There are things in everyone’s life that they aren’t proud of and that they don’t want others to see. We try to hide these things from other people, and we keep them to ourselves as much as possible. These are the shadow parts of your life.
It isn’t easy for everyone to be able to embrace their shadow self. Some people will hide these things form others and will never face these darker traits. Even though the shadow is still there, it gets hidden and blocked.
Hiding your shadow though can cause you to have triggers that you haven’t dealt with. This can cause you to have emotional reactions that aren’t what you want others to see. If you learn to face your shadow though, you can deal with it when it comes up in a healthy way.
Shadow work is part of the world because it allows you to accept who you are, all parts. Shadow work can really help you.
Understanding the Shadow
Your shadow is the parts of you that you don’t want others to see. Here are the eight archetypes of Carl Jung and the shadow self:
- Self: The part of your psyche and your personality.
- Shadow: This is the dark parts of your psyche.
- Anima: The feminine side of a woman.
- Animus: When you reflect of your self-knowledge.
- Persona: Hiding your inner self and what you show the world.
- Hero: When you overcome evil.
- Wise old man: The wisdom of your soul.
- Trickster: The child part of your psyche.
These shadows were defined by Carl Jung, and they are the emotional part of who you are. These things come out because of the way that people viewed you in the past such as a child or about how you look at yourself.
Whatever your shadow exists of is what you reject in yourself. This is the negative parts that you have rejected from your childhood situations.
Why Does Your Shadow Affect You?
The shadow can affect you in a negative way. It is the part of you that you hide but you really want to understand it more. This is the part of you that you have hidden and ignored for so long. You don’t feel that you can handle this part of yourself, and this can affect your life.
Hiding the Shadow
Here is what happens when you hide or ignore your shadow:
- You have low self-esteem.
- You deceive yourself and others.
- You have high anxiety.
- Healthy relationships are hard to find.
- You sabotage yourself.
- Being overly absorbed in yourself.
- A strong ego.
Rejecting your shadow can cause you to put your problems on other people. Even though these things are hard to face, you judge others for the same problems that you have.
Understanding Shadow Work
Shadow work is when you find out the parts of yourself that you have been hiding. Anyone can do this and if you feel that you need help, seek a therapist or a counselor to help you.
Why Do Shadow Work?
Your shadow is who you are. This is parts of you that are there, and you have to learn to accept these parts of yourself. These things can be spiritual and physical, and they are different for each person.
There are different things that people will avoid about themselves and when you aren’t facing these things, you are going to have negative consequences. You need to learn to know these parts of yourself and explore them.
Shadow work is usually related around some kind of trauma and when you have trauma, you are often ashamed of who you are. Once you accept your shadow, you will see that this can give you more power and help you to be who you really are.
Importance of Shadow Work
Everyone can benefit from doing shadow work and here are some benefits of it:
Becoming More Confident
You will be more confident, and this will help you to doubt yourself less. If there are things that you hate about yourself, you can face them, and you will be able to have more self-esteem and to be more confident.
The shadow self is important and even if you have weaknesses, you need to understand them so you can take care of them.
The shadow is something that people hide but it can also help you. You can be more creative as you accept your shadow.
Have Better Relationships
As you learn to accept yourself, you will be able to have better relationships with others. You will no longer dislike yourself and this will make you closer to others.
You will learn to love yourself and to accept yourself. You will be able to be more aware of what you are feeling. You will have compassion for yourself.
Talents and Traits
You will discover your talents and your traits. Even though you might think that your shadow is dark, there are parts of it that can help you to figure out who you are.
Health and Wellness
As you get through your shadow self, you will see that you can start on a journey of health and wellness. You will be able to have less stress and more peace.
More Compassion and Love
You will be able to have more compassion and love for others. The way that other people act will not bother you so much and you will feel more love towards them.
Shadow work will help you to have more clear thinking. You will understand your feelings and your thoughts more and you will be your true self.
Should You Do Shadow Work?
Everyone has their own shadow, but some people can handle it on their own. If you feel that you are lacking self-esteem and you have no compassion for yourself, doing shadow work can help you. If you aren’t sure if it is right for you or not, you can talk to someone and find out.
Doing Your Own Shadow Work
When you want to do shadow work, you can do it even on your own or get a therapist:
Do It Yourself or Get Help?
You can decide if you want to find a trained professional to help you with your shadow work or you can choose to do it on your own.
Find Your Shadow Self
You need to start by figuring out what your shadow self is all about. You need to see if you have patterns or if you have triggers. This can help you to know if you have past trauma and what shadow has been hidden.
Notice what you are feeling and what makes you uncomfortable to face. You can interact with others and see how this feels. Pay attention to things that make you feel ashamed or that makes you feel worried.
Think about your childhood and think about what emotions you had. Did you get punished for crying or for having feelings? Were you treated like you weren’t good enough?
Don’t Shame Yourself
You have to make sure that you aren’t shaming yourself for the shadow parts. You must accept yourself and you must have compassion. Say these things to yourself over and over again:
- I believe in myself.
- I am happy to know my shadow self.
- I am worthy of having love.
- I am enough.
- I deserve to have joy.
- I have a lot to offer other people.
When a trigger comes up and causes you to feel bad, take a moment to meditate on it. Don’t judge yourself and don’t’ be angry, just allow your emotions to come.
Whatever you are feeling, write it down. If you find that you have a shadow that you didn’t know about, write it down. Don’t overthink what comes to your mind, just write it down and then look at it later.
Be Creative with Your Shadow
Your shadow is powerful, and it wants to show you who it is. Allow this to happen by being creative. You can write a song about it, paint a picture, or even draw something. Do whatever you feel like doing and let it come out on its own.
Talk to Yourself
Talk to yourself about what you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself and your shadow questions. Even if this feels strange, do it anyways.
Questions to Ask About Your Shadow
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself about your shadow to begin your inner work:
- How do people see me?
- How do others describe me?
- What do I feel when people talk about me?
- What is the worst trait someone can have?
- Do you have a bad trait?
- What makes you judge others?
- Do you feel jealousy? Why?
- What memories make you feel bad?
- Has someone hurt you? What did they do? What would you say to them?
- What scares you?
- What emotions make you feel bad about yourself?
- When did you last sabotage yourself?
- Do you have good friends? What makes them good friends?
- What do you wish that people knew about you?
- What lies have you told yourself?
- What is the worst childhood memory that you have?
- What did you like most about your parents?
- What did you like least about your parents?
- Do you have a grudge against someone? Why?
- Who has let you down in your life?
- What makes you feel valuable?
- What traits do others have that you wish you had?
- What are your core values?
- What were your parents core values?
- What moments have you been hard on yourself?
- Why do you feel like a failure?
- What do you do when you get bored?
- What negative emotions do you avoid?
How to Begin Shadow Work
Here are some ways that you can start your shadow work:
- Keep an open heart and mind.
- Be compassionate with yourself.
- Be patient.
- Focus only on your shadow.
- Think about how far you have come.
You can live your best life, but you have to figure out about your shadow. This is important so that you can learn to live your true life. This can help you to have overall health and wellbeing and to keep your mental health strong. You can also learn from this and learn to accept people for who they are.
Shadow work is important so that you can be more aware of who you are and what you need in your life. This can help you to grow and help you to live your best life. Even though everyone has some stress and shame, you need to face this. Don’t let the negative feelings control you. Negativity will cause you to think less of yourself than you deserve.
If you don’t know how to get started doing shadow work, you can talk to someone that can help you. Seek out a professional and see that you can get the clarity that you need in your life. You don’t have to go on this path alone.