If you have heard of shadow work and are looking to learn more, I’ve got the essentials to get you started on what is shadow work and how to dive into it. If you are brand new to shadow work, Debbie Ford’s book is a great place to start: The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers.
Simply stated your shadow is any part of you that dislike, disown, disgusted by or repress. Let’s start by thinking of some qualities you really love about yourself; for example, you feel you are caring, generous and a team player. So some version of the opposite of those qualities is likely your shadows: hateful, stingy and selfish. Did they make you cringe a bit? Often the shadows are unconscious and we are unaware of their existence and the power that they have over us. If your shadows are mostly unconscious, how are you suppose to do shadow work you might wonder? Don’t worry, I have some tips on how to dive into shadow work and uncover those unconscious goodies today.
So some of you may be wondering, why would I EVER do shadow work, that just seems like the worst idea in the whole entire world? I mean you’ve probably spent YEARS trying to hide THOSE certain parts of you, why would you want to expose them now? I mean many of the spiritual leaders and coaches are teaching positivity and enlightenment. What’s the point of going into the darkness?
I get it.
We like to avoid discomfort, right?!?
I like how Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist stated it, “Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
So to achieve that happiness, that self-love and that life-long fulfillment, shadow work is essential to the enlightenment process. I mean you can do affirmations of “I’m worthy. I am wealthy. I am love” all damn day, but if you ignore the polarities of worthlessness, being impoverished and hateful, those pieces are still going to surface for you. You can push them away, but they’ll continue to come back.
The reason why you’d want to do shadow work is to….
- Stop repeating the same cycle of relationships the guys/ladies who are not a good fit for you.
- Stop repeating the same cycle of having that same type of boss that you hate.
- Stop repeating the same cycle of poverty, scarcity or just scraping by.
- Stop repeating the same cycle or sadness, worries, and unhappiness.
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” –Carl Jung.
The more we ignore the shadow the BIGGER AND BIGGER it gets. So by doing the shadow work you are actually saving yourself long-term suffering, learning to love ALL of you (not just the high-vibe side). Some results include: more intimate relationships, increase business/sales, feel more worthy, increase confidence, more money, and deeper self-love and acceptance.
So now the question becomes….how much pain will you endure before you decide to do some shadow work?
Those who are ready for shadow work can keep reading…
I’ve got four tips to come.
The Law of Attraction states that what we vibrate/feel (again mostly unconsciously) we attract into our reality experience. With this philosophy, that means you’ll be attracting your shadows into your reality. Another way to look at this is many psychologists describe this process as projection when you displace undesired feelings onto other people. This means that your shadows will be showcased to you in other people you interact with. So you begin to notice experiences and people that continue to show up in your life to expose your shadows time and time again.
For example, if you notice that people around you are really kind, generous and so beautiful. That means you feel those things about yourself on some level. Now the opposite is true, too. If you find that so many people are arrogant around you, perhaps you experience this in the grocery store, with your clients, and with your partner. What this likely means is that your shadow is… ANGER and now it is being attracted to your experience. Maybe as a child, you were told not to express your anger or had a very angry family member so you vowed to be the opposite. Whatever the case, ANGER then is your shadow.
Your example might be a little different. So if you are ready, let’s dive into some shadow work.
Starting The Shadow Work
Here are four different ways to begin to expose your shadow and learn more about them. Choose any or all of the following exercises. I’d love to know what you’ve learned.
- What characteristic about yourself would you be really offended if someone shared them publicly? Maybe people calling you stupid, stingy, a bitch, hateful, a racist, sexist, weak or a softy. Begin to become the curious observer of those characteristics that get you all revved up.
- Ask your closest friends/family (if you are ready to do the shadow work if not…this exercise is NOT helpful) what they love most about you and what they like least about you (ask for 3 or 5 characteristics)?
- Watch movies or TV shows and see who provokes the most uncomfortable emotion or physical sensation in you: the villain, the pompous female, the rich man, the controlling mother, the strict or perhaps the religious priest?
- Observe situations that cause discomfort in you: when you see a mother/father yelling at their child when you witness road rage, when someone flips you off or when you see bullying.
Those are four ways to start to do shadow work. The idea here is to simply become curious and seek to understand your shadows. You are not looking to shame or judge yourself for having these thoughts and emotions. We all have them. They all serve a purpose. We wouldn’t know love without knowing hate. We wouldn’t know prosperity without scarcity. Polarities help us to see the full spectrum. We have a full array of emotions…none of which are good or bad, they just are.
The idea of shadow work is all about bringing light to shadows of darkness. In doing so, you are able to plug into ALL the parts of you so that you can be fully illuminated. You’ll ask yourself…”why didn’t I do this shadow work earlier”. I’ll have more blog posts to come on shadow work.
What shadow were you able to uncover in doing the work?!
If you are feeling 100% called to do some transformative shadow work and shadow alchemy (next level), I have a 90-minute deep dive ($300) to help you quickly uncover some of your major shadows and show you how to transform them, the button is below. Also, have an Anxiety Disruption 101 Mini Course all on shadow alchemy. Otherwise, join my free Facebook group to be immersed in a supportive community to dive into more shadow work.
**I am an affiliate to one of the links in this blog post. If you purchase through my link, I will be compensated a small amount. Thank you!
Until Next Time,