What is Shadow Work

What is shadow work? The practice of investigating unconscious characteristics is called Shadow Work, and it is something you do on your own. There are various ways to do this, but you must first recognize and accept your shadow before embracing and befriending it. You can only begin to live genuinely, uncover your inner wisdom and life purpose, and gain access to your Soul or Higher Self by bringing these characteristics to the surface.

Shadow Work

What is shadow work?

Shadows are the aspects of ourselves that we’ve rejected, hidden, and bury deep within our subconscious mind. Shadow work, she explains, is the act of bringing those unconscious shadows to our cognitive awareness so that they might be healed.

So, whence do we get our shadows? According to Massi, clouds arise when our brain classifies a traumatic encounter as such. “Anytime the brain feels something is too traumatic to hold on to,” she explains, “it represses it into the unconscious.” “It’s like hiding something that might be too frightening to face.”

We all have shadows because we’re all people who have been through some form of pain. A traumatic experience, according to Massi, can range from minor and seemingly insignificant events such as a friend at school telling you that you couldn’t sit with them at lunchtime, making you feel insufficient, or witnessing your parents fight and believing it was your fault, to significant trauma such as domestic violence or severe illness.

Even if we forget about the horrific event, as Massi claims happen frequently, it remains imprinted in the unconscious mind. It continues to affect our lives in ways we are unaware of.

According to Massi, various things might trigger emotions, physical reactions, and thoughts linked with the trauma as we move through life, forming patterns that make the world feel unsafe. Because of this, our decisions and actions may be impacted.

A shadow founded in fear of change, for example, can keep you stuck in a 9-to-5 job you don’t enjoy rather than seeking something new. Shadows, according to Massi, “alter how you see the future steps.” “It alters your actions because if you’re terrified of events, you’re less likely to engage in ones that could be dangerous.”

To put it another way, shadows keep us from doing the things we want to accomplish, and shadow work help us develop the confidence and sense of safety we need to achieve those things.

Advantages of shadowing

The Advantages of shadowing include:

1. Listening to your gut instincts

Depending on the kinds of things you’ve stuffed into your own shadow, shadow work may be able to assist you to connect with your intuition or more profound knowledge.

“You throw that into the shade,” says Swartz, if you were discouraged from using your intuition as a child—trusting your gut and inner compass.

2. Getting rid of your subconscious shadow

Our shadow effectively dominates us when we’re acting on an unconscious level. While addressing our shadow is difficult , it is also wonderfully liberating.

“It all sounds really terrible,” Swart says, “but it’s indispensable to raise it from unconscious to conscious, because then it won’t be able to govern you as it can when it’s suppressed.”

3. Self-awareness and acceptance of one’s own abilities

“People with poor self-esteem, interestingly enough, will often place wonderful aspects about themselves into their shadow because they don’t feel worthy of it,” Swart adds. In situations like this, shadow work allows us to reclaim the gifts that make us who we are but have been hidden.

4. Taking a step in the direction of self-actualization

You’re probably interested in your own development and personal progress if you’re reading about shadow work. And, according to Swart, shadow work is essential for everyone seeking fulfilment and self-actualization.

“To become the best version of yourself,” she continues, “you must first understand what the terrible elements are that are holding you back or that are concealed.”

5. Be on the lookout for the things that set your body off

“Everything that bothers us about others might bring us to an insight of ourselves,” said Jung. As you work on this project, you’ll become increasingly aware of the small things that trigger you and why. So keep your eyes peeled.

“If there’s something you’ve always wanted to accomplish and you see a friend do it,” Swart explains, “that generates shadows because it’s like, why does that person have it and I don’t?”

Shadow Work

6. Solicit assistance from others

Shadow work is never easy, especially if you’ve experienced a traumatic experience. If thinking about your shadow sides causes you anguish, misery, or terror that you don’t know how to handle, it’s time to seek treatment from a competent professional.

Caraballo says, “I think it’s crucial for anyone undertaking shadow work to have things that make them feel grounded and welcomed.” “While a nonjudgmental therapist may help, we also need our own tools to help us reaffirm and embrace ourselves while we confront the more challenging feelings and pieces of ourselves.”

