If you have tried to work through behavior patterns, habits, and negative automated thinking, you might have heard the suggestion that you should do shadow work. But what exactly is that, and how do you do shadow work exactly? Today on my podcast, I want to explain the basics and share with you how journaling can be an effective tool to work with the Shadow self.
“When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them.”
You can listen to this episode right here on the blog, or via the links below, or, if you prefer, read the transcript of this episode of Manifest A Positively Abundant Life Podcast below.
Transcript of Podcast Episode 12: Shadow Work for Beginners
Does the thought of shadow work make you feel uneasy? Then allow me to put you at ease, so it can lose any negative connotation you may have, once you are familiar with the basics of Shadow work, right after a word from our Sponsor Anchor
What is the Shadow Self?
According to Dr. Nicole LePera – a Holistic Psychologist and Author, the shadow is “An unconscious part of the Self that we have repressed (often since childhood) in order to be accepted and loved”. Uncovering and healing that shadow self can help us get unstuck, and tap into our potential and release any blockages that may keep us from manifesting the reality that we want to co-create.
Why should you do shadow work?
By bringing awareness, self-acceptance, healing, and intention into every aspect of you, and that includes the shadow part of you, you are shrinking the burdens, beliefs, and trauma that often causes us to follow habits and actions that are less than ideal for ourselves. Through these processes, the shadow shrinks, and as that part of you heals, it loses its influences, leaving you to be able to make new and better decisions, form new habits, and truly go after whatever goals and dreams you have in your life.
Freeing yourself from the Shadow Self, allows you to tap into the gifts and talents that were also hidden in that aspect of you, behind all of your fear, worry, anger, and sometimes the deep and complete disconnection from your authentic self. After working with and through your shadow, you will be able to utilize all of the beautiful power that you actually possess, and become a more creative, connected, and authentic self.
“The shadow is needed now more than ever. We heal the world when we heal ourselves, and hope shines brightest when it illuminates the dark.”
What is shadow work all about:
- Shadow work is about integration, not about dismissing, or getting rid of a past – may that be trauma, belief systems, or other occurrences that keep us from becoming the full and connected authentic individual we are truly meant to be
- Shadow work is a journey of self-acceptance and self-discovery. through discovering and connecting with all of the layers of self, you can then give them the love they deserve. There is not bad part of you, no dark part, just different aspects of you that you may have not allowed yourself to connect with, and held positive space for.
- Your shadow was created from non-acceptance, therefore healing it requires the opposite. It requires questions, and acknowledgment, and love brought toward the parts of yourself, you have been denying to really connect with.
- The creation of your shadow is not your fault. There are many aspects that can contribute to the creation of your Shadow. Society, trauma, abuse, neglect, and some beliefs, including belief systems all contribute to the need to hide parts of ourselves in order to stay safe. Once you are in a safe space, however, healing those parts is what shadow work is all about.
- One effective way of diving deeper into shadow work is to ask deeper questions. Surface journaling will often not do, especially with the generic questions we are often asked, that only touch that part of ourselves that we are already aware off and connected with.
Tips On How To Use Journaling For Shadow Work
Two important points for working with deeper journal questions, specially designed for Shadow work, is that you do the following
a. allow anything that comes up, to flow onto the page. this is not a place to censor yourself. there are times where the shadow will have a lot to say, and sometimes where you are able to only answer with a short few sentences or a paragraph. Note those times where the answers are short, and visit that section again at another point to see if anything changes. If you find yourself asking more or different questions, answer those as well, maybe in the same journaling session or whenever you feel comfortable
b. adopt an attitude of non-judgment. Working with the shadow is not a time to judge what comes up, by whatever standard that you are using. Accept all that you hear, and all that flows onto the page with a somewhat detached, observational viewpoint, and most importantly without any judgment. If you feel overwhelmed by what you hear, you can use my favorite mantra, which also works in this instant. “I surrender, I let go, I am open, I am listening”. or any other mantra or prayer of non-judgment that you are comfortable with.
Suggested Closing intention for shadow work journaling
When working with the Shadow aspect of yourself, I highly recommend that you utilize the power of a closing intention. Call on your Guides or Angels, and make an intentional statement, that is similar to this (of course, you can use your own wording for this) It is my intention to bring healing and light to these aspects that I have just written about, and integrate them into my soul and being. – if you feel prompted you can close this statement with Amen, So mote it be, or and so it is – which is another affirmative intentional statement of the importance and weight of your words, to close.
With this intention statement, you are allowing your subconscious to know how you want to process what you have just discovered, instead of allowing it to fester again in a not-so-healthy way. I will dedicate an entire podcast episode in the future about the power of making intentional statements.
“Your Shadow is all of the things, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, that you’ve denied about yourself and hidden beneath the surface of the mask you forgot that you’re wearing.”
What does shadow work have to do with Law of Attraction?
As a Law of Attraction and Positive Living Coach, I am often asked this question, whenever I bring up the subject of shadow work because on the surface it seems disconnected from the manifestation process. However, truth is, that whenever we are trying to manifest a better life for ourselves and bring into our experience positive living practices, we are often still held back to fully embrace that journey of positivity, because of our past. We repeat patterns and thoughts unconsciously, and often retreat to them, at the slightest hint of trouble, no matter how much we are trying to keep our mind focused on that which we want to attract.
Instead of ignoring that part, and wishing it would go away, healing that trauma once and for all, allows us to finally move on, freely, without all of the momentum, that we have acquired during our lifetime.
Some might think that thinking about the negative will only bring for the more negative, but shadow work is not about deliberately bringing up the skeletons of the past and digging deeper into them. It is about becoming aware that there are a thought pattern and a belief that is holding us back, and healing it through gentle acknowledgment and loving that part of our past.
For example, if I would have a self-sabotaging thought pattern that would come up, whenever I feel like am working on a new project that did not exactly work the way I expected, I can either allow myself to think that I am a failure, or acknowledge that this thought comes from a time where I was told that mistakes where not an option and that they would be punished severely. From this space, I can tell myself that I am safe now, and no one is there to punish me. I can make the inner child within me feel safe again. through that, failure, and the contrast that comes with obstacles will no longer feel like something I need to run away from, but rather something that I can embrace because I am now free to learn from my mistakes rather than respond like I would have responded before uncovering, loving and healing that part of me.
Gut reactions often come from past influences that have been imprinted upon us, and loving those aspects of ourselves frees us from them, while merely relying on our ability to stay focused on the positive does not. You are now healing that emotion rather than trying to force it away, which is a lot more effective, and longer-lasting.
For those of you who are subscribing to my newsletter, I will make a free PDF copy of my upcoming Journal Prompt Book Diving Deeper available for the next 3 weeks. Diving Deeper will be available as a paperback mid-April on Amazon and for a limited time for free as a PDF version download for subscribers only. I will make the PDF version available until April 10th, 2021, so subscribe, if you have not done so, and download a copy today! A link will be available in the show notes of this episode of the Manifest a positively abundant life podcast or you can click the link right below this transcript.
Have a blessed day