Part of my task as a spiritual director these days is coming to terms with parts of myself that get in the way of inner growth. The part I find most disturbing is my Inner Donald Trump.
As I work with my own spiritual director around archetypes (a pattern, model or type at play within our personality), I am aware of a part of myself that gets so angry at our President because it seems he can do whatever he wants and get away with it!
This archetype is white hot at the audacity of a person to think they can get their way all the time, regardless of who they hurt. And then I wonder, why do I give Trump so much power — so much “space in my head,” so to speak?
Where it shows up
Of course, this archetype screams the loudest when I read or watch the news. Because my better angels do long for more compassionate leadership. But it also shows up:
- When my printer refuses to operate and I need that document right now.
- When my favorite doctor is no longer part of my insurance plan.
- When the cat barfs up dinner just as I’m headed out the door.
This Inner Donald Trump stamps its metaphorical feet and cries out like a whiny toddler, “I want what I want and I want it now!”
“I hereby demand–that my Wifi work when I need it to work, which is all the time!”
Using the Shadow for Spiritual Guidance
So, what’s the spiritual practice for taming the Inner Donald Trump? Acceptance and humility.
It’s never fun to be confronted with our shadow — aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress. But bringing the shadow into the light and working with it allows it to be a spiritual teacher.
William A. Miller, in his book Make Friends with Your Shadow, says, “You must embrace your shadow, but you cannot lie with it. To do that is to become its slave. And you cannot serve two masters.” (Pp 53)Embracing my Inner Donald Trump means admitting that I’m not that different (inwardly) than the President. I also like getting my way. This admission is really a confession. I’m selfish, too. And I don’t like that about myself.
As I hold this truth, I can be humble and vulnerable. It’s OK to be disappointed, thwarted, corrected. I can accept that I don’t always know what is best, so I don’t need to always get my way.
It’s healthy to admit when I’m being a whiny toddler and correct my course.
As a spiritual practice, engaging with your shadow can be done in prayer, meditation, journaling, dialoguing with the part, or sharing this side of yourself with your spiritual director.
Reflecting on Your Shadow
Your shadow may not look like the President. It could be a family member, a friend who betrayed you or a coworker you avoid.
How does your shadow appear in your life?
What or who does it look like? Think about who annoys you the most, and notice what qualities you share with that person.
Develop a healthy relationship with your shadow. Let your shadow have a voice, but not control.
Are you interested in being in spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees — regardless of where you live. I can work by phone or Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teresablythe.net. Also visit my website for the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction.