What is Shadow Work?

Agnieszka Navarrete

Posted on November 22 2020

What is Shadow Work?

Imagine you’re taking a walk on a beautiful sunny day. You meander down your favorite nature path, just enjoying the scenery. Are you ever stopping to look at your shadow? Probably not.

Chances are, this is what it’s like with your inner shadow. It’s there. You might notice it every once and a while, but for the most part you’re just walking along your life path, not giving it too much thought.

This guide will serve you best if you are just beginning shadow work, and will give you insight into what has worked best for me so that you can incorporate them into your own practices.

What is Your Shadow Self?

You know those parts of you that you’d rather hide from everyone, including yourself? They might manifest as feelings, beliefs, traits, or judgments. That is your shadow. 

It’s common for spiritual seekers to focus on growing the parts of themselves that feel good, and that’s all fine and well. But, it’s also necessary to place your attention on the parts of yourself that are less than desirable. It is all you and it all deserves to be brought into the light.

When we ignore our shadow, we tread too closely on the line of toxic positivity, which serves nobody. 

Toxic positivity refers to the belief that you should only feel positive feelings and if you don’t, you need to immediately shift back to that. That way of thinking keeps your shadows repressed, which causes them to grow and fester. 

I believe it’s best to face the shadow head on, no matter how uncomfortable it gets (and trust me, it’ll get uncomfortable at times). But, when you are uncomfortable, you grow. 

All parts of you have the desire to be seen, heard, felt, and processed. Honor those parts of yourself by bringing them into the light. Look them in the eye. Learn to love them as much as you love your positive traits. They are all there for a reason.

Shadow work is a journey. It’s not a one and done practice. It’s a practice that doesn’t stop. There are many different approaches, a few of which  into different approaches to shadow work.

Self Awareness Is A Gift

When a feeling pops up, I try to catch it and ask myself questions such as:

  • Where, why, when, what? 
  • What is it that I’m feeling? 
  • Why am I feeling this? 
  • What situation in life does this relate to? 
  • What am I learning from this? 

Sometimes I may get the answers rather quickly, sometimes it will click later on. 

Practice self-love and compassion with yourself while doing this and know that if you don’t catch it and you still get triggered about something, it’s ok. Explore it as soon as you can.

It can be a very difficult process once you start working with your shadows so center and ground yourself. What is it that you like doing for yourself? Do that and recharge your batteries. 

Journal. Do some extra root chakra work. 

Draw on your creativity. You can express what you learn in different ways such as writing or painting.

Meditate On It

Meditation started me on my shadow work journey. Meditation brings on increased awareness and can bring so much peace and clarity including aha moments. 

Shadow work is something that one continues so don’t give up on meditation and don’t try to rush it and don’t try to force it. Shadow work is something that can turn life upside down for people and the process can be very difficult. 

Love is the Solve

Shadow work can crush people and be very tough. You are facing what you have repressed and hidden deep inside of your being. 

For example, there is a reason why you saw your mother. It’s a sign that you need healing surrounding her. 

Be kind to yourself and don’t feel like you have to rush through this. Allow yourself to process the emotions that come up. Don’t resist them. If you do, it will only create shadows. 

Love on yourself a little bit harder right now. Have self-compassion. 

What helps me is to remember that the pain I’m feeling now leads to healing and becoming to best self that I can be. 

Sending you lots of love. You got this.

 

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