Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Are you ready to look at your own bullsh*t?
"Unless we do conscious work on it, the shadow is almost always projected: that is, it is neatly laid on someone or something else so we do not have to take responsibility for it."
- Robert Johnson.
What is shadow work?
It is the process of exploring your inner darkness or "Shadow Self".
It is looking at the parts of you that has been neglected, repressed,
and silenced so you can bring the unconscious up to the surface and accept every single one of your flaws.
Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The Shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life.
Before shadow work we walk around feeling guilt and shame.
Because we fear our dark side.
We don't want to address the darkest parts of our being.
Darkness can look like: Pride. Perfectionism. Superiority complex.
Becoming conscious of your flaws you can work on bettering yourself.
The more conscious you are, the less power they have on you.
So that you become in control of your light and your dark. Yin and Yang.
You can journal, talk to a therapist, meditate or face your self right in the mirror.
Facing your dark side. Accepting her or him. Below I've listed some examples.
Good luck with this potent, transformative yet icky work.
Here's a powerful exercises to do some shadow work:
What are five things that you admire in others that you don't feel you embody yourself?
What are 5 things you dislike in others, that you cannot recognize in yourself?
Here's another quick, easy yet profound shadow work exercise:
According to cultural standards
- List 5 reasons why you are above average.
- List 5 reasons why you are average.
- List 5 reasons why you are below average.
This exercise will help you see
- your ego at work.
- the labels the ego carries.
- where we need self-compassion.
You can also ask yourself questions about your childhood:
- Was I accepted by those around me?
- What was expected of me?
- What patterns or behaviors was judged by my parents?
Shadow work is observation without judgement, but that is difficult once you notice yourself judging it in others too. That's the easiest way to spot it. Your shadow shows up in the form of judging others. Ask yourself what about this person is reflecting back to me, the parts of me that I have disowned? Notice your emotional triggers such as jealousy, question yourself what's behind that emotion? Remember your shadow was born from unacceptance so do not antagonize your shadow!
"Our shadows holds the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light."
- Debbie Ford
I can highly recommend this book for diving deep into this work.
Shadow work uncovers every part of you that has been disowned, repressed, and rejected. The ego actually creates it and locks parts of yourself away to keep you safe. The goal of shadow work is integration so you are acknowledging it, accepting it and loving it. Although there are negative aspects of our shadow there are also positives. The shadow contains so many untapped gifts and potential and a lot of the time it's hidden away because you're afraid to step into your power. The good news is that once you have spotted your shadow 80% of the work is done. *phew*
Let me know how it goes?
Do you dare to look at what's hiding in your shadow?
It can be scary indeed, but also super empowering to own your stuff to forge ahead instead of being stuck in your ego's traps.
Best of luck with the homework;)