There are numerous approaches you can take, all of which are valid. Caraballo suggests grounding exercises, affirmations, and therapeutic writing as a few examples.

Shadow Work Exercises And Prompts

To get started with shadow work, try the following exercises and prompts:

1. Consider someone who irritates you

“What we find most disgusting or difficult in others is one way the shadow shows up for us,” Caraballo explains. “These images are frequently a reflection of aspects of ourselves that we find repulsive.”

So, he argues, a good place to start with shadow work is to consider someone who irritates you and reflect on what it is about that person that may also be present within you.

To figure this out, he suggests asking oneself kind questions like:

  • What is it about this person that makes me dislike them?

  • Do I see that I have some of those similar characteristics from time to time?

  • What makes being with them so difficult?

  • When I’m around that individual, what parts of myself do they enliven? And what do I think of that aspect of myself?

2. Examine your ancestors

Swart also suggests examining your family history as a way to get your feet wet with shadow work.

“Put your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents on a family tree to see how they all relate to each other and to you.,” she continues, “because they’re the generations above you whose characteristics—good and bad—might be in you.” Swart uses the example of “I love my family, but one of my uncles drinks too much” to illustrate the importance of this behavior.

The next stage is to examine all of the attributes that are present in your family and determine if any of them exist in you.

3. Face down your shadow

Another practice is to contemplate and confront your own shadow. Once you’ve gotten a clear (or at least reasonably clear) picture of the components of your shadow self, you may start facing and releasing them with affirmations.

The Affirmation that you will faced are as follows:

  • I release the darkest gloom that has been hidden within me.

  • I let go of my fears, my doubts, my humiliation, and my uncertainty.


Looking into the aspects of ourselves that we hide away will teach us some of the most valuable things we will ever learn in this life. We progress immensely when we can bring our darkness to the surface, heal, and integrate those lessons into our lives. After all, Jung observed, “Without pain, there is no coming to consciousness.”

Shadow Work

Shadow work has a spiritual dimension

  • According to Sweeton, Shadow work might feel like soul-care for some people, and it can help those around you.

  • Sweeton explains, “If you can [connect with yourself and soul], and you may access elements of yourself that you can’t see, and that may allow you to feel a greater spectrum of emotions that you can use to enhance yourself and serve others.”

  • For example, Sweeton claims that embracing your anger rather than rejecting it might lead you down a path where you channel your energy into opposing injustice.

  • Sweeton says, “You may channel your rage in a more good way to effect change in the world.”

  • Some therapists believe that the insights gained from shadow work are spiritual in nature.


People with poor self-esteem will often place wonderful aspects about themselves into their shadow. Consider someone who irritates you and reflect on what it is about them that may also be present within you. Some therapists believe that the insights gained from shadow work are spiritual in nature.

Confirm Your Authority

Finally, recognizing your ability to accomplish the work is an excellent method to practice shadow work. Affirmations assist you in programming your subconscious mind with more positive beliefs. You can write your own or get ideas from one of the following.

Try repeating each affirmation three times while looking in the mirror with your monodominant eye (if you’re right-handed, that’s your left eye, and vice versa). You want to receive the affirmations with your “receptive” regard.

Plus, looking at one eye is a lot easier than looking at both. You may also make your commitments your phone backdrop, write them down on a sticky note and put it in your mirror, or whatever else comes to mind.

Shadow Work

Affirmations Of Shadow Work

Here are some affirmations for shadow work that I like, but feel free to make your own!

  • I combine all aspects of myself by transmuting my shadow.

  • I am firmly rooted in my authority, directed by all aspects of my truth.

  • I’m a terrible b*tch, a powerful witch, and I own every aspect of myself.

  • I respect and love my shadow; I respect and love my whole self.

  • My shadow is simply a portion of me that requires more attention and mending.

  • I repair my heart and dive deeper into love as I heal my shadow and integrate it into the light.

How To Find Your Shadow Self?

Question 1 What quality do you most like about yourself?
Question 2 What is the negative opposite of that quality? (That is your shadow)
Question 3 What is the gift of your shadow?

