In Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, once you separate from your shadow you will have no lows, but you will also have no highs. You will have a new world to live in, but you will also lose your former identity. Most tragically, you lose your ability to love.
In our real lives shadows are those things about us that we don’t fully acknowledge because we suppress them to protect those we love. Shadows aren’t all bad. They might be our anger, temptation, jealousy. Or even the need to be beautiful, to be scared, or to be given hugs and presents. They’re often the things we promise to the other person we will never be, without realizing they might actually be part of who we are. Trying to make these qualities go away or promising not to ever express these qualities is impossible.
Trust in relationships is often built on the promise of not hurting the other person, or the hope that we won’t get betrayed by the ones we love. But being hurt or betrayed is unavoidable because we all have shadows that express themselves without notice. The more we try to control and restrain them, the more pain we create when it’s released.
Acknowledge your shadows when they come to light. Build trust on the deep understanding and honesty of who you are and who the other person is.