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7 Tips for Healing Through Shadow Work

7 Tips for Healing Through Shadow Work

Shadow work is a form of psychotherapy that’s main focus is your “shadow self”. Your shadow self is the side of yourself that you most likely keep hidden from the world. Carl Jung was a psychoanalyst that first came up with this concept and he used the term shadow self to describe the things people like to repress instead of acknowledging. This is your persona; the person you present to others. His theory was that a person could understand themselves more and find a sense of balance by working with their shadow self

To begin shadow work all you’ll need is a pen and paper. I suggest that you get a blank notebook specifically dedicated to doing shadow work. Think of it as your healing journal. Write in it like no one in the world will ever read it and keep it in a safe place that’s easily accessible to only you. Below I have provided 7 tips about how you can get started with healing through your shadow work.

1. Pace yourself and do not rush this process. Shadow work isn't a quick fix. It's about developing a deeper understanding of yourself and your inner world. This is a daily process that could and should go on for a very long time. Unfortunately, most of us have been through some trauma that’s been buried and suppressed for years and it’ll take time for those memories to resurface. Go at your own pace and don’t worry if you skip a few days.

2. Identify your triggers. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that come up as you began to write. Also pay attention to your daily habits and behaviors in certain situations and begin to ask yourself why you reacted that way.

3. Be honest with yourself. This is extremely important when it comes to shadow work. Nobody knows yourself and the things you’ve been through better than you do. When doing shadow work you’ll have to dig deep and it may be uncomfortable at first; try to work through the discomfort and remind yourself that nobody knows what you write in your journal but you. Your shadow self is not your enemy, it’s your friend and during this process you will be getting to know this new “friend” very well. Don’t ever judge this part of yourself because it played a role in the amazing being that you are. Don’t be ashamed of the darkness in you. Embrace it and remind yourself that whatever you write in this journal is private and for your eyes only. Don't try to hide any parts of yourself that you find uncomfortable or difficult to face. It’s there for a reason.

4. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Shadow work can be emotionally and mentally challenging, so it's important to be kind and gentle with yourself. Don’t expect to be healed over night. Again, you are unpacking years worth of stuff that you may not have known was there. Some days you will feel on top of the world and others you may want to curl up in bed and cry. Both are so important and perfectly normal. True, it can be so scary to deal with those skeletons in the closet… but you may end up finding out those skeletons made you into a whole bad ass out here. You will never be able to change what happened to you. What’s done is done. You can only accept yourself where you are and change in the places you desire to grow. You think you’re the shit now? Wait until you start on that shadow work. 

5. Take notes. I would recommend throughout your day to take a mini note (or mental note) of every time something triggered you that day. You can use the notes app on your phone and then go back and write them out in your journal when you’re alone. This is important because sometimes we don’t even know why things trigger us, we just know that it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. The feeling will continue to happen if you don’t get to the root cause of it. Once you start paying attention to your triggers it will be easier to stop them in the first place. This is how you learn who you are and best help yourself through this process. Say to yourself “Hey I know that instagram post made you feel uncomfortable but you’re okay. You’re safe. It has not real affect on your world and everything is fine.” Be gentle with yourself like you would a child. Most of the things that trigger us as adults stem from childhood. Some of us did not have anyone to be gentle with us growing up. There was no one to hold us through our darkest days. That’s why I feel it’s so important to do it now. Hold yourself dammit. It’s not weird to give yourself love and compassion. If you’re a man reading this that goes for you too! It’s not too late to nurture that child in you. Do it and little you will thank you for it.

6. Find a mentor or support group. If you’re reading this 9/10 you came from my YouTube channel “The Spiritual Baddie”. Consider that your support group if you don’t have one yet. People from all walks of life come to my channel to share their stores and offer advice to one another. It’s a completely judgment free zone and no one is expecting perfection regardless of race or gender. We’re just one big dysfunctional family doing our best to heal out here! If you’re looking for a more private and intimate mentorship, I offer 1 on 1 sessions on my booking website. Here’s the link for you.

7. Celebrate the progress you make. Shadow work is an ongoing process, so it's important to recognize and appreciate the small victories along the way. Taking this first step is a huge deal and you should reward yourself with your favorite snack or buy yourself something nice from time to time. Treating and rewarding myself for every victory, even the small ones, is a way that I have been able to keep myself on track. I’m doing what I always thought would be impossible. Healing. It seemed so far fetched in the beginning but now I’m not not only healing myself, I’m helping others do the same. Celebrate yourself every single day. Even the days where you can’t get out of bed. Celebrate the fact that you listened to your body and got the rest you deserved. I don’t care if you treat yourself to a pizza, some new headphones or a nap. TREAT YOURSELF. CELEBRATE. And don’t feel bad about it. Ever!

 

You deserve all the goodness this life has to offer. Especially if you’re taking the steps to heal through the shit that wasn’t even your fault. You are so amazing out here and I’m proud of you. Keep going and do this for little you. 

Here are some shadow work prompts from livingtoexplore.com that you can use as your first journal entry. 
 

 

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