What is Shadow Work
Our shadow self reveals everything we don’t consciously see within ourselves that is negative. Though we may not see our own flaws so clearly sometimes, we often see these behaviors & traits in others, which is really just our projection of our shadow. The repressed guilt, rage, jealousy & selfishness we have is part of our subconscious mind & shadow self.
As kids, when we learned to express our emotions, we were often reprimanded for the way we went about doing so. Our anger, sadness or rage might have been channeled at an early in ways that might have disturbed others around us. Maybe instead of the adults around us helping communicate our feelings with us, we were instead redirected or told not to behave how we did. We were told we were being “bad” when in actuality, we didn’t even know any real way to express how we felt aside from reacting to how our body felt.
Does this mean the adults in our lives who contributed to the suppression of our emotions are evil? Not really. Maybe they didn’t have the knowledge and tools in order to help you express yourself. Now that you have the knowledge and will continue to read about the tools, you can better equip yourself and the kids you love.
Importance of Shadow Work
Your soul purpose does not include fixing anyone but it does include seeing your reflection in others and fixing anything within you that triggers a negative response to them. That’s some deep shit, huh? Until now, you probably convinced yourself that the healthiest way to deal with negativity from others was ignoring them.
Let me tell you why that doesn’t work. While ignoring a triggering person or situation may help for a moment, you are failing to learn the lesson which the Universe is trying to teach you -- see your reflection in said person or situation & dissect it. If you ignore, you will no doubt continue to project through a different person or situation (I know you know what that’s like). The lesson will continue to repeat itself until you’ve mastered it.
When we dig deep into our shadow selves, we discover a fresh perspective of clarity. You will be able to give yourself grace for all of the times you’ve repressed emotions that needed to be felt & released. Once you see yourself clearer, you go on to seeing others for who they are also. This will help dramatically in the way you communicate within your relationships because instead of projecting you will be understanding & have more empathy. This unlocks a new level of adulthood called “maturity”. Imagine how many folks have yet to get to this step & are 2x your age. You’re ahead of the game & you’ll know exactly how to deal with those who haven’t done their shadow work.
Practically looking at your shadow
The first step in working with your shadow self is to give yourself grace for the times you’ve felt guilt, hurt or shame and didn’t adequately translate those emotions. Continue to remind yourself that you are human and the ways you might have expressed yourself when feeling those emotions you were going through were really a human experience. Like the adults who might have put you in time out for “acting out” your negative feelings, you were doing the best with the tools you had.
Next, it’s time to be mindful. Mindfulness is the ability to purposely be aware of the present moment without involving criticism. When you are mindful in situations, you don’t have the opportunity to overreact or insert unnecessary emotion. Instead, you are aware of your thoughts, bodily sensations, feelings & surroundings without judgment. While remaining mindful, you can properly pinpoint how certain occurrences and acquaintances make you feel without projecting or even immersing yourself into that emotion.
While being mindful, you must begin to own your projections. Doing so helps you become more aware as to why you feel irritated by so-and-so or you get super frustrated in certain situations. Go the extra mile and start to write down your projections you notice. This will help you when you sit down to do the following exercise (don't forget to use the crystals & herbs below while doing this exercise!):
- Think of someone you have a difficult relationship with, whether it is internal or external. Maybe they annoy you or maybe you find yourself obsessing over them.
- Grab your journal & write down your feelings toward this person while addressing them with their name or pronoun. Be as honest as possible while dissecting the emotions you feel when they are around or brought to mind.
- Now imagine having a conversation with this person and ask them “Why do you bring these emotions out of me? What are you trying to teach me? What do you need to show me?”. Intuitively listen to the answers given when you ask these questions aloud and write down the answers you receive.
- It’s time to acknowledge the projections by owning the feelings you wrote down in step 2. Start off using “I am _____”. This part might make you feel uncomfortable but do remember that these are your projections that you must be aware of & reclaim.
- Reflect on these statements from step 4 & sit in it. Isn’t it powerful to see the projections in your face? You’re now equipped & aware of them in order to release the traits you don’t like & adopt their opposite.
The following crystals help tremendously with shadow work. Most of these are actually some of my personal favorites. You can get this crystal kit here or get black moonstone, indigo gabbro, labradorite, obsidian or lapis lazuli individually.
The following herbs are known for their relaxation properties (chamomile & lavender), healing (rosemary), dispelling negativity (mugwort) & lucid dreaming (blue lotus). Together, they are powerful in the healing art of introspection & facing your shadow. Add these to your cauldron & burn for aromatherapy, create a tea or blend them & smoke away. Get an herb starter kit with these herbs included.
For further introspection & healing, grab your deck and let the below spread help you dive a bit deeper into your shadow.
hope this helped you unveil yourself. I need updates in a few weeks!