Shadow Work: You may have heard this term before and wondered, what is it all about?
Shadow work means working with your subconscious mind to uncover repressed or hidden aspects of yourself, bringing them into the light, and integrating the lessons and gifts that are born from this healing process.
Within each of us, there are parts of ourselves that we have rejected or attempted to disown because these aspects may be too painful, difficult, or uncomfortable to look at and feel into. In order to step into our wholeness and full power, we must reconnect with all lost and hurt parts of ourselves and honor them, just as we honor the light within us.
One of the aims of shadow work is to balance the light and the dark inside us. Shadow work teaches us that our shadows are not innately bad, rather, they are a necessary part of who we are and have so much medicine to share with us- if only we have the courage to open up to these places within. Often, our greatest gifts and purposes are born from our shadows.
When we ignore our shadows and the parts of ourselves that are still wounded from the past, we are neglecting a vital part of ourselves that deeply deserves acknowledgment and love. Think of your shadow as a wounded child within you- would you lock them in a dark closet hoping that eventually they’ll stop banging on the door and die? Or would you welcome that child into your lap, and listen to their pain, and comfort them with love and patience?
It is okay if your first instinct when coming face to face with your wounded aspects does send you running far away- for so long, I too had this experience.
We run because we do not wish to re-experience trauma, or even have to remember traumatic events, and therefore, we do our best to protect ourselves by shutting down our awareness to these parts of who we are. In the long run, this does far more harm than good, as our shadows will never simply disappear. They will always be a part of us. If we choose to ignore our shadows, they will make themselves known through subconscious actions such as self sabotage, low self worth, and projection.
When we love our shadows, we turn our pain into power, and truly become whole.
Our darkness is just as deserving of love as our light.
When beginning shadow work, be patient, gentle, and go as slow as you need to.
Tell your therapist, loved ones or closest supporters that you are beginning shadow work, and may want to talk about it with them. So many things are sure to come up for you as soon as you give yourself permission to begin feeling, and healing.
In the following blog I will be sharing resources, practices, and tips to get you started on your journey with shadow work and loving yourself fully and completely, so make sure to check back in!
Continue this journey because you are worthy of living in freedom and joy. The chains of the past are ready to be broken. It is time for you to fly.