that Carl Jung to be Swedish.
    Check again: \… Swiss psychiatrist\
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung

  • Rich October 18, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Hi, Just saw the mistake here that Carl Jung to be Swedish.
    Check again: “… Swiss psychiatrist”
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung

  • Erol Fox October 18, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Thanks! Corrected and funny how my fingers don’t always type what my brain is thinking.

  • Rain May 29, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Where is this Carl Jung quote from? I would like to read it in its full context.

  • J. Raven September 12, 2013, 7:02 pm

    Mariah Blake, author of the above MJ article, wrote:
    “Ever since Zimmerman gained notoriety by fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, AN UNARMED BLACK TEENAGER….”

    First, I acknowledge Ms. Blake’s reference to Trayvon as a “teenager” and not as a “boy.”

    It seems like every article or video I read/see, refers to Trayvon as an “unarmed” “innocent” little boy who was murdered/killed by an armed, white-hispanic, cop-wannabe, racist profiling & black-boy-stalking man named George Zimmerman.

    It is my 64-year-old black man’s opinion that until our black leaders, writers and community begin to look at and talk about Trayvon’s death realistically, there will be no “Justice” for blacks in America.

    Justice has already been rendered in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman matter.

    George Zimmerman was not the only armed person that night. Trayvon Martin was armed as well – not with a gun, but with his arms and his fists. Unfortunately, he chose to use his weapons.

    Why do so many of my black brothers and sisters choose to completely ignore this fact? Trayvon Martin was a thugsta. His father presumably was one before him. And yet our black community chooses to ignore this fact, and by so doing – not only in this case – but across all of black society – assures that the thugsta attitude will carry on destroying so many of our black youth, while us black folk who crossed over to some level of dignity and self-worth, treat this reality like a pink elephant in the room.

    When did Barrack Obama last visit the inner city – any inner city – and plead with his young brothers to stop their slaughter of each other? Or ask our teenage girls to avoid pregnancy at all costs?

    How many of the successful people in our community purposely mentor our teenage boys and girls?

    Trayvon Martin was not an unarmed black teenager.
    He was armed with his fists and infused with the thugsta attitude that the rest of us have tacitly allowed to continue generation after generation.
    It is our SHADOW!
    And until we embrace that shadow, there will be more Trayvon Martins…no matter who we blame it on!

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