Profound Shadow Work Quotes from Carl Jung and Others to Help You Embrace Your True Self

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If you are familiar with shadow work and the concept of the shadow self then you will know that it represents the parts of ourselves that we tend to hide or even deny. It is the side of our personality that sometimes manifests in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without us even knowing where it is coming from.

In this article, you will find a collection of some of the best shadow self quotes from Carl Jung and other famous people to use in your shadow work journaling.

Don’t forget to check out our list of over 150 shadow work prompts if you are looking for more shadow self journaling inspiration or if you need help getting started.

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55+ Shadow Self Quotes By Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a famous Swiss psychiatrist who first came up with the concept of the shadow self.

According to Jung, embracing your shadow self can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth. Here you will find 50 quotes by Carl Jung about the shadow self which will hopefully inspire you in your shadow work journaling.

  • Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.
  • Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
  • I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
  • The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
  • Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
  • The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
  • One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
  • Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
  • Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.
  • Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
  • The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
  • What you resist, persists.
  • The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
  • Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.
  • Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
  • The world will ask you who you are, and if you don’t know, the world will tell you. 
  • The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.
  • No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.
  • We are not what happened to us, we are what we wish to become.
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.  
  • Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.  
  • People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls.  
  • The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.  
  • Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.  
  • To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem.  
  • Everyone you meet knows something you don’t know but need to know. Learn from them.  
  • We don’t get wounded alone and we don’t heal alone.  
  • The whole point of Jesus’s life was not that we should become exactly like him, but that we should become ourselves in the same way he became himself. Jesus was not the great exception but the great example.  
  • Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.  
  • You always become the thing you fight the most.  
  • A man’s hatred is always concentrated upon that which makes him conscious of his bad qualities.  
  • The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.
  • Be grateful for your difficulties and challenges, for they hold blessings. In fact… Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for healthy personal growth, individuation, and self-actualization.  
  • Conflict exists strictly as an opportunity to raise our consciousness.  
  • We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.  
  • In every adult, there lurks a child— an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the personality which wants to develop and become whole.  
  • You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.
  • The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
  • People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.
  • There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.
  • Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
  • Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.
  • People will do anything no matter how absurd to avoid facing their own souls.
  • Shadow work is the path of the heart warrior.
  • The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.
  • To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light.
  • A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbor.
  • Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it?
  • Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead, you should give it life… If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature.
  • Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world.
  • Shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part, an inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors.
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls - Carl Jung
  • The Shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it, therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance Indeed, self-knowledge as a psychotherapeutic measure frequently requires much painstaking work extending over a long period of time.
  • But if we are able to see our own shadow and can bear knowing about it, then a small part of the problem has already been solved: we have at least brought up the personal unconscious.
  • The shadow is a living part of the personality and therefore wants to live with it in some form It cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness.
  • Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.
  • And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.
  • We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous breakdown.
  • If we remember that there are many people who understand nothing at all about themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts.

90+ Shadow Self Quotes By Others

It wasn’t just Jung who spoke about the shadow self! Here you find a collection of shadow self quotes by others who have seen value in exploring their shadow to heal and grow.

