Doing shadow work is a special kind of self-reflection, and it is a practice that can help you with healing and becoming a more authentic you. Also, allow you to discover more about who you are as a human being.
You delve into things that do not match your self-image in shadow work. For example, if one has the self-image of being a brave person, then shadow work will bring up experiences of fear.
The objective is not to judge or repress these “shadow parts” but rather to accept them as parts of oneself and view them with compassion.
It allows you to go beyond the limitations imposed by your ego so that you can have a more prosperous and fuller life – both within yourself and in your relationships with others.
Shadow work helps you integrate shadow parts, which can help to bring about a better version of yourself.
It is only when the shadow parts are integrated into one’s personality that real change occurs.
Before starting shadow work, it’s essential to define what shadow means for you because shadow work has different meanings for different people.
The shadow side of things typically represents the following:
– the dark and light sides of your personality;
– all those qualities about ourselves that we dislike or even hate;
– repressed or neglected feelings; negative or antisocial behaviour patterns like aggression, manipulation, greediness, etc.;
According to society’s norms, thoughts and desires (sexual fantasies) appear unacceptable.
The shadow may be defined as all those elements of the individual’s makeup that have been denied expression in his life because of their incompatibility with his conscious attitude.
Our shadow is a hiding place for everything the ego has rejected and repressed.
Also, the shadow is a negative version of the ego.
Examples of this are: Where we see a strong, capable person with a sense of purpose and direction, our shadow sees someone vulnerable and insecure who’s hiding from their fears;
Where we see a kind and helpful person who makes the world a better place, the shadow sees someone out for themselves at everyone else’s expense;
Where we see an honest man or woman determined to make the truth known, no matter what it costs, the shadow sees someone driven by self-interest, which will tell lies if it suits them.
As long as our shadows are repressed, they remain dangerous – hidden away from sight but still influencing us in unforeseen ways.
Why do Shadow Work?
It’s crucial to do shadow work because the things we don’t like about ourselves can become heavyweights holding us back in life – and not just in terms of career and relationships but in every aspect.
Shadow Work can help us understand ourselves better, re-evaluate our habits, change old thought patterns and become more effective at communicating with others.
It is also known as “Shadow Boxing” because, like shadow-boxing, it doesn’t hit anything but your shadow!
Shadow work is also magical, and it helps you see yourself for what you indeed are, which is very empowering!
This work can be challenging and awkward because you have to go deep within, and that’s where everything is buried, your bad experiences, your hurts and painful memories, things that you never knew were there and are new to you, etc. And the need to be very honest with yourself.
Prepare yourself for it to be emotional, draining and time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of shadows. But, be aware it can’t be a 24/7 or 7 day a week process. Shadow work takes time; go in slowly with breaks, but it’s necessary to do it regularly. And not for long periods either, whatever is comfortable for you, otherwise you will be exhausted before you get down deep inside your inner self.
It also can be excellent and fun, really, like exploring sexuality, spirituality, your morality. It can be pretty exciting once you start to take an interest!
What you need to know about Shadow Work?
There are different ways to do shadow work, including exploring your emotions and shadow memories.
If you want to do shadow work, it is important that you feel comfortable and safe during this process.
You can either work with a therapist or go solo (self-shadowing).
The only rule with shadow work is not to judge your shadow self.
It’s important to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you explore your shadow side. Be gentle and kind as you look deeper into your dark side.
It may be scary at times, but recognising the shadow self will help bring wholeness between the ego and spirit, soul; higher self; divine source. This work will lead to greater peace within one’s life and create stronger boundaries with others.
It is important to note that shadow work can be a highly emotional experience. It depends on what is best for you and your comfort level if you want to go solo or visit a therapist.
Let your intuition guide you as you explore your shadow side.
Listening to your thoughts and your body regarding your feelings, as the body is telling you ‘this is upsetting”, “this hurts me”, or “this is making me anxious.”
Consciously acknowledge this observe your behaviour when such thoughts and feelings happen.
Process these further dissect them until you work out the underlying belief or reason for why it occurs.
Remember, don’t judge yourself, as this will only slow down the process.
Many of us have been conditioned from birth to see shadow work as negative or bad, but nothing could be further from the truth!
In fact, shadow work allows you to find your inner strength and power, which leads back to wholeness within yourself and through working shadows, you allow yourselves to come into balance with all our different shadow parts.
When you do shadow work, it simply means that you are taking responsibility for any shadow aspects of yourself so that you can own them instead of projecting them onto others.
If you have ever heard of “Owning It”, this is what shadow work makes possible… Owning your shadows, so they don’t own you!
Please note: Feeling safe, supported & comfortable are very important when doing shadow work.
Letting go can be an emotional experience, so being gentle & kind with yourself is vital during the shadow work process.
Meditation is good for shadow work as this work can affect a person’s mood and meditation helps people focus on themselves. Shadow work is a form of therapy where people investigate traits that they do not like or characteristics they have difficulty accepting.
In shadow work, you learn how to handle negative thoughts not to affect your mental health.
Shadow Work involves looking at your unconscious habits, patterns, emotional reactions and hidden part of yourself.
This is done through direct observation and bringing those parts into view to evaluate them.
There is so much free Shadow work information on YouTube and the internet.
I intend to do a comprehension workbook to help you work on your shadow, but I have a simple question worksheet to get you started for your convenience.
The reasons for doing such a thing are that often we intuitively process our information.
We believe ourselves to be objective when we aren’t;
We jump to conclusions or make assumptions without knowing it;
We behave without consciously thinking about our motivations, and lots more!
Make sure you take some time to work on your shadow; Journaling is a popular method, especially after you have meditated gone within to ask yourself and the Universe for help and the answers.
Then, start writing what comes to you. Even if at first it doesn’t make sense, write everything down.
When emotions or discoveries are experienced, take time out to write them in your journal. Any time later, you can review these and explore each one of them further in-depth.
Discover the ways your shadows are being projected in your daily life and allow the positive aspect of the shadow to express themselves. You may even realise that you can use some of these positive aspects of your shadow in your personal development.
Any shadow work starts with your awareness acknowledgement, allowing it to come up to the surface to see the light as you need to shed light on every piece of darkness to achieve balance. It is being okay with it and letting it go or releasing it.
The Universe tends to bring similar situations to you to check that you pass the test.
Sometimes it will take several tests to prove it, but there can come a time we fall back into our old ways or habits, so we always have to be conscious of our actions.