Are you wondering why is shadow work so hard?
Shadow work comes more naturally to some people. The people who do best with shadow work are those who are inclined to be intuitive or emotional. People who are very logical or those who don't think beyond superficialities will struggle to do shadow work.
Before I get more into why shadow work is hard, let's go over some key ideas.
What is shadow and what is shadow work?
The shadow is the side of yourself that's disconnected and unfelt. It's the part of yourself that's been rejected since childhood and you have no awareness of.
Shadow Work is integrating the entire spectrum of your being. It's the intentional process of admitting the parts of yourself you've ignored and repressed.
The shadow is the embodiment of potential that you’ve cast away and now need to integrate.
Admitting you have an unconscious shadow is the first step to be able to “see” it voluntarily.
Integrating the shadow, without biting off too much, is the real challenge. You want to start cultivating these shadow qualities in a safe and ritualized way in your waking life.
Why is Shadow Work so hard?
You aren't ready for shadow work.
People are typically "called" to do shadow work when their time comes. This is usually around a time of tragedy. Because tragedy is essentially becoming aware of the shadow when it’s already too late to do anything about it.
This isn't always the case, but it's the typical experience for people who have gone too long without looking accurately within.
As you go through life you will enter and exit several phases. During your earliest phases, you won't be able to do any substantial shadow work since it requires life experience and enough time for retrospection.
In other phases, you actually can't bother to look within because you are too preoccupied with life outside of yourself. This is incredibly necessary since the outer world portrays itself as more pressing than your inner world.
You are in a stage of life where you are focused on your ambitions.
In the past, it was men who were expected to "go out in the world" and "bring home the bacon". This means that having ambition and pursuing materialistic success was typically an expectation of men.
Currently, society is growing more inclusive in having women pursue professional ambitions. Where before they were expected to pursue marriage and be a housewife.
This phase of ambition and "arriving" involves people focusing more on materialistic success. You will continue to look outside of yourself and how it will help you achieve your goals.
It is also during this phase of life that the sexes objectify one another. Because by objectifying the other sex as mere bodies for sexual pleasure, you can go on building your life and working towards your success largely undistracted.
Obviously, everyone does this to varying degrees. But understand that there is typically a phase of focusing outside of oneself before looking within.
The people who were lucky enough to look within, without having to first achieve something in their outer lives are those who didn't feel the expectations of society, or family, to make something of themselves.
You are currently young and still "shadow making".
People who are in their early twenties and younger are still considered to be in their formative years. Not only have their brains not fully developed, but they are still learning "who they are not".
Shadow work is integrating the abandoned parts of yourself that you've left behind. However, those who are still young are in the midst of their "shadow making".
This means that they have yet to abandon the parts of themselves that they would be integrating.
Chances are, they are still too young and haven't had the time and experience away from home to have a more accurate view of their childhood home life.
Which is necessary to do when you explore your inner child and related inner work topics.
You are very logical and haven't embraced your emotional side yet.
As of now, men are typically more logical and women are more emotional (or so it goes).
What you'll notice is that women tend come into ideas of synchronicity, inner work, Oneness, etc. far earlier than men typically do.
My guess is that women in society are much more prejudiced in the most inclusive way. Meaning that they are usually more open to ideas of mysticism and have more compassion in global ongoings.
This line of thinking opposes the typical masculine quality of discrimination. Not in an oppressive sense. But more discriminatory in a deductive and reasoning sense.
This overreliance on logic tends to brush aside more emotional and intuitive topics.
Developing masculinity that allows for softness will bring an openness towards topics such as shadow work.
You have very little intuitive sense, so you scoff at inner work.
In other words, you're a "low consciousness" person. To be honest, you wouldn't even be reading this material if you were.
But people who are very low consciousness tend to be those who live in a delusion of perpetual power struggles and a "high-school" mentality. Despite being a fully grown adult...
These are people who never developed the spiritual depth necessary to perform shadow work, or even self-reflection.
They don't even realize how unhappy they are in their current perspective of the world.
What does the inner shadow want?
All your shadow wants is to be honored and its desires validated. But because much of what it wants isn't socially appropriate, you aren't able to nourish its demands 24/7.
For example, your shadow has a natural desire towards sadomasochism, power, destruction, and sexuality. But if you ran around doing all of these things willy-nilly you would quickly find yourself behind bars.
Instead, you need healthy outlets to express these desires safely. That's why I've done some research and found several shadow work exercises and techniques a beginner can do to validate their unconscious shadow.
What you can do instead to manage your unconscious desires
Shadow work means building a higher awareness of yourself. You do this because you want to manage your unconscious and how far it influences your life.
The following is a list of activities you can do to express typical shadow desires so you don't necessarily have to do any self-inquiry and introspection (for the time being).
I still recommend you learn the deepest truths about yourself. But until then, here are activities you can do to manage your unconscious desires:
- Read books that resonate or allow you to live vicariously
- Have a laugh to discover where your shadow desires reside
- Be useless if you are useless
- Embrace solitude if you are needy
- Write in a shadow work journal
- Engage in competition to express your desire to dominate
- Create something to express the shadow desire to "play God"
- Criticize others, preferably in privacy, to show you honor your own thoughts
- Express gratitude for what you have; you'd be surprised how your unconscious prevents you from moving forward for not being grateful
To get a better understanding of why these activities can help manage your unconscious desires, read:
- How Sadomasochism is Ruling Your Life Without Your Permission
- Shadow Work Exercises & Techniques for Beginners.
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work Course 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. Learn more here.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This short course goes over topics such as 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 related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Manifestation Series (FREE) teaches you holistic thinking, systems thinking, and how to mend your inner child wounds so you can align with your higher self and move forward in life. This series is made up of video clips originally posted on TikTok.
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.