How do I find my shadow self?

How do I find my shadow self? The answer: You don’t find it, it’s already within you.

However, there are nine specific ways for you to identify your shadow.

But before we get started, let’s make sure you understand a few things.

What is the shadow self?

The shadow self is the unconscious part of your personality that you have no awareness of.

It’s the part of yourself that you rejected and left behind back in childhood.

When you were growing up, your parents and your culture, encouraged some parts of your personality while punishing other parts. Because of this, you learn to leave those parts behind.

However, just because you discard some parts of yourself doesn’t mean that they are eliminated. You cannot eliminate who you are. You can only repress it and push it outside of your conscious awareness.

How do I find my shadow self?


Projection is unconsciously taking qualities you don’t want in yourself and attributing those qualities to someone else.

Since projection is easier than assimilation, we tend to direct these qualities outside of us. But when we project these qualities outside of ourselves we become less than whole.

A good example of someone who is projecting would be a person who claims that everyone is jealous of them.

I know a guy who is just like this. Whenever he doesn’t like the person he badmouths them behind their back and claims that they’re jealous of him.

If he said this about one or two maybe three people, then yes, I’d probably believe him, but it seems like he describes everyone like this.

Ironically, what you’ll notice is that it’s very easy to tell when he is jealous. You can see it plainly on his face.

He projects the emotion of jealousy onto others because he’s disowned that part of himself. Since he’s disowned his jealousy, the only way that he can access it is indirectly.

Through a distorted belief that he can read minds, he makes the claim that many people are jealous of him.

Ultimately, if you find somebody who attributes a certain quality to many people, chances are that person is projecting.

Learn more about projection psychology here.


All laughter comes from the shadow because laughter is a form of repressed sadism.

You can get a better understanding of your personal shadow by paying special attention to what makes you laugh uncontrollably.

This is typically a signal of what you wouldn’t do but would like to do.

So if you want to get to know your shadow better, pay attention to your favorite stand-up comedians. Dissect your favorite jokes to see exactly what it is that makes you giggle.

However, a person who strongly represses their shadow will generally lack a sense of humor.

Instead, she will not find the joke humorous and act judgmental towards the subject.


Keep in mind that some neuroticism can be related to a mental illness or substance abuse. These topics are outside the scope of this blog.

Keep in mind that the unconscious will create neurotic symptoms to push a person towards inner work.

This is because depression and anxiety can come from not being who you truly are—from playing a role.

A person like this can have a very black and dense shadow because they are so inhibited

A very notable trait of a neurotic person is that they will seek to blame others for their actions.

And because they are too engulfed by nervous energy, they will act badly without feeling responsible for their actions.


The standard definition of sadism is that it’s an expression of destruction and power. But for our purposes, sadism is the desire to affect others.

Sadistic qualities include bullying others, aggressiveness, competitiveness, passive aggressiveness, imposing one’s will, and so on.


The standard definition of masochism is an expression of pleasure to being humiliated and receiving pain. But for our purposes, masochism is the desire to be affected or to be prodded.

Some examples of masochism include workaholism, getting “triggered”, high submissiveness, pacifism, and more.

Learn more about sado masochism here.

Body Language

The body is always conveying what the unconscious mind is saying.

I suggest picking a book, and learning how to read body language. That way you can learn to pick up on all the unconscious messages that people are sending out to you during conversation. And you’ll have a better read of their shadow.

I’ve gotten called out for my body language in the past. Although internally I’m a “live and let live”, mellow guy, my body language says otherwise.

People have told me that I look intimidating. That I seem to stand and walk with pride and conceit. And that I hold myself as if I’m better than others.

I can tell you right now that is not the type of dialogue that goes through my head—but I’m not complaining.


Your shadow can appear in your dreams, and it can appear in your imaginary vision.

Typically, the shadow is going to show up as the same sex as yourself. And naturally, you’re going to want to avoid the shadow.

However, if you do spot your shadow within your mind’s eye. It’s definitely something that you should try to look into. Because your unconscious is trying to make you aware of something.

It might be important, and your shadow doesn’t lie.

Dysfunctional Relationships

Most people aren’t aware that they’ve been replaying the same unconscious roles since childhood.

You might notice that people repeat the same patterns among their relationships and their way of relating to people is built on unconscious beliefs.

People who consistently have dysfunctional relationships are disturbed. They aren’t aware that they are reliving the same patterns that they have been all their life.

A good example of this would be a girl who keeps getting in relationships with terrible men. Or a man who keeps getting in relationships with very loose women.

Without knowing it, these people are unconsciously attracting the types of people who benefit and match with their unconscious beliefs.

Learn more about inner child healing here.


Immaturity includes not understanding one’s own emotions and not setting boundaries.

When someone feels the following emotions, it means that their shadow is manifesting their unconscious desires.

These beliefs are betrayal, abandonment, rejection, disappointment, humiliation, and isolation.

This is lack of maturity and acceptance for the shadow brings about these unconscious, dysfunctional relationships into a person’s life.

A person only has these emotions because they unconsciously want to feel these emotions.

I know that’s hard to wrap your head around, but it is the truth.

With enough shadow work, you’ll be able to introspect and shake off these immature beliefs that the unconscious rises out of you.

Check out the Shadow Work Course here.

Check out A Light Among Shadows: A Guide to Self-Love & Being here.

Subscribe to get your free ebook 30 Shadow Work Prompts



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