ACA Blog

Jun 25, 2010

Loving the Unlovely

I love when different aspects of your life come together in such a way that you can't ignore the lesson that life wants to teach you. I shared with y'all in a previous post that I am a counselor in counseling. My therapist is Jungian-oriented, and several weeks ago, she introduced me to the concept of one's shadow side – the side of ourselves that we tend to not acknowledge because we see it as unlovely. During that session, it came up that I love the literary character, Scarlett O'Hara. She is strong. She is stubborn. She is selfish. She is self-destructive. But, I love her anyway. Perhaps, Courtnay, that Scarlett represents your shadow side? Several weeks later, my art therapy professor asked our class to draw our shadow side. It was time for me to face my shadow side head on by breathing life into her through art. The entire class shared their shadow sides, and it humbled me as everyone used art as a venue for verbalizing aspects of themselves that normally are not verbalized. This verbalization has always been a difficult task for me. As a dancer for so many years, I never learned how to verbally express "negative" emotions – anger, selfishness, fear, imperfection, etc. I always danced those emotions out of my body and mind in my ballet classes. However, through the help of my therapist and my art therapy summer school class, I am learning that these "negative" parts of myself are not so negative or unlovely. In fact, my shadow side becomes lovely after I learn to love her and embrace her instead of hiding her from others and from myself. After all, my shadow side contributes to who I am just as equally as the "positive" aspects do. Below is the visual representation of my shadow side that I completed in class. What does your shadow side look like? Shadow Side
Courtnay Veazey is a graduate student at Mississippi State University pursuing a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling and working as a graduate assistant at MSU’s Career Center

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