Shadow work is often misunderstood. The shadow self means that you have things that you want to hide from others and sometimes is even hidden from yourself. This is the dark parts of who you are.
When you need to do shadow work, it means that you are able to confront your shadow side and work to bring healing. Shadow work makes you look at the things inside of you such as:
• Past problems.
Doing Shadow Work
When you do shadow work regularly you will see that you can find these dark places and you can make them shine through you, making your life better. Shadow work isn’t comfortable, and it can be scary, but you don’t have to be afraid. The shadow self of you isn’t a bad thing but it does exist, and it is there.
Shadow work can be helpful if you have been through trauma such as abuse, rape, assault, violence, or other extreme things. If you want to understand what the shadow self is, keep reading.
What is a Shadow Self?
This was coined by Carl Jung who was a psychologist. This work of the shadow self is often called Jungian psychology. The shadow is the parts of you that is hidden and the dark parts of your personality. These can be things that you know about or things that you don’t realize happened to you. Some people have such a dark shadow that they keep it hidden even from themselves because they are afraid of being judged for it.
The shadow is part of your subconscious mind, and this mean that you aren’t totally aware of what happened or even where the negative emotions come from. If you find that you are always angry or jealous, chances are that there is darkness in you that you need to understand.
You can hide these things, of course, but you can’t get rid of this part of who you are. If you tried to get rid of these parts of you then you would see that they are never gone. This is who your shadow self is.
Where Does the Shadow Come From?
When someone is born into, he world, they have nothing but an empty space. As they grow up, the thoughts, opinions and judgements of others make them aware that there are things going on around them. As you grow, you will learn that there are different behaviors that are both good and bad.
When you do something that is good, people will congratulate you and praise you but when you do something bad, you will feel rejected or put down.
Most people, as children, will do whatever they can to make the people around them proud. They also might be afraid of people like their parents and so they will do what they have to feel safe. They will adjust the way that they act so that their behavior is accepted.
Everyone has been in situations that society looked at them negatively. Maybe you are a girl, and you lifted your dress up outside because you were hot and then your mom tells you, “Don’t pull your dress up, that is bad.” And you started feeling that your body is bad and should be hidden.
Or maybe you were at school, and you were having fun with your friend in the back and your teacher yelled at you in front of everyone and embraced you and then from that moment on you decided to be quiet and not speak.
These are ways that your shadow self comes along and grows. When there are things that are dark inside of you, they are still there, they are just hidden.
Ignoring Shadow Work
Ignoring your shadow self is not going to help you and eventually it will cause you not to be able to function normally. You might not be able to have good relationships or a good spiritual path. This happens because you aren’t really aware that your shadow is there.
You find that you feel certain things and you aren’t sure why or you say things that you regret later.
Issues of Ignoring Your Shadow Self
Here are some things that can happen when you ignore your shadow self:
- No self-esteem.
- No confidence.
- Having a hard time setting boundaries.
- Being a hypocrite.
- Manipulating others.
- Blaming others.
- Being greedy.
- Manipulating others.
- Phobias and fears.
- Obsessive compulsive disorders.
- Being sexist, racist, or offensive.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Sexual perversion.
- Bad relationships.
- Avoidant attachment styles.
- Codependent behaviors.
- Hating yourself.
- Being absorbed in yourself.
- Sabotaging yourself.
- Afraid of being judged.
These are negative qualities that will sometimes show up as projection. This is when you deny the things inside of yourself that you see in others. Maybe you are irritated by people that are loud and you wish they would be quiet.
This can mean that you are not confident, and you struggle with saying what you need to say. People aren’t aware when they are projecting themselves and this is part of your dark side. This is the things that you have went through in life and they are part of you.
You learn to believe that it is wrong to be insecure or to struggle in life. You think that everyone needs to see the good parts of you and that you aren’t able to move forward.
One of the biggest problems is that this can stop you from being successful. You will see that on your journey that you can change your soul and that when you do inner work, you will be able to heal from these dark issues. The shadow self wants you to be aware and wants you to understand what is going on around you and in you.
