What does your shadow self look like? The answer: It depends on the context.
Sometimes your shadow can show up in your dreams. Other times it might show up in your daydreams, or your imagination.
In either case, the only reason your shadow ever surfaces is that it wants to bring a thought or belief into your awareness.
Understand that your shadow self is the side of yourself that you’ve rejected since childhood. It’s the other half of your personality that you don’t associate yourself with.
However, your shadow lives within the vast unconsciousness. It knows more than you know.
It’s the source of all your creativity, intuitions, and interests. While at the same time it’s the source of your desire for destruction and sadomasochism.
When your shadow has been invalidated and repressed for too long, it will try to reach out to you. But since it is part of the unconscious, by its very nature, it can only reach you indirectly.
You can read more about how your shadow impacts your life in our Shadow Work Guide.
For the purposes of this article, you’re wondering if what does your shadow self looks like.
The shadow’s appearance may vary.
In dreams, it usually shows up as a person that you’ve seen before, who is the same sex as you.
Typically, you’ll want to reject its form and stay away from it. You might also get this feeling that it wants your attention and that it’s going to chase after you.
This doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily scary. The form it takes will be completely dependent on the message it’s trying to surface and bring to your attention.
So what your shadow self looks like varies on a case-by-case basis. Most times you won’t even recognize it as your shadow.
My experience seeing what my shadow self looks like
When I saw my shadow self, I found it to be startling and even disturbing.
It didn’t come to me in a dream. Instead, it came to me as a sort of vision.
It just happened to me one day while I was taking a shower. As I was scrubbing myself an image popped into my head,
Which is typically how the shadow operates. It likes to bring up images from your unconscious, and then it’s up to you to decipher them.
However, I am NOT a visual thinker. At all. So this was very surprising to me.
When I think, I don’t think in pictures. Instead, I think in words, or I hear a voice saying the words that I expect to hear.
So seeing this image left me startled.
I still remember it now. It was a big, shadowy blob with two huge, round eyes staring directly at me. Its pupils were surrounded by white and it had a giant smile with a full set of white teeth.
That image surfaced into my consciousness for only a few seconds, but it stuck with me.
My first assumption was that I just had a weird thought. But because I’m more intuitive and I like to consider extraordinary possibilities, I started to consider that the image was me.
I considered it, but then I let it go. It made me uncomfortable. So I didn’t accept it as my shadow self at the time.
But now if I were to give it an identity, I would say that it was me. It was very black and very dense.
This was before I “formally” met my shadow.
Now that doesn’t mean that your shadow self is going to look like mine.
I’m just letting you know that it can show up in any form. But typically it will be the same sex as yourself. And it will show up either in some random daydream or in your dreams while you sleep.
It doesn’t hurt for your first assumption to be that this entity is actually you. Especially if your first reaction is to stay away from it and not accept it.
If you think that you see your shadow, I’d consider looking deeper into the meaning of the vision/dream it came in. Try to decipher what it’s trying to tell you. And if you can’t interpret it, because the unconscious is notoriously metaphorical and counter-intuitive, then I suggest you do Shadow Work.
Consider what parts of yourself you haven’t been validated in a while.
Take some time to practice some techniques or write journal prompts to build a relationship with your unconscious.
Because the fact that your shadow is trying to contact you directly is a sign that you need to give it attention and see what it’s trying to point at.
Because remember the shadow is still a part of you, and it has access to your higher Self. I recommend using active imagination to try and get in touch with it.
You can learn how to use active imagination in my Inner Child Healing Guide.
Check out the Shadow Work Course here.