  • All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow — Leo Tolstoy
  • I like my shadow; it reminds me that I exist — Mehmet Murat ildan
  • Being in a shadow is never just as simple as stepping out of it. Shadows can camouflage a lot of things ― Leah Henderson
  • But only he who, himself enlightened, is not afraid of shadows — Immanuel Kant
  • Even the purest cast a black shadow — Kaitlyn Jones
  • Every light has its shadow, and every shadow hath a succeeding morning — Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Some people have an identity. I have an alibi. I have a shadow self — Andre Aciman
  • For every light, there was a shadow, for every dream, a nightmare — Amber R Duell
  • Get acquainted with your shadow, or find yourself surprised when a crisis emerges ― MB Dallocchio
  • How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me? ― Thomas Merton
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness ― H P Lovecraft
  • I live my life free of compromise, and step into the shadows without complaint or regret — Alan Moore
  • I spend so much time alone that whenever I see my shadow I feel crowded — Dov Davidoff
  • If a man’s shadow is brighter than himself, then that man becomes the shadow itself! — Mehmet Murat Ildan
  • If we didn’t have shadow we’d just sit around loving the light, likely doing nothing with it ― S. Kelley Harrell
  • If you don’t accept yourself, you can’t transcend yourself and the world: first, you need to increase your awareness, then you need to accept what you learn, then you need to take action – Oli Anderson
  • If you don’t have any shadows you’re not in the light — Lady Gaga
  • Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see — Martin Luther King Jr
  • If you look toward the sunshine, you will never see the shadows — Helen Keller
  • Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • There is no light without shadow, just as there is no happiness without pain — Isabel Allende
  • It is only through shadows that one comes to know the light — St Catherine of Siena
  • Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure It gives it to us with bitterness and disappointment in its train — Oscar Wilde
  • Life is a mixture of light and shadow, calm and storm, and it’s all good — Susan W Krebs
  • Befriend your shadow and life will be easier — Robert Jabert
  • Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin. We can illuminate our paths or darken our way It is a matter of choice — Maya Angelou
  • Loss and possession, death and life are one. There falls no shadow where there shines no sun — Hilaire Belloc
  • May the dark remain in your shadow and the light shine upon you — Giovannie de Sadeleer
  • My soul’s the present shadow of a presence gone — Fernando Pessoa
  • No matter how hard you fight the darkness, every light casts a shadow, and the closer you get to the light, the darker that shadow becomes ― Plato
  • Nobody can rest in the coolness of their own shadow! — Mehmet Murat ildan
  • Our shadows hold the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light – Debbie Ford
  • Shadow is a colour as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relation of two tones — Paul Cezanne
  • Your shadow will always release whatever overshadows you ― Bill Johnson
  • Shadow is an intelligent artist; it creates its works in places where there are already great beauties! ― Mehmet Murat ildan
  • Shadow is Light’s child It is nothing without the Light, and nothing if it falls into Darkness ― Anne Hamilton
  • Shadow is not an umbrage only but the proof of our Existence — Samar Sudha
  • It is only the quietest one who can hear all the voices of the world; only the shadows can see all the lights! ― Mehmet Murat Ildan
  • Shadow owes its birth to light — John Gay
  • Shine out fair sun, till I have bought a glass, That I may see my shadow as I pass ― William Shakespeare
  • Some things can only be seen in the shadows — Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Technically, the weight of pain is the weight of shadow ― Carl Phillips
  • The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow — Jay Kristoff
  • The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow — George R R Martin
  • The constant in my life was me not knowing my worth, not loving me enough, not shaping my life, being a shadow of my true self — Porsha Williams
  • The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say — Gregory Maguire
  • The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Remember that — Richelle Mead
A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow - Djuna Barnes
  • The most beautiful of human things are born in the shadows and thrive there and are endangered by light ― Prabhukrishna M
  • The shadow is needed now more than ever. We heal the world when we heal ourselves, and hope shines brightest when it illuminates the dark – Sasha Graham
  • The shadow is the greatest teacher of how to come to the light ― Ram Dass
  • The shadow that is hidden, repressed, for the most part, inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our annual ancestors – CG Jung
  • There are no shadows in darkness. Shadows are created by light, and only exist in the presence of light. Refusing to acknowledge our shadow leads us to deny the presence of light in us ― Franco Santoro
  • There is a time, when passing through a light, that you walk in your own shadow — Keri Hulme
