Rashmi writes about self, mental health and love. When she is not overthinking, you can find her discussing philosophy with her pup Sonu.
Carl Gustav Jung was a prominent psychologist, psychoanalyst and regarded as the father of analytical psychology. He was hailed as Freud’s successor but disagreements with Freudian ideas made him branch out.
Carl’s thought world includes the archetypes, individualisation, extroverted and introverted personality. He also brought forward the idea of collective unconscious which means the part of our mind we share with other people in this planet.
I regret that despite being a quotes junkie for years, I did not know Carl Jung until recently.
As someone battling depression and anxiety for years, Carl Jung’s idea of walking towards our fears and triggers instead of shying away from them helped me to see them in a new light.
What was life-changing for me is his idea on embracing the darkness within us. We will always have undesirable and scary traits within us and best way to become a whole person is to be aware and accept it. He says in the “Modern Man in Search of a Soul :
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.”
Here are my 6 favourite Carl Jung quotes that could change your day and my interpretation of them:
#1 People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.
When I was going through depression, I immersed myself in eating junk food, alcohol and dancing it out with friends.
I felt peaceful at the moments alcohol muted the horrific suicidal thoughts running through my mind. I used food to calm me. It was my outlet to all emotions I couldn't express because I was in a responsible role in life and cannot afford to lose it.
I was breaking into shreds but I would rather die than admit them.
But all this facade came tumbling down in a year in form of outbursts of tears, foggy mind, helplessness. I had no choice but to meet a psychiatrist, start medication and take therapy.
I was also recommended creativity to reconnect with myself and I held on to it as my life line.
Today I am in a much better place mentally spiritually and physically. But it all started with facing reality and taking the right steps.
#2 “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
We blame fate for a lot of things.
While it's true that most of the events in our life are outside our control, it's also true that our unmet emotional needs, our fixed mindsets control our major decisions. There are the pains we inflict on us because we have unhealed inner wounds.
We channelize this (unknowingly) on the people around us.
Are we running away from uncomfortable conversations all the time?
Before calling ourselves a people pleaser, let's live through fear and see where it is coming from.
Did the last unpleasant conversation with our dear one, damaged the relationship forever?
Are we scared of losing anymore people by talking bitter truths?
Self- awareness and acknowledging our darkness are keys in living our lives consciously. Before we give-in to anger, guilt or before giving up on your dreams, question yourself if it's a familiar territory before.
A newer approach might be needed to handle this situation.
It starts with self-awareness and a lots of practice.
#3 “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”
This quote reminds me of another favorite from Robin Williams's movie “World’s Greatest Dad”. He plays the character of high school teacher Lance, dealing with his son’s death by writing phony journal (making others believe that was written by his dead son) and getting all the dignity, adoration he never had before. In the end he says:
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.
We are a reflection of the environment we are in. If we don't get the chance to speak up, have honest conversations without feeling guilty and surrounded with people who pull us down then we would be lonely despite being in a crowd. It's essential in such cases to move to supportive groups and positive environments. We would then see all our optimism and happiness returning to us.
#4 “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
We read self-help books, devour all the life advice out there, we copy the morning routines of billionaires with the aim to make our lives better.
What's wrong in self-improvement you may ask?
There isn't anything wrong, but not customizing it to our individual needs is.
We can't become Elon Musk by following his morning routine because we will never know the real person he is.
We are unique in our life journeys, in our reactions to the situations, in the genes we have inherited so be aware that what works for you need not work for all and vice versa.
If we know this, then we would know when to quit, stop comparing ourselves to people (who are doing the same with us). Let's set our own rules and be ready to question them!
#5 “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”
There is so much stress around us, ironically to be happy. Just not happy but to show the world we are happy. So, the moment things don't happen the way we want, we take a deep dive into self-pity.
We curse the system, ourselves, the cause etc. and waste our life energies. There is no light without darkness. And there is no assurance of a happy life. We add beauty to our lives by taking what life throws at us without complaints. Happiness takes a spiritual meaning when we had endured a hell before it.
#6 “We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.”
The self we deny, the lessons we never learn, keep coming back to us.
And what we see in people we meet is the reflection of ourselves. Jung has also said that
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” We see people through our lenses.
And what triggers us about them could be the next thing we need to work on ourselves.
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung
Carl Jung’s works are relevant than ever today.
As technology takes over our lives overwhelming us with data, it's important we stay grounded by practicing self-awareness and look for clarity in the noise. We have all the answers we need, we must muster the courage to see it.