What is the definition of shadow work
The “shadow ”is the part of our unconscious that holds the denied parts of the self. Shadow is made up of what we have been taught or conditioned to deny. The dark shadow contains the aspects of your nature that you deem as unacceptable and wont admit to. The light shadow is made up of the power and the beauty that you pretend you don’t have – aspects of your nature you have dismissed by disregarding your worth. It holds your true spirituality and the lost depth of your soul.
Spiritually, your shadow is the part of you that trails behind you , picking up the pieces of the things you leave behind. These are the pieces of you that you refuse to own at the present time. Both the dark and the light human qualities that you reject remain in your shadow until you are willing to accept them.
“ I am Whole and complete – there is nothing missing within me. I am a magnificent reflection of my soul and I am becoming all I can be”
It is your souls purpose to retrieve these lost parts of yourself and bring them into the light. Doing shadow work is an important part of spiritual growth. When done correctly, you can make peace with all parts of yourself and finally realize that you are whole, complete and worthy of love.
The shadow is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. By accepting all parts of ourselves, we acknowledge our full potential. If not then we continue to live in a place of fear and overcompensate in other areas of our lives.
As people, we move away from the state of “love”due to fear of judgment. The “ego” is responsible for casting this negativity. Our “higher self” or “soul”, love us unconditionally.
Each negative quality has a positive counterpart that balances the other. When considering the whole, they both have a part to play. Therefore, to be at inner peace we must be at peace with every aspect of our true nature. By “owning” all of our qualities, separation of the soul ceases to exist. The more enlightened we become, the more our darker side is illuminated, leaving us with nothing to fear.
When did this shadow self form?
Your light and dark shadow began to form when you were a young child. This progresses into your teenage years with feelings of guilt, shame and fear. During your development you would have concluded that parts of you were lovable and acceptable and you would have then built your character based upon these attributes of yourself. Anything you deemed as bad or ugly, would have been cast aside and dismissed.
Your shadow holds the key to the conditions that you place around love and acceptance. Many of us have attached negative rather than positive thoughts around love, beauty, power and greatness associating them with envy, judgment or deceit. At times, we tune down our good qualities in order to avoid being abused or hurt. There are times that we all take on a role to fit in or stand out. If you continuously do this, your uniqueness will remain in the shadows.
Until we make peace with the denied parts of our self, we will continuously be haunted by our shadow self.
How to identify your shadow
If you find yourself constantly denying that you have a particular characteristic then this is a good indication of shadow. Especially hard are experiences in our past where there has been hurt or shame involved. Incidents of reject, abandonment, betrayal or humiliation. Whilst you hold onto these grievances and refuse to take your power back, you will always blame someone else and remain trapped. You will build up evidence to justify your position. It is extremely important to reclaim these denied parts of the soul as they are important portions of the essence of who you are and which allow you to fully express yourself.
An easy way to detect dark shadow is to pay attention to when someone “ pushes your buttons” in a way which causes you to react in a judgemental way towards them. The aspects of their personality which irritate you will reveal what you don’t like about yourself.
On the other hand, your light shadow will be reflected in the surrounding people that you hold in awe, wishing you had similar qualities, eg your parents or siblings. Look for clues or recurring patterns around betrayal or rejection.
Recall your dreams as they are your soul talking to you. Until you finally embrace all aspects of consciousness without reluctance, pity or judgment, your shadow self will continue to haunt you.
To love unconditionally we first need to accept ourselves fully. If you are willing to look at all of your qualities, both light and dark, you will be able to find a point of balance. Until we retrieve the hidden parts of ourselves from the shadow, we will always feel incomplete and unsatisfied.
Remember that there is nothing missing in you. By exploring your shadow self you can move towards happiness and freedom. By accepting all parts of yourself wholeheartedly you can then acknowledge the fact that you are worthy of being loved.
There are great things waiting for you to discover in your shadow – denied aspects of your power and beauty. When you own your shadow you are no longer afraid of it Once you face your shadow, both light and dark, you can comfortably choose who you want to be.
In my next article, I will be showing you some exercises to begin to uncover your shadow self.
I hope that this has brought some enlightenment on the meaning of the shadow self, and some excitement to begin working towards self-love.