The biblical example of the splinter we see in the other’s eye without detecting the beam we carry in our own is the basic lesson of projection. We hate in others and with great intensity that which we do not like about ourselves, but this fits into a “blind spot”, we cannot see it. However, it is easier to notice it in others, that is to say, we can tell when an impatient complains about another impatient, when a fanatic complains about the fanaticism of another fanatic. The first trick is to detect if we apply to splinter and beam.
The denial and/or repression of the aspects that we consider negative has to do with the intensity with which the environment judges this aspect as “bad” or negative. In a society where homosexuality is condemned with the death penalty, refusing or repressing a tendency in this direction will have a different intensity than it would in another where it is accepted. Naturally, we tend to make our own the scale of values on which we have grown, even unconsciously. Here we must learn not to judge, to look from the outside without condemning or criminalizing ourselves.
In the shadows there are not only those aspects that could be considered clearly negative, but also those that, due to specific stereotypes, lead to a behaviour that is dissociated from the natural one. “Men don’t cry” is a typical sentence in certain cultures that states that men cannot go around showing their emotions and feelings as if nothing were wrong, including here showing affection for their children by kissing or hugging them, for example. Thus, even these impulses or pulses, which may well be beneficial, end up falling into denial and/or repression. And again, without judging, starts to observe.
Once we train our capacity for self-observation, we can begin to lose our fear of what we do and to establish a sort of dialogue with it later. Later on, we will realize that there are some social behaviours that are completely unnatural and yet which govern the lives of millions of people without apparently generating any neuroses. Catholic celibacy and the commodification of women in sexist cultures, for example, generate the repression of an entity that at some point has to explode, as in cases of paedophilia and violence against women.
Working with a shade of a gymnastic routine at first can be more than overwhelming, but also, like any challenge, stimulating. It is a fundamental step to understand and feel that the individual immediately connects with the familiar and the collective, especially because it is not possible to take a step backwards in self-knowledge. One cannot forget that one has faced this or that “weakness”, examining it, and integrating it as part of oneself, that is not erased. And one, thus, more integrated, is that it transforms their family environment as a collective. It is as simple as it is terrible.