Today, we are bringing those pesky shadows, those dark sides of our self, into the light. From my previous blog posts we spoke about different aspects about discovering your shadows, now we are going to bring it into the light and embrace or release these sides of ourselves.
Now that we've discovered those shadowed pieces of ourselves, we can now figure out how to either release these traits, or embrace them and bring them further into our essential selves. You may be asking, but Michele, why would I want to incorporate a negative trait into myself.
We all have sides that we hide, some are negative that need to be released and healed. There are others though that are actually positive parts of ourselves that we were told, maybe when we were children, that they weren't appropriate or positive traits. We then stuffed them into a box to try and be 'normal' and have kept them hidden away because we were negatively conditioned to believe they were 'bad'.
Review the list of your negative, or shadow traits from the previous discovery exercises we discussed. Now separate them out - those that you need to truly heal and release, and others that you need to embrace and integrate into your self.
For example - one trait might be you were told that you were too 'extra' by your parents or teachers. That you needed to bring your bold personality down a notch. However, that is a part of your unique self that you've been squashing for your whole life. It might be time to embrace that side of you, and bring it to light. Another example might be you get overly frustrated with people who are indecisive and lash out at them. Do you see that you are actually indecisive and hate this own aspect within yourself?
Once you've separated the two types of shