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Shadow Work is the process of reaching deep down inside to the darkest parts of yourself, and shining a light on them.
You’re choosing to look at all of the things in your personality that get triggered by certain situations, words, or behaviors in other people, and figure out why that happens.
When you do shadow work, you choose to stand face to face with all of the ugliest parts of yourself with an open mind, and an open heart.
Shadow work can be extremely hard.
If you choose to start this journey, understand that you’ll be facing bouts of roller-coaster like emotion. When you uncover things about yourself that you had previously kept buried, you tend to release these emotions.
It often comes as a total surprise, but when you’ve hit that emotional trigger, you know you’ve gotten somewhere.
Anger, uncontrollable crying, a deep sense of peace; these are all things that can and will happen as you uncover each layer of past trauma.
Which brings me to my next point.
The reason you have certain triggers, or types of behavior, is because you’ve experienced some sort of event that you’ve buried in your psyche.
You learned to deal with this traumatic event by using certain coping mechanisms, et voila! You have behavioral triggers.
A traumatic event doesn’t have to be huge, or life altering to create a trigger.
It could be something as simple as watching your mom, whom you love and idolize dearly, put herself down once because she doesn’t like her thighs. All of a sudden you have a life-long hate for your thighs.
Or, your trauma could be monstrous. You could have experienced a horrific event in your life that has caused you to never trust another human being again.
It can be soul wrenching, and I suggest you have a trusted family, friend, or psychiatrist to talk to after sifting through something especially hard.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a Doctor or Psychiatrist. I am in no way offering advice, and cannot be held liable for any harm caused by this information. The possible traumatic scenarios you could have experienced are endless, and each of you should proceed with extreme caution when approaching your own shadow work.
How can you start your shadow work?
There are so many things you can do. I started by meditating, and focusing on a different chakra point every day. There are tons of informational sources out there for how to heal meditatively.
You could also start by doing something like printable journal exercises, that you can get here.
You could talk to a therapist.
You could try hypnosis.
There’s no right or wrong way to start your shadow work. It’s just whatever works best for you.
Why revisit traumatic events if it’s going to be so emotional, and hard?
Good question. So many people choose not to because it can be such a difficult process. They choose to live with the ghosts of their past instead.
The reason some people choose to do the work is because these events or behaviors have shaped them in some way that has made it hard to get on with their lives.
Someone might be having a hard time connecting with their spouse because they don’t trust them, even though they know their spouse is trustworthy.
Another person might be tired of looking in the mirror and hating what they see.
Still another person might want to stop feeling judged by everyone, even when people aren’t actually judging them.
Shadow work is for people who are aware that they have these behavioral triggers, and they want to find a way to work with them, instead of against them. It is a way to find healing and acceptance of your past, and yourself.
It is the ultimate healing experience.
When you start this process, understand that you are probably never going to be finished with it. Shadow work lasts for your entire life.
Every time you have reached another layer of acceptance, and understanding of yourself, there is almost always another layer underneath, waiting to be explored.
Don’t get discouraged. It is extremely rewarding work!
You will find that you will start to love yourself and your life more. Just start slowly, and be sure to take plenty of time to process each new revelation.
Don’t forget to practice self-care in between.
Take a hot bath. Quietly sip your coffee or tea in your favorite chair. Do whatever you do to relax and give yourself the space to just be. It’s so important to do this because it can help you process everything.
You deserve a better, happier life. You deserve to heal.
Don’t be afraid to start your own shadow work process.
In the meantime, happy healing friends!!