Academy for Wayward Authors: Facing the Shadow Bully Within and Finding Inner Harmony

Your shadow self

At every academy, there is a bully, a person who uses their strength to intimidate and manipulate others. It is an age-old trope that the bully is a product of a troubled past, with their outward behavior being a mask to hide their insecurities and vulnerabilities. This is often an attempt to find a sense of control and power in a world that has dealt them a difficult hand.

The bully’s behavior can cause significant harm to the individual they target and the wider community. While it is essential to address the root causes of the bully’s behavior, it is also important to take steps to protect those they target and ensure that the bully is held accountable for their actions.

In his book Psychology and Religion, Carl Jung wrote that all people have a dark side to their personality, which he referred to as the “shadow.” This dark side of the personality is often made up of traits that a person finds unacceptable or repulsive in themselves, such as fear, anger, envy, and sadness.

Jung believed acknowledging and accepting these shadows could make an individual more whole and integrated. He also suggested that this process of self-acceptance could help a person to better understand and relate to others. Furthermore, exploring one’s shadow could lead to a greater spiritual connection and a more meaningful understanding of the world. In essence, Jung saw the shadow as an important part of the human experience that could lead to personal growth and greater understanding.

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In most academy stories, the bully is a foil to the hero. But in this story, the bully isn’t a physical person; it is your shadow self, and its henchman is your default mode network.

The bully is the part of you that is negative, selfish, and resistant to change; it can sabotage your success if you let it. The henchmen are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you default to to avoid growth and discomfort. You must face these fears and challenge them head-on to succeed in this story. It’s not easy, but it is possible. With courage and perseverance, you can face your shadow self and its henchmen and come out victorious.

Have you ever heard of the incredible Project Possible? It was the ambitious goal of the Nepalese mountaineer, Nimsdai Purja, to summit the world’s highest fourteen peaks in under seven months. An incredible feat that had never been accomplished. Despite the challenges of high altitudes and extreme weather conditions, Nimsdai was determined to complete his mission within the set timeline, and he succeeded in achieving his goal on October 29th, 2019. His outstanding accomplishment is a source of inspiration to climbers and adventurers everywhere.

Mountaineering isn’t just about summiting the mountain but challenging oneself to become more through adversity. In order to summit a mountain, many climbers have found that they must push their boundaries and grow in skills to make it to the top. Only by overcoming challenges can climbers explore their strength, courage, and tenacity.

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Now you know who the protagonist and antagonist are in the story at the Academy of Wayward Authors. If you are to leave the academy as the hero capable of astounding publishing feats, you must face and defeat your bully.

Better still is to win the bully over to your side and integrate all their power with yours to achieve more.

As we go through future lessons, you’ll find that your bully is in every one of your classes, looking to humiliate and stuff up your learning.

Persevere and know that this is happening for you, not to you. You chose to find your future self by pushing yourself beyond comfort to get to a place of joy.

Next week, we’ll get into the business lessons. We’ve spent a lot of time with your personal conditioning because of this one question:

Now that you’ve had time to confront your default mode network and challenge how you think, has what you want from publishing changed?

If it has, that’s great—it means you’ve grown, and now we can begin the process of building a business that serves that master.

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