Doing Shadow Work
Once you understand what the shadow self is, you need to look at shadow work. Shadow work is often done by priestesses, witches, and medicine people but in todays society, it is done by coaches, psychologists, therapists, and others.
Shadow work means that you become aware of the dark parts in your life such as shame and trauma that you have repressed. This can be hard for you to face because it is likely painful, and you have kept it from existing in yourself all these years. When you have to face it, finally, it can be hard. But you need to do it so that you can grow.
Is the Shadow Self Evil?
The shadow self is not evil. It isn’t something that is dangerous either. This is something that is inside of you, and it is there, and it is dark but not in a way that is going to hurt you. You will be safe when you do shadow work.
Shadow work can help you to feel encouraged and to find out things that are keeping you from living your best life. There can be things in your shadow self that are there and are waiting to be seen and uncovered so that you can live a better life.
Carl Jung said that the shadow is 90% pure gold, meaning that there are different gifts and talents that are part of your shadow self that you probably have neglected because of the things hidden.
As you do your shadow work, you can live your best life and you can keep growing as a person. No one can do this work for you.
Why Do Shadow Work?
Here are some reasons that you should do shadow work:
When you look at the nothings in your life that are holding you back such as your fears or your trauma, you will no longer let them control you. You can heal and be free from the things that you are ashamed of, and you can encourage and embrace yourself. This is how you learn to love your entire being.
- Find Hidden Talents
If you struggle with things such as self-esteem and confidence, you might have gifts that are hidden inside of you. You are missing them because they are part of your shadow work. You might see that you can uncover something from your childhood that is new.
Intuition can help you to be powerful and as you let it guide you and let it see your shadow self, you will se that you can become stronger, and you can reconnect with your psychic gift.
Shadow work can help you to develop and help you to grow. You will see that it can get rid of negativity that is holding you back in life and it can help you to live your best life.
You might believe that you aren’t good at things because you did things differently than others wanted you to. This could have stifled your creativity. Every person is creative and has creative energies.
Shadow work will help you to reach your full creative potential and get rid of beliefs that are holding you back.
You will see as you begin to heal and embrace yourself wholly that you will be able to have better relationships with friends, family, strangers and even people that you don’t like. The more you look into your shadow, the less you will be bothered by the behavior of others.
- Be Confident in You
Be confident in who you are. You will see that the shadow work will help you to find the parts of yourself that you have hidden for your whole life.
- Better Health
Since repressing who you are takes so much energy, you will be tired, and you will often have illnesses. Once you face these things then you will have more energies and you will feel lighter. This might even help to get rid of illnesses and pain.
- Higher Self
You will see that you can reach your higher self. This is a source of energy that is part of the universe. When you do shadow work then you can connect with this part of yourself, and you will be able to reach your soul path.
Knowing Your Shadow Self
Here are ways that you can know your shadow self:
Projection is something that you do when you put someone down for the same things that you have. You get upset with them because they are like a mirror reflecting your own personality and thoughts.
There will be times that there will be things in your past that causes your emotions to come out. These are triggers. These are things that are part of your shadow self and need to be handled.
If you are someone that is always going in the same kind of toxic relationships, then you are probably in a pattern. This is why shadow work is very important for these kinds of situations.
Shadow Work for Newbies
There are different ways that you can do shadow work and you can be more aware of what is going on in your life. You can do this, and it might seem hard at first because you have to face all of these things, but you can do it and you can find healing.
One of the most important things is to be aware that you need to do shadow work. There are things that you will need to face that you cannot see but you know they are there.
Practice being aware of your thinking and the beliefs that you have. Avoid judging yourself and reflect on the things that you are thinking.
When You’re Triggered
When someone triggers you, ask yourself these things:
- Why is this person triggering me?
- What have they done to me?
- Why do I have a hard time being around this person.
- Do I have any of the same traits as that person?
- What memories are coming up and triggering me by this person?
