What Is Shadow Work & Why Is It Essential To Our Growth
Shadow work is a difficult process - mentally and physically. As humans, we have a tendency to avoid our problems rather than facing them head on. Almost as if we’re scared to face our fears. Scared to understand our dreams. Scared to really get to know ourselves on a deeper level. And that’s exactly what Shadow work entails.
To work with our Shadow self is the answer to all of our problems, because our Shadow self holds the key to unlocking everything, from our insecurities, to our fears, to our dreams, to our potential. To access all of these things is to understand ourselves truly and to finally reaching the success that we seek.
To go through the process of shadow work is to go through the process of reclaiming your power. Because your power is hidden in your shadow, ready for you to take responsibility and let it out.
What Is Your Shadow Self?
Your shadow self is essentially your unconscious. It’s the part of you that is hidden in the shadows of your own mind. It holds every single experience that you’ve had throughout your whole life. Even those that you have completely forgot about or blocked out.
Every conversation you’ve ever had. Every good and bad situation that you’ve faced. Every heartbreak. Every celebration. Every embarrassing moment. Every happy moment. Everything is held in your unconscious.
Have you ever had a flashback from years and years ago, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember the full memory? That’s because the whole experience is locked away in your shadow self.
Have you ever experienced deja vu, but for the life of you can’t recall when or how you experienced that feeling before? It’s probably because you’ve blocked it out. Long forgotten and sent away to your unconscious.
We all have so many questions about ourselves and our experiences that we can’t answer. Why we have certain insecurities. Why we have certain fears. Why we have certain dreams. It feels as if we may never get the answer to these questions. But, the answers have been inside of us all along - in our shadow self.
Our shadow self is there to protect us from harmful memories and experiences, but it can also hold us back from reaching our full potential and being the person that we want to be.
And that’s where shadow work comes in.
What Is Shadow Work?
Shadow work is the process of going inward. To delve deep down into the root of your problems and find solutions through your own experiences. It’s the process of getting to know every corner of yourself, however hard that may be.
Shadow work allows us to light up the darkest parts of ourselves and shine. To stop cowering or pretending, and start doing. It’s a healing process and is essential in not only our personal growth, but also, our self-love.
Shadow work will bring harmony into our everyday lives. It will allow us to see things for what they truly are, rather than what we think they are. It will allow us to stop overthinking. To stop stressing over things we can’t help. To stop sabotaging our own happiness because of some hidden force within ourselves that we can’t explain.
How To Do Shadow Work
1. Center Yourself
In order to delve deep into your unconscious and really connect with your shadow self you must be fully focused and centred. You can achieve this through meditation and simple breathing techniques. Find a quiet space void of distractions and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and focus entirely on your breathing. Let everything else drift away into the background.
2. Check In With Your Emotions
The next step is to check in with how your feeling. Observe your emotions. Ask yourself, ‘How am I feeling right now?’ Are you happy? Sad? Anxious? Excited? Whatever comes through, follow up by asking yourself, ‘Why do I feel this way?’ The important part of this step is to be patient, answers won’t come through to you instantly. Don’t force anything, just let them come on their own.
3. Seeing Yourself
Now that you have a better idea of how you’re feeling, now it’s time to start getting personal. Remember that everything that comes up during your shadow work session should be approached from a neutral and non-judgemental view. It’s the only way you can heal. Ask yourself, ‘How do I see myself?’ Do you see yourself as a failure? Flawed? People pleaser? Unlovable? Observe what comes through, and then ask, ‘Why do I see myself in this way?’ Again be patient and non-judgemental with the answers.
4. Investigate Further
Now that you’ve had some answers about the way you feel and how you see yourself, it’s time to really look into it. Really open yourself up and get to the root of those thoughts and feelings. Is that an honest representation of yourself? What is it that has made you feel that way? How have those thoughts and feelings shaped your life thus far? Have these thoughts and feelings sabotaged you in any way?
5. Accept & Forgive
This is the most important part of the process. Everything that may have come up during your session, however bad it may be, don’t wallow on it. Accept that it happened and that there is nothing that can be done about it now. Forgive yourself or any others that may be involved in making you feel the way that you do and move on from it. Tell yourself, ‘Today, I choose to move forward with my life. I accept my past and will move on. I forgive you and I love you.’
I hope this post helped you understand the process of shadow work a little better and can help you reach inner peace with your shadow self! What have been your experiences with shadow work? Let me know in the comments below!
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