In Jungian psychology, the ‘shadow’ refers to an unconscious aspect of the character which the conscious ego doesn’t identify in itself, or the entirety of the unconscious.
Hence, ‘shadow work’ is identifying the opposite within yourself.
An Example of The Shadow:
An example of this is when you see yourself as a disciplined person, your lazy part is being repressed and hiding in the shadow.
This disowned part influences your behavior, and thus, keeps on challenging the disciplined part in you.
It projects itself in ways you are unaware of and makes your life harder. For example, you are slow at making decisions because that’s how the lazy part of yourself projects itself.
But do you know what’s the most fascinating thing? Even though your ego sees your shadow as the most unwanted part of yourself, almost EVERYTHING that you truly desire can be achieved by the qualities of this shadow personality.
So, for example, the disciplined person with a lazy shadow personality would hate lazy people because they are a reminder of his character’s repressed aspect.
However, this person would push himself so much, they will be tired and burned out, all they would truly want from the bottom of their heart is to do nothing, chill at home and maybe play video games for a whole day without any responsibilities.
If this disciplined person embraces his lazy shadow aspect, he will achieve divine balance. He will prevent being burned out while still achieving his goals, and maybe go even further in his career. The quality of their life will undoubtedly improve.
Shadow Work focuses exactly on this, becoming aware of your shadow and embracing it in order to become whole, unlock your true potential and achieve enlightenment.
Read on and find out how you can do shadow work in your life.
3 Ways to Do Shadow Work:
1. Dig out past traumas and face your demons.
You can never become whole if you don’t have the courage to dig up past traumas in order to heal yourself.
Unhealed past does not fade away with time. It stays as a part of your unconsciousness until you acknowledge it and heal it.
It’s like roots that captured a part of your soul and until you heal these roots away, that part of your soul will stay there.
This process involves facing your demons and overcoming them. These demons will appear in form of scary emotions and judging thoughts.
But all they are is a byproduct of the trauma that your ego’s self defense mechanism uses to keep you safe away from these buried unhealed pains. The closer you are to these roots, the louder these demons will appear.
But keep going. You are stronger than your weaknesses. Let the love for healing these roots be stronger than the fear of your ego.
This process might be the scariest thing you do, you feel like standing alone in the raging storm. But just go on because you are already halfway of the battle.
When the storm looks scariest it means you are the closest to its eye. And you will find the greatest peace right there, in the eye of the storm.
If you are already doing this, then cheers to you! Not everybody has the guts to do that.
2. Follow the trail of Whys whenever you get upset.
There is a great play with words with Upset. Whenever you get upset The Universe is setting you up to do your shadow work.
How to do shadow work when you get upset?
Whenever something upsets you drill it down with asking: Why Does This Upsets Me?; after you have your answer, ask: What Does That Mean for Me?; after you have your second answer say: Let’s Assume That’s True, Why Does That Upset Me?; keep drilling in the same order.
Keep asking these 2 question until there are tears in your eyes.
These 2 questions can drill down straight to the place you need most healing. They are so powerful that you can use just these 2 questions and discover all your unhealed traumas.
3. Self reflect and embrace your emotions.
According to many psychologists, Self Reflection is one if not the most important habit you can have in order to improve the quality of your life and get to know subconscious drives.
Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Most of the things we do in our day, our choices and our reactions are driven by unconscious forces that we are unaware of.
These forces are operating under the configuration of our psyche and if you are able to get to know your psyche better you can work on the unwanted parts of your configuration and change them.
This can be achieved with a Self Reflecting habit.
– Question your reaction to things, why did you react like that; what triggered you; why was that your trigger;
– Question your choices, why did you make that choice; were you running away from something, avoiding something; are you trying to prove something; was the choice of rational or emotional nature;
– Question your desires, why are you attracted to that thing; what does it say about your life; what do you think about people who are attracted to the same thing; how are you different;
Do not judge your answers. There is not a wrong or right answer. All the answers tell something about you and your subconscious drives. They are tools you can use to know yourself a little better.
Accept your flaws as well as your greatness. Accept the wholeness of you.
You can practice Self Reflection at the end of your day. Self Reflect and find the aspects of your unconscious mind that pull the strings.
Change them if you do not like that configuration. Work on them. Be aware the next time they will want to play and do not let them decide for you.