Popularized by Psychiatrist Carl Jung, shadow work highlights the idea that we all have different parts of ourselves. The parts of ourselves that we prefer to ignore such as our fears, guilt, and shame tend to become the shadow parts or our shadow-selves.
Everyone has a shadow-self that typically develops in childhood and that grows and matures with us into adulthood. In exploring our shadow parts we can begin to unpack some of our unconscious belief systems about ourselves and others and if done correctly we can begin to heal our trauma (childhood and otherwise). Shadow work provides an opportunity to make a deeper connection with oneself and our soul so that we may become the most complete and aligned version of ourselves.
Shadow work has many benefits such as:
healing generational trauma
improving our interactions with others
learning healthy coping strategies and ways to meet our needs
the ability to feel whole and integrated as a person
Without shadow work we may never reach our fullest potential. We may continually self-sabotage, self-soothe with alcohol, drugs or sex, experience stress and/or a myriad of other mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression. Ultimately, repressing or ignoring our shadow-selves can lead to us living inauthentic and unhealthy lives.
Before beginning any shadow work it is important that we develop an awareness of our emotions, triggers and behavioral responses. Get intentional about noticing your reactions and what caused them our shadow-selves are most apparent when we feel strongly about something or when our strongest emotions surface. Paying attention to these emotions and reactions can help us begin to see our patterns of behavior and coping mechanisms more clearly.
Lastly, understand that when we become extremely or overly upset at minor inconveniences, conversations, thoughts, or the actions of others our shadow-selves have been activated. And most likely we’re upset because there’s a part of us that has been repressed or ignored for a long time and it wants to come out, it needs to be released. In these moments it is important to pause and “re-flect” before acting out or moving forward. Sit with your strong emotions feel them and when ready integrate them.
If you would like more information on SHADOW WORK and how it can help you contact me today.