Get Rid of Shame
You need to make sure that you get rid of the shame and the trauma out of your soul. This is what shadow work is all about. Write down things that make you feel bad.
When you feel negative emotions, such as being angry or jealous, ask these questions:
- What emotion do you feel?
- Why do you feel this way?
- What belief comes with this emotions?
- Does this emotions remind you of something in your past?
- Let your emotion be full and feel it in your body.
Writing is something that can make you feel better. When you are doing shadow work, you need to make sure that you are writing about it. Start your own shadow work journal. Each time you feel bad or each time you feel triggered, write about it. Write about what you are struggling with and why.
Writing things down will help you to see if there are certain patterns or behaviors that make you feel a certain way or if they are stopping you from growing.
Prompts for Journaling
Here are some journaling prompts to try out:
- What do I struggle with?
- How am I judging myself?
- What don’t I like in others?
- What don’t I love about myself?
- What do I complain about?
- What makes me jealous?
- What inspires me?
Write Yourself a Letter
Take time to write yourself a letter about the emotions that you are feeling and why. Write everything that you want to put in the letter. Remind yourself of the feeling and why you are having it.
You can send yourself the letter or you can burn it. Whichever you choose, get rid of the pain when you get rid of the letter.
Inner Child Work
One thing with shadow work is that it can help with inner child work. This is when you find that there are emotions that you feel that are negative because of your childhood. You need to accept your younger self and tell yourself that the things that happened to you that hurt you weren’t your fault.
Take time to create something. This is a way that you can express yourself. Be creative and choose to be any way that you want to.
Meditate and be calm. Sit and meditate for as little as 10 minutes. Release the fear and shame and visualize the hurt and pain leaving you.
Connect with Your Shadow
You can imagine the pain that you are feeling and connect with it. Imagine the things that you would want to ask your shadow self and ask them. Let your shadow self-give you messages or symbols to tell you what is going on inside of you.
Start Something New
Take time to start something new. This will get rid of your negative feelings like anger, self-doubt, and jealousy. You can do this and find things that you are good at. Plant a garden, write a book, take a class, or volunteer your time.
Be aware of how you are feeling and why.
Dreams are important in your life, and they can tell you about who you are. Dreams can tell you things that you didn’t know about yourself and help you to face challenges. Once you dream, write it down in your journal.
Record whatever happened in the dream and be detailed. Write down what you are feeling and what it made you feel in the dream. Your shadow might be talking to you.
One thing that you can do is to analyze things such as books, movies, and other things that you like. Make a list of your favorites and then see the patterns that are similar to your life. Why do you feel that they are there?
When You Do Shadow Work
When you do shadow work focus on these things:
Love yourself first and foremost. This is important because shadow work can be hard. Facing darkness can make things harder if you don’t have that love.
- Be Truthful
Be truthful with yourself. You need to see things that are uncomfortable or painful when you do shadow work, but you have to face this and be truthful with yourself.
- You Aren’t What You Think
Remember, you aren’t the thoughts that you think. Your mind is always working and moving, and it can be good to let your thoughts go.
- Have Compassion
Have compassion for yourself and you will see that you can make it through things that are uncomfortable in your life. You have to love yourself like you love others.
- Don’t Judge
Look at what you are feeling and express yourself without blaming or shaming yourself. This is there because you didn’t accept yourself in the first place so don’t judge yourself.
- Embrace Yourself
No matter what you are going through or what is inside of you, embrace yourself. Be confident in who you are, and you will see that you can reach your dreams.
- Get Help
Shadow work can help you to not be afraid of the things that you went through in your past. Talk to a therapist and let them help you so that you can make it through trauma and pain.
- Record Things
Keep a record of the things that happen when you do your shadow work. You will be growing and connecting so you need to pay attention to these things.
- Have Peace with Yourself
If you are wanting to have peace inside of yourself and to have change, you have to face your shadow self. Doing this can help you be aware of what you are going through. Everyone has a shadow self and has been through darkness and struggles.
Confront your shadow self and let yourself heal. You have the power to be better and to move forward on your journey with peace and hope.