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Balancing the Opposites: A Book Study of Map of the Soul - Shadow: Our Hidden Self Part 2

ARMY! We hope this blog finds all of you safe, healthy, and as happy as you can be in this uncertain time. Remember, we are here for you. Reach out to us via our social media or our webpage; we would love to talk all things BTS with you. Please don’t forget to take some time to love yourself while you are caring for those around you.


In part one of this series, we explored Dr. Murray Stein’s thoughts on Interlude: Shadow and reviewed exactly what our shadow is. This time, we will be learning how we can accept and integrate our shadow, and how Dr. Stein sees BTS and the celebrity status they carry.


Keep in Mind


One of our favorite parts in both books is a section that Stein calls “A Few Precepts to Keep in Mind…”. These are short narratives written specifically for teens and young adults as they attempt to begin the path to individuation. While not made up of novel concepts, Stein’s advice is worthy of some discussion. Here are his suggestions:

  • Don’t let the world define you. Blaze your own path through!

  • Listen to your nighttime dreams. Keep a dream journal.

  • Listen to your daytime dreams. Keep a daytime journal.

  • Stay aware of your dark side (your shadow). Own it when it flares up and utilize its strength.

  • Stay connected to your body.

  • Stay creative no matter what, and express this creativity.

  • Know something about your personality make up, its strengths and challenges.

  • Remember the arc of life and that young adulthood, midlife and elder years have very different callings.

  • Remain true to yourself.

Not only are these tips important, but it is also vital to stop and think about each one. Which one speaks to you the most? Why? Reflecting on each of these ideas will help on your journey to self-discovery.


Accepting Shadow


As we have learned through our past analyses with Dr. Stein, encountering and accepting shadow is critical to the process of individuation. How do we do that? One way is therapy. While describing a conflict with a friend, spouse or colleague, a person might start seeing themselves from the other’s point of view. Described by Harold Bloom as overhearing yourself, this technique is often accompanied by thoughts such as, “Maybe I did have a hidden agenda. Maybe I was more aggressive than I needed to be.”


Another option is to think about projection. “We know that what is unconscious to a person is projected onto external objects or people,” Stein says. This means that we can throw qualities of ourselves onto someone else without realizing it. But do not confuse that with perception, Stein warns. “What are you perceiving in another person that is really a part of them, and what are you adding to that… [what are you] layering over it that rightfully belongs to you but that you’ve disowned or disavowed?”


Likewise, we can sometimes catch a glimpse of our shadow by examining people we do not like and asking ourselves why. Stein’s example is that of a successful person who has a strong dislike for those who seem to be passive, lazy, and always looking for a handout. “Why aren’t they more like me?” one might wonder. To see a glimpse of shadow, you might ask, “Where am I like them? When do I sometimes think like that? Do I envy them in a way?” This puts us in touch with the shadow “because [it] is something that is very different from you. It is your unveiled life.”


BTS and Celebrity


While history is full of people who have been able to magnetize and mobilize groups for ill intentions, it can be said that BTS has been able to do the opposite. They have brought people together for good, even noble, purposes. Dr. Stein’s colleague Leonard Cruz asked him about this in chapter one of the book.


“I can tell you that what impressed me about BTS was a talk that RM gave before the United Nations,” Stein began. “[RM’s speech about remembering his roots] reassured me that the leader of this group has maintained a sense of himself, apart from his huge celebrity persona…” Stein likes that the members of BTS have not been affected by the pressures and seductions of fame the way so many others have. He hopes that by staying close to themselves, the boys will not fall victim to political or financial motives. In fact, he has a wish for them: “I hope that BTS will manage to continue to be aligned in a direction of wholesome awareness, consciousness, development, and balance.”


Of course, Stein and his team also love that BTS is exposing ARMY to psychology that will nurture them as they strive to be balanced people. That message is what BTS is putting forward in their music, along with psychological maturity and development. Stein hopes that BTS’ message about shadow will help ARMY “begin looking behind their backs, reflecting on themselves a little bit, asking their neighbors to give them an objective view of themselves.” This will lead to the goal of individuation.


More to Shadow


There is so much more to shadow, which is discussed in detail in Stein’s Map of the Soul - Shadow: Our Hidden Self. We definitely recommend picking up a copy for yourself to learn more about shadow and how it affects each of us, and the world at large. By learning more about shadow, you learn more about yourself.


Goethe said, “Let everyone sweep before his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Stein tells us that owning our shadow and recognizing our persona as nothing more than a mask is the equivalent of sweeping in front of your psychological door. So what are you waiting for ARMY? Grab those brooms and get to sweeping! We would love to see pictures of you doing so. Purple you!


Written by: Marcie

Edited by: Ren

Designed by: Kaitlyn



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