I love shadow work. Shadow work changed my life and focus. Doing my shadow work freed me to be more forgiving, to open me to a bigger world and the possibilities it offers, and to be more accepting.
I love teaching about it.
Your shadows are those parts of yourself you have deemed unacceptable. Your shadow, your dark side or repressed part, contains all the parts of yourself that you resist, dislike, or try to hide. You often deny these parts of yourself. You probably have made it mean there was something wrong with you if you had these qualities.
A variety of situations create your shadows. You may have been hurt and learned to hide parts of yourself so that you would not get hurt again. You might have been turned down for a job you really wanted, so decided to not risk trying for anything again.
You stay stuck and live in limitation. Think of it like this - you are in one little square of a big gym floor. All your world is in that square while there is a whole big world out there worth exploring if you would unveil what’s keeping you stuck and hiding in your shadow.
You limit your opportunities and fun with life.
For me, my freedom came when I understood how the shadow works. I realized how hard I was working to be “perfect.” I chased being superwoman. I wanted to be the best person I could be. Nothing wrong with that except for my shadow was driving me instead of me choosing peacefully what I wanted. My drive was so I wouldn’t look “imperfect or less than” someone. I couldn’t see how blessed I was. I couldn’t enjoy the wonderful life I had and all the opportunities and situations I created for my life. I only noticed events showing be how imperfect I was because I couldn’t own not being perfect. It would just make me angry, frustrated or blaming how unfair life was when I saw someone having better jobs, better body or a better financial situations than I had.
No peace and lots of negativity.
So guess what I kept getting. Opportunities to show me, how imperfect I was.
What you resists, persists. Which means you get more of where your energy and focus go.
It’s a rat race. And, you don’t even know you are running on the endless hamster wheel.
The shadow rules your life. Shadows have power over you if you aren’t consciously aware of how it works.
Most people are running from them their whole life and don’t even know it. Trying to stuff it down, numb it (alcohol, drugs, food or sex) or stay angry, hurt or frustrated.
Until, you uncover and heal those parts of yourself life won’t change.
Shadow work is not a one and done, it is continuous life-long work. I know when I am triggered by something, like the person leading our country, that it is time for me to dig and see what that is about. See what I am disowning, denying or need help to be my greatest.
How does it work to begin the uncovering and healing process?
Notice where are you making judgments or are triggered by other people. Or are frustrated by their actions or demeanor. Then, list what bothers you about them. Once you list those qualities - like heartless, greedy and untrustworthy. Then look at where they might be showing up in your life. This part is easy to get in denial like you couldn’t have those qualities, but keep digging. For instance, whenever I am learning something new, I can be totally focused on the “task” and forget to make sure I am connecting with others and keeping my heart open to other’s feelings and needs. I am a taskmaster. But that can feel “heartless” so I must become aware of my tendencies. Yes, being a taskmaster can be good (thus why all qualities are neutral, both can be bad and good, depending upon how you use them) but it also can feel hurtful to others if I’m not aware of my behaviors. So by me labeling someone “heartless”, it is time for me to check in with myself and see where I might have slipped back to forgetting to include the heart connection.
Any anger or frustrations you might be feeling can be great reminders to see how you aren’t living up to your greatest and highest good. Check in with the messages they can bring to you at this point and time in your life.
Remember, those feelings are not really about them. They are mirroring something for you.
As Carl Jung reminds you, “Be conscious of your reactions to others’ actions and words - they usually say more about yourself than the other person.”
Shadow work is a tool to help you live a more loving, peaceful life and fulfilled life.
No quality is bad or good, it’s the meaning you give it that makes it bad or good. The idea behind shadow work is to integrate and neutralize the meaning you give words. Because then, your shadows are no longer controlling or running your life.
So just like for me, labelling someone heartless was for me to realize what I needed to look at in my life. I figured out the meaning for me at this time was if I want a heart-based business or life, that I must work on making more heartfelt decisions and not just be a taskmaster.
Shadows are mirroring what inner work is next for you to live a more fulfilled life. They are calling you to heal those parts of you that are troubling for you.
I am living proof that you can create the life you want when you release and integrate these disowned parts of yourself known as your shadows.
They will no longer have power over you!
Where in your life have you spotted something you don’t like or that is bothering you? An illness, tension or projection? Write out the qualities that are triggering you. Then, see how those qualities could help you in some way to make your life calmer, easier and successful.
I’d love to help you make meaning of the shadows in your life that are controlling you. You will be free. It’s a great feeling. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign-up at dottiehager.com for a discovery session.
P.S. I only referenced the dark shadow in this article. There is also that part of you that you have denied that could be hiding your light, your gifts and your greatness. I will continue there next week…