Former Major League Baseball superstar Curt Schilling is furious. But he’s not sorry. And he’s absolutely not backing down.
This month we’ve talked about handling our shadow, described by Jungian psychology as an unconscious aspect of the personality. The shadow is often portrayed as negative, but is simply tamping down what we don’t like about ourselves effective? True transformation – the moments when we say, “I get it. I see it differently.” – happens when we courageously listen to what the shadow brings up, even if it makes us uncomfortable.
You may have missed the headlines about Curt Schilling’s Facebook post. It was a derogatory image commenting about a North Carolina law barring transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender cited on their birth certificate.
Schilling’s photo caption was, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”
That’s some statement. But then the situation got worse.
Schilling removed the post, but Outsports, a sports website that focuses on LGBT issues, published a screen grab. He immediately fired back with a long website article entitled “The hunt to be offended…”. He was adamant as he wrote, “Let’s make one thing clear right up front. If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.”
Why are we talking about Curt Schilling? Because his outburst shows the shadow side of anger.
Re-read the blog excerpt, this time with compassion. Once you look past his temper, you may see someone lashing out in embarrassment. In fact, he’s so defensive that he’s projected the problem onto everyone else: “If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.” Does that sound like a mature adult, or a nervous little kid? ESPN fired him before the week was out.
When frustration develops into full-blown anger, it’s driven by fear or pain. Statements like these come from the shadow:
- I’m sorry you’re upset;
- I’m sorry you misunderstood me;
- It doesn’t matter what was said, it’s what you heard; or
- Apologizing doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It means you value the relationship more than your ego.
Apologies that include a “but” or an “if”, or saying outright that you can’t possibly be wrong, aren’t apologies. Rapper MC Lyte put it this way: “Admitting our mistakes shows we are not ashamed to be wrong, but ready to redo what we did correctly and become unstoppable.”
This week, someone will probably trigger some aspect of your shadow – that’s just part of life. An important Soul Boss idea is that you’re the boss of you. In the future, you’ll be able to recognize your feelings and fears before you explode or panic. Then you can choose to respond and transform your shadow rather than react. You can even be unstoppable.