  • To bite off your shadow is neither easy nor painless It demands a single-mindedness that is almost unknown in this day ― Neil Gaiman
  • To light a candle is to cast a shadow — Ursula K Le Guin
  • To live in the shadow of another person…to desire to be adored as that person is…is the weakest ambition of all. Find yourself. Be loved as yourself ― Faye Hall
  • Turn to the light. Don’t fear the shadow it creates ― Ted Dekker
  • Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside of you is only a reflection of the world inside of you – The Minds Journal
  • We are linked by our shadows, not by our light — Jun Mochizuki
  • What happens tomorrow is but the shadow of thoughts we held today — Joan Bennett Kennedy
  • What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? ― Mikhail Bulgakov
  • What you are you do not see. What you see is your shadow – Rabindranath Tagore
  • Where there is much light, the shadow is deep — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough – Debbie Ford
  • Your Shadow is all of the things, ‘positive’ and ‘negative,’ that you’ve denied about yourself and hidden beneath the surface of the mask you forgot that you’re wearing – Oli Anderson
  • There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night — Albert Camus
  • A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow― Djuna Barnes
  • By learning to recognize when your own archetypes are taking over, it’s easier to observe when other people are living from their shadow selves― Catherine Carrigan
  • Creativity connects me to my truest self and vulnerability. There is nothing more personally liberating, than reaching for my face and peeling off the social mask that hides my shadow self, pain, and weakness. When I produce from this place of truth, the results transform both creator and beholder― Jaeda DeWalt
  • Don’t you realize there’s no longer any difference between you and your-monster? You are the monster It’s your dark side, your shadow self, and you’ve now joined as one– Alyson Noel
  • Every pain, addiction, anguish, longing, depression, anger or fear is an orphaned part of us seeking joy, some disowned shadow wanting to return to the light and home of ourselves― Jacob Nordby
  • I embrace my shadow self. Shadows give depth and dimension to my life I believe in embracing my duality, in learning to let darkness and light, peacefully co-exist, as illumination― Jaeda DeWalt
  • I have prayed for years for one good humiliation a day, and then, I must watch my reaction to it I have no other way of spotting both my denied shadow self and my idealized persona– Richard Rohr
  • If both people in a relationship are willing to unlock their past and reveal their root fears, it is entirely possible for the partnership to find balance. Accepting the shadow side within you allows more tolerance of other people’s shadows. When you blame another person for their unresolved fears and a past which shaped their belief system, you are wasting an opportunity to see a mirror of truth― Collette O’Mahony
  • It’s part of what we call the Shadow, all the dark parts of us we can’t face It’s the thing that, if we don’t deal with it, eventually poisons our lives― Michael Gruber
  • Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine– Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Shadow-making happens in families and makes us who we are It leads to shadow-work, which makes us who we can become– Connie Zweig
  • The person you call an enemy is an exaggerated aspect of your own shadow self – Deepak Chopra
  • The rewards are profound. Shadow work enables us to alter our self-sabotaging behavior so that we can achieve a more self-directed life– Connie Zweig
  • The shadow is needed now more than ever. We heal the world when we heal ourselves, and hope shines brightest when it illuminates the dark― Sasha Graham
  • The Tao Te Ching says, The enemy is a shadow you yourself cast. The shadow wanders our unregarded hours where we hold resentments, where we are lost, when there is nothing and no one to blame, though we keep on blaming. I often wonder what is the light that hits the ego, casting out the shadow? It is gratitude. And if the ego is gone, as it is when we are truly grateful, there is no one to cast a shadow. We can replace blame with gratitude—in any circumstance. Blame builds up walls around the self and points only outward. Gratitude opens the heart, dissolves the self, and points everywhere― Terrance Keenan

Related: Gratitude Journal Prompts: Giant List Of Over 300 Gratitude Journaling Prompts

  • We all have a dark side. Most of us go through life avoiding direct confrontation with that aspect of ourselves, which I call the shadow self. There’s a reason why It carries a great deal of energy– Lorraine Toussaint
  • When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them― Allan Lokos
  • You don’t find light by avoiding the darkness― S Kelley Harrell
  • You know how fragile the shadow is! Light falls on it and the shadow disappears! Some of the shadows that we fear and believe that they will always rule our lives also suddenly disappear!― Mehmet Murat Ildan
  • Your Shadow is a dark omen, a powerful teacher that reveals to you the places in your life where you are energetically blocked When you continue to ignore these signs, you perpetuate the cycle of your suffering― Mateo Sol


I hope you enjoyed this collection of shadow self quotes and I hope that they inspire you in your shadow work. And don’t forget to check out our Shadow Work Prompts if you need more journaling inspiration!