I embrace my shadow self. Shadows give depth and dimension to my life. I believe in embracing my duality, in learning to let darkness and light, peacefully co-exist, as illumination.
I was recently listening to an audio book called Not Nice by Aziz Gazipura (great book so far!). The author was talking about shadow work and how helpful keeping a shadow journal can be for this type of work. It was the first time I’d heard this term, and when I looked up the definition, I realized I’ve been keeping a shadow journal/doing shadow work for years. I think of shadow work as exploring all parts of ourselves not just the good (toxic positivity, anyone?), but the bad and ugly parts we all have too. So, let’s explore why you might want to do your own shadow work too…
Some helpful parts of shadow work may include:
- It can feel freeing, like you’re unburdening yourself of something heavy you’ve been carrying
- Letting you be your authentic self
- Allowing you to fully feel all your feelings and emotions
- Helping you tap into compassion and loving kindness towards yourself and others
- Helping you connect with other people at a deeper level
- Allowing all parts of you to be seen and witnessed by you
- Helping you recognize emotional safety and who you can share more parts of yourself with (if you so choose)
What else would you add here?
Some of the difficult (and even painful) parts of shadow work may include:
- It can feel scary, sad, frustrating, etc.
- You may have trouble embracing or even acknowledging the bad and ugly parts of yourself
- It can feel exhausting and draining at times
- Others may not understand this work, or may even judge or criticize you for the work you’re doing
- You may feel alone on this path, especially if other people in your life aren’t doing their own work
- You may not want all parts of yourself to be witnessed, even by just you!
- Sharing your work with the wrong people/people who don’t turn out to be emotionally safe for you can be harmful to your healing process
What else would you add to this list?
Here are some shadow work self-care ideas:
- Go to therapy
- Keep a shadow journal
- Practice mindfulness/focus on being in the present moment
- Allow yourself to feel all your feelings
- Spend time with emotionally safe people
- Do yoga/gentle stretches
- Go for a walk outside
- Snuggle with your pet
- Focus on meeting your basic needs like sleep, hydration, eating a diet healthy for your body, etc.
What other self-care ideas would you add here?
If you’re ready to so some shadow work of your own, I commend you! It’s not easy, but this work can free you of the many burdens you’re probably carrying right now. I’m sending lots of love and compassion your way as you start this important work in your own life.