What is Shadow Work? – Benefits and How To Do It
Shadow work sounds like something obscured but the fact is that it can bring clarity and a better, deep understanding of ourselves. Shadow work can improve our interactions with others and heal traumas. It is no easy task and most of the time it requires some source of assistance, like going to therapy or other tools. Shadow work is the exploration of what's under the veil, hidden from everyone, even from ourselves, things that we suppressed but remain there, in the dark. This work brings to the table better self-awareness, personal growth, and healing.
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst is responsible for bringing this concept into the light. Shadow work is the idea of consciously exploring the unconscious and discovering parts of ourselves that were once suppressed by the ego and forgotten by our conscious minds, even though always present underneath. We are talking about self-denial and traumas, these oppressions are usually the result of things that happen during childhood but they can also be the outcome of things that happened later in life.
It is clear that the shadow is steering the wheel when we end up not knowing how we got where we are, and not quite liking it. It is like living in an auto-pilot and letting our shadow be in the driven seat. This means that we are not fully aware of who we are, all the little parts, whether we like them or not. A great example of this is, imagine that during your childhood you were constantly told not to answer back, this can lead to weak boundaries and trouble in making a stand and defending yourself as an adult. And this can only be solved if we are aware of it. To do this work we can use different tools, therapy, journaling – taking notes of our emotions and what triggered them, meditation, and questioning, a lot! So, first comes awareness, then we notice patterns and only then can we start to learn to love ourselves and create the life we want, from the inside out.
Shadow work takes time and dedication to pay attention to our feelings and how they impact us, body awareness and developing intuition. Tracking our feelings and reflecting on them is key, by reflecting we will be able to uncover those feelings. Where do they come from and where do they lead us if left unattended? We need to question our reality and understand where these feelings and patterns come from and why. What needs are not being met? What do we need to let go of and what do we need to keep? It is like a reality reset and the opportunity to be more authentic and to live a more fulfilled life! It is essential to place the right questions, but don't worry this gets easier with practice. A powerful way to practice shadow work is journaling, by putting our thoughts and emotions on paper we get the chance to reflect and organize thoughts. Meditating will also help with awareness and to get in touch with our intuition, with meditation we get better at noticing our thoughts patterns, and emotions. One amazing crystal for journaling and meditation is the Angel Aura, this gem is wonderful when searching for clarity, connecting with intuition, and higher awareness.
With Shadow work comes more confidence and better self-esteem, sounder relationships and boundaries, and self-acceptance. Remember to be kind to yourself, we all have our shadows and they are a part of who we are, the important thing is to see and understand them, learn and grow.
Happy healing journey!