What is Shadow Work?

Shadow work is the process of working with our shadow selves or the dark or unknown side of ourselves. Coined by psychiatrist Carl Jung, our shadow self is the parts of ourselves we suppress or ignore. Shadow work is doing the inner work to heal from past trauma. Doing shadow work helps us understand every part of who we are. 

When you do shadow work, you’re dealing with the emotions you’ve suppressed. You bring all these feelings to the surface and work through them. Shadow work is intense and can be uncomfortable. I first learned about shadow work early on in my spiritual journey. I began watching a plethora of videos on it and reading countless articles to soak in all the information I could. I waited until my mental health was stable to start shadow work. I began by doing journal entries from a shadow work journal I found online. These journal entries were heavy and often I found myself feeling emotional during and after completing them. I was working through things I’d buried deep within me. Things I hoped I’d never have to talk about again. I decided to discuss shadow work with my therapist and she was proud of me for having the strength to do the work. She also recommended practicing self-care after doing shadow work. 

Shadow work can be intimidating. You’re digging up things you were hoping to repress forever. You’re working through trauma that may have occurred years ago and to truly heal, this work is completely necessary. 

Getting to know your shadow self takes time, but you’ll learn to understand, forgive, and love all parts of yourself once you start. Shadow work allows you to understand certain behaviors and why you react to things the way you do. 

There are many negative issues that are a result of keeping your shadow hidden. Some of these include:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Uncontrollable rage/anger
  • Depression
  • Self-sabotage
  • Limiting beliefs

When considering shadow work, it’s important to know the various ways you can do it. Some of these are journaling, self-awareness or paying attention to what makes your shadow self come up, and meditation. 

Carrying around trauma, fears, pain, and other heavy things from your past that you’ve pushed deep within you is difficult. It takes courage to work through your pain. Working through it all allows you to release, be freer, and become your most authentic self. 

Photo by Martino Pietropoli on Unsplash

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