Illustrations of the Shadow

  • Your parents didn’t value what you had to say when you were a kid. Little you concluded that your opinions don’t matter, so you stay silent, so your parents don’t blame or criticize you. This feature continues to evolve, and you learn to repress your ideas and develop a fear of speaking up, particularly in school and subsequently in the workplace or on social media.

  • Or perhaps you learnt not to eat all of the desserts on the table for fear of being labelled a glutton. Or you learnt not to be as loud, wild, and free in your expression as a child to avoid being labelled as obnoxious.

  • In both circumstances, you may evaluate others for the same reason, such as being obnoxious or greedy.

  • In my case, my family of origin is not particularly creative in their expression, so when I created things as a youngster, I didn’t receive the praise I deserved from my parents, leading me to believe that I wasn’t creative enough and that my intentions were not good enough.

  • This resulted in my never sharing my photography/films with anyone and a lack of confidence in my abilities; I wanted to, but lacked the confidence to apply to film/photography school.

  • You see yourself feeling envy when you read through Instagram and see someone celebrating a six-figure product launch, or having just purchased a fabulous beach house, or getting married to their perfect spouse. Or it might be sadness. And you condemn or pass judgement on them. “Oh, look at them flaunting their big-money egos” or “Who needs such a big property in the first place?” or “Well, we all know how many marriages end in divorce, so I’m sure they won’t last long.”

It’s the part of you that wishes for the same thing yet lacks it. It’s the section that’s in a state of scarcity. It’s the part of you that’s angry because you grew up in a poor home, or because your parents split when you were seven, or because you grew up in a small apartment with two siblings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

People asked many question about “what is shadow work” few of them were discussed below:

1. What does shadow work entail?

Shadow work entails connecting with the elements of yourself that you’ve suppressed, or what some refer to as your “dark side.” According to therapist Akua Boateng, Ph. D., “shadow work” entails “delving into the unconscious stuff that influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.”

2. Is it simple to work as a shadow?

Solicit assistance from others. Shadow work is never easy, especially if you’ve experienced a traumatic experience. If thinking about your shadow sides causes you anguish, misery, or terror that you don’t know how to handle, it’s time to seek treatment from a competent professional.

3. What can I anticipate from shadowing?

Shadow work is an inner alchemical process in which you bring your undesired parts to the surface to purify, heal, and integrate them into yourself. Your shadow isn’t and isn’t to be embarrassed about or to despise. It merely indicates that you have work to do and that you need to love yourself more.

4. Where do I look for my shadow self?

It would help if you had some psychological mindedness to discover your shadow. That is, you must be able to look inside yourself and ponder the key components of yourself that support your self-concept and version of reality. After that, consider what makes you defensive.

5. What is shadow work so difficult?

Because of the resistance, shadow work is exceptionally challenging. Examining oneself and facing what has happened in one’s life’s the other hand, frees a person to make changes and harness the abundance of energy that had been trapped in shadow.

6. What do you mean by shadow behaviors?

Shadow Behavior is an adverse reaction to events, people, and situations that is often automatic, unintended, and unconscious. Shadow Behaviors change from person to person. You might defend yourself, reject change, manipulate people, or be hostile.

7. What are shadow emotions, and how do you recognize them?

The shadow (also known as the id, shadow aspect, or shadow archetype) is an unconscious part of the personality that the conscious ego does not recognize in itself, or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e. everything of which a person is not fully aware in analytical psychology.

8. Does your shadow alter over time, and if so, under what conditions?

Its form always determines the shape of an object’s object. On the other hand, the size and shape of the shadow can change. The position of the light source causes these shifts. We can see how our shadows shift throughout the day when we are outside on a sunny day.

9. For how long should I shadow?

Take five or ten minutes at the end of the day to think about your interactions with others and your reactions to them. Whatever irritates you in someone else is most likely a hidden part of yourself.

10. Is shadow work similar to therapy?

Shadow work proponents claim that it can help adults heal generational trauma, reconsider the signals they send their children, manage with emotions in more constructive ways, and feel more whole. Although shadow work is best done in therapy, you can complete some exercises on your own.


People who have poor self-esteem usually cast negative aspects of themselves under darkness. Consider someone that irritates you and what it is about them that you find frustrating. Shadow work, according to some therapists, yields spiritual insights.

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