Updated: May 12, 2020
I was recently confronted with parts of myself that make me feel super uncomfortable; the part of myself that is constantly body shaming myself, the part of myself that dwells on past mistakes, the part of myself that feels super insecure in relationships (with lovers, friends and even family)! Having the realisation that these issues are often easily triggered and my responses (feeling disgusted about my body, feeling regret, judging myself harshly and feeling neglected etc) really made me feel like shit so I went down another healing rabbit hole and started exploring these parts of myself. As I crawled down my research rabbit hole I stumbled across the term, Shadow Work. Although I have heard this term before from Spiritual Healers like Nu Mindframe and during my Clinical Psychology studies from the perspective of theorist, Carl Jung; I hadn’t ever explored the term and what it encompassed until roughly 4 weeks ago. If ever there was a rabbit hole I’ve happily crawled through, it’s this one! Now because I love writing and sharing my personal experiences; in true Beauty form, I’m spilling all the Shadow Work TEA that I’ve come across based on my personal perspective (with obvious influence from the spiritual teachers I mentioned before, click on their names to do your own research and reading – 10/10 would recommend!!!) So without hesitation, here’s my perspective on Shadow Work, in the form of a Q&A!
What is Your Shadow?
Yes it’s the thing cast by light hitting a surface from a certain angle (I think), but in this context, your shadow is the part of you that forms as a result of all the parts of you that you deem to be unlovable and unacceptable either through social conditioning or your core beliefs. The parts of you that you suppress, neglect and try to avoid facing, come together and are brought to surface when you are triggered in ways that make you feel uncomfortable or even disappointed in yourself.
What is Shadow Work?
Shadow Work is the healing process through which you acknowledge, become aware of, accept and integrate into your current self.
What Some Practical Ways to Engage in Shadow Work/Healing?
I believe that all healing begins when we can create awareness of what requires healing, so finding some time to sit in stillness and contemplating your triggers to pin point what has been banished to form the shadow self can be a great starting point. The most effective form of introspection for me as been through Philosophical Meditation, learn more about it here. Journaling is a great tool for introspection, if you’re curious about journaling or would like some journaling prompts, click here to access my 21 Day Self Love Journal Journey.
Avoid trying to fight your Shadow Self or approaching those parts of yourself with anger, rather meet that part of your self with love. Love is an amazing facilitator of healing, love can be inviting to bring the shadow out of hiding where it can be met with the love, acceptance and understanding that it has been deprived of.
Positive self-talk in an accepting and understanding manner can bring you closer to getting to know your shadow, further luring it out of hiding, into the light of healing. Read more about my perspective of cultivating positive self-talk here.
Learning to love and accept your shadow self through the suggestions I just mentioned, as well as thousands of others (Google away), makes it easier to heal yourself fully and completely and integrate your shadow to bring you holistic healing that is more realistic and sustainable as opposed to striving for a perfect self.