What is Shadow Work?Apr 20, 2022
What is Your Shadow?
We are all born with a “blank” canvas. But as you grow up, you learn how to fit into your family and society as a whole. Your canvas starts to get color. It gets the colors of your beliefs about yourself, those around you and the world.
During your first 7 years of life, your brainwaves are still in theta mode. Which means you are in a hypnotic state and any information you receive during this time is dumped into your subconscious mind. Based on this information, you develop your self-image, your habits and your beliefs.
Nobody grows up in a perfect home and all of us end up having some beliefs about ourselves that are not really supporting us to have a good life. Take for example the saying "kids should be seen, not heard". This is a view that has been widely upheld for many generations.
When, as a child, you are told to keep quiet, you learn to stop using your voice and expressing yourself. You learn that you are only accepted when you stay quiet as expected. You also often learn you are only allowed to talk when you repeat what others want you to say. This creates blockages in your throat chakra and create what is called your shadow.
You might become very shy, speak with a soft voice, always say what others want to hear etc. You might also easily become upset when somebody speaks with a loud voice or is outspoken. All of these reactions come from deep rooted subconscious beliefs that were created through your life.
What is Shadow Work?
Shadow work is about bringing the unconscious into the conscious. It is to find and become aware of your thoughts, feelings and subconscious beliefs. It is all those stories you tell yourself about yourself. Once you are aware of them you can evaluate and then decide if they are supporting you in your life or holding you back.
Becoming aware is the biggest and often most difficult part of the process. You need to start living consciously, aware of your unconscious. When you do this you also have to lovingly embrace the negative parts about yourself and decide what to do with them.
Benefits of Shadow Work
Gain more confidence and self-esteem
When you do shadow work, you don’t only discover your negative parts. Very often, we are so used to suppressing everything that we even suppress our good parts. With shadow work, you will also find your strengths, increase your self-esteem and gain more confidence.
Raise your vibrations
According to the David Hawkins scale of Enlightment, you can raise your consciousness through raising your vibrations. In his book, Letting Go, he describes the various levels of consciousness and how to let go of the obstacles (your subconscious beliefs) and become free of negativity.
As you gain more self-awareness and start healing, you will be able to experience a deeper connection with yourself, those around you and any Higher power you believe in.
Ways to do Shadow Work
Start a daily habit of journaling. You can decide to use specific prompts or choose to do free writing. Don’t judge what you are writing and don’t hold back.
Affirmations are a powerful tool for self-development. Notice what you are feeling in your body when doing affirmations and discover subconscious beliefs that are not in agreement with your affirmations. This will guide you to areas in your life you need to work on.
We have thousands of thoughts every day. Most of the time we are completely unaware of all of our thoughts. During meditation, you observe your thoughts to become aware of them without judgement. You can also use meditation to let go of those thoughts.
Work through the chakras
Each of the main chakras relates to specific parts of your life. Working through your chakras will show you which areas of your life you need to heal on a deeper level.
Work with someone
Work with a coach or therapist to gently guide you through the process of discovering and empowering yourself.
To live authentically you need to discover, know and accept yourself. All of yourself. When you do this, you will improve your mental health and well-being and be able to live in compassion with others. You can accept their shadow and who they are without judgment like you accept your own.
Doing shadow work is an important part of personal growth. It might not always be easy but the reward is always worth it.