Are you looking for a quick overview of how to practice shadow work? Well, you've come to the right place!
But first, let's quickly go over what is shadow and shadow work.
What is Shadow Self & Shadow Work?
Your shadow self, or shadow, is the side of yourself you have no awareness of. It holds all the qualities you disowned during your formative years.
Although you learned to repress these qualities and push them outside of your awareness, they still live underneath the surface.
They unconsciously guide your actions and are the unseen cause for many of the troubles in your life.
Shadow work is the intentional practice of becoming aware of your unconscious shadow and integrating these neglected qualities into your being—becoming whole.
This is a process of building self-awareness, self-acceptance, and universal Love.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."Carl Jung
How to Practice Shadow Work
Shadow work can be practiced using a variety of techniques and exercises. We'll look at a few in this guide to get you started.
Meditation can assist you.
Attempt to achieve a calm and neutral mental state. When practicing shadow work, it's important to try to relax. Stress and critical or judgmental attitudes will stymie the process. So, whatever you do, try to incorporate a meditation (such as Zen meditation) or an awareness technique (such as mindfulness).
Recognize that you aren't your thoughts. For the Shadow work to be healing and liberating, you must first recognize that you are not your thoughts. Then, you'll be able to see the aspects of your Shadow for what they are, and you'll realize that they don't define you in the end: they're just mental phenomena that rise and fall.
Self-compassion is a good thing to practice.
Compassion and self-acceptance must be incorporated into shadow work practice. It's easy for the Shadow Broker to turn on you and make you feel bad if you don't love and understand yourself. So, concentrate on cultivating love for yourself; only then will you be able to let go of your shame and embrace your humanity.
Make a mental note of what you discover.
Keep a personal journal where you can write or draw your discoveries. You will learn and grow more effectively if you keep track of your dreams, observations, and analyses. You'll be able to keep track of your progress and make important connections as well.
Pay attention to how you're feeling.
You have power over what you give power to.
Pay attention to anything that surprises, disturbs, or turns you on in a secret way. In essence, this practice is about figuring out what you've unconsciously empowered in your life, because what we value, good or bad, says a lot about who we are.
The truth is that our reactions, or what makes us angry or distressed, reveal a great deal about ourselves. Observing your emotional reactions can assist you in determining how your major injuries affect you daily.
Express your shadow artistically
Art is the purest form of self-expression, and it's also a fantastic way to let your shadow emerge. Psychologists frequently use art to assist patients in exploring their inner selves.
Start by allowing yourself to experience dark emotions. Choose an artistic medium you like (such as pen and pencil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic paint, sculpture, etc.) and draw what you feel. It is not necessary to consider yourself an "artist" to benefit from this activity. You don't even need to plan what you will create. Let your hands do the talking: the more spontaneous the drawing, the better. Artistic expression can reveal a lot about your shadow. Jung was also famous for using mandalas in his therapy sessions.
Begin a project.
The act of creation can be excruciatingly frustrating, giving rise to darker aspects of your personality such as impatience, rage, competitiveness, and insecurity. Starting a project, on the other hand, allows you to experience feelings of fulfillment and joy.
Find something you'd like to start doing if you don't already have a personal project (like building something, writing a book, composing music, or mastering a new skill). You will be able to gain deeper insights by using awareness and exploration during the creation process.
Ask yourself, "What do I feel and why?" regularly.
Take note of the strong emotions that arise during the creation process, both positive and negative. You'll most likely be surprised by what you discover!
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work for Beginners is based on my in-depth research and personal experiences with shadow work, projection, sadomasochism, inner child healing, triggers, and all things shadow. This course is updated every year and gets new content at no additional cost.
Shadow Work for Relationships teaches you everything you need to know about attachment theory, practical inner work, and your dysfunctional behavior. By the end of this, you will have developed your earned secure attachment style so you can put an end to your cycle of bad relationships.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This short course goes over consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, and makes sense of why people are the way they are. Recommended for people dealing with resentment and self-hate. Learn more here.
Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Shadow Work Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Manifestation Manual: The Path of Least Resistance bundle teaches you some holistic and systems thinking along with how to mend your inner child wounds so you can align with your higher self and move forward in life. This includes 20 video clips as a free bonus.
Shadow Play (or “DsR”) is a small sister website that goes over “sensual” shadow work through my BDSM experiences. If you are 18+ and are interested, go here.