Confronting Your Shadow Self

“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” – Carl Jung

This last month I stumbled upon something new called shadow work. It was something I’ve never heard of before and it intrigued me. Shadow work is when you take a closer look within yourself at the parts of yourself that you hide. The “dark side” of your personality; the negative parts you might be ashamed of, fearful around, or feel guilt around. It’s something we all have inside of ourselves, but it can be hard to acknowledge and address it.

The psychologist Carl Jung was the one who coined the term “personal shadow.” This is the part of the psyche a lot of people tend to neglect and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Even when you pretend it doesn’t exist your personal shadow can operate on it’s own without us being fully aware. It’s when the unconscious mind assumes control while our conscious self goes on autopilot. The longer you repress your shadow the more you start to see those qualities in the others around you.

At the beginning of the year, one of my resolutions was to work on my self-awareness and to heal myself from within. I spent the last three years focusing on my physical health; I didn’t spend as much time on my mental health and inner work as I should have. Something I’ve learned through my journey is that the mental transformation is just as powerful if not more powerful than a physical transformation.

Shadow work is for everyone, as humans we all have parts of ourselves we like to hide or feel embarrassed to share with others about. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood I’ve had to overcome numerous obstacles like the abuse my mom put me through for almost 18 years. All of those painful memories & experiences I had growing up, I pushed so far back in my head wanting to never think about them again.

When I stumbled upon shadow work it made me realize that I need to stop pretending that the memories don’t exist. Yes they are painful and I’m embarrassed about some of them, but they are going to resurface at some point in time so I can fully move on and continue my growth. Diving into the shadow work and committing to the process was a little scary for me. What scared me the most was fully addressing all those memories & allowing myself come to terms with them.

One of the first steps of shadow work is addressing the memories or emotions you’ve hid from for so long. You also must figure out and identify possible triggers that cause certain emotions with those memories. When you’ve identified the memories & triggers you can start to work on moving on from those to create new beliefs that will bring positive light into your life.

For me this is just the beginning of my own shadow work and bringing awareness to those dark parts so I can bring in new light. If this is something that does intrigue you I encourage you to look more into it as well. It’s something that everyone can benefit from and will only bring in more positivity in the long run.

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13 Replies to “Confronting Your Shadow Self”

  1. Shadow work and it’s relevance to mental transformation is the key lesson of this very insightful post. I agree that sound mental health is as important as sound physical health however, I strongly believe that sound mental health bears a higher priority than it’s physical equivalent because it is the mind that drives the body. Thanks for sharing a thoughtful post of such great value.

  2. Intriguing post, something I struggle with dealing with memories and getting through each day with a bagful of triggers that set off at any given moment, it’s a battle field!
    Thank you for sharing with us 😊

    1. I can totally relate to what you go through! You’re welcome I hope this helped!

  3. Any practical tips on approaching this type of work? My therapist is not helpful for this. Hoping there are some exercises one can do on one’s own.

    1. There’s a book I started reading that sheds light on shadow work & steps on how to start doing it which I’ve been following. The book is called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford!
      Another tip is to journal & meditate and try to list out the things that you’re embarrassed or feel guilt around (for example one of mine has been my relationship with alcohol) and then I work on finding triggers for that specific topic like being around others who are drinking alcohol & getting drunk will trigger me and I then ask myself why it triggers me and dig deep into it. It’s not fun at times confronting those dark parts, but it is worth it in the end. Hopefully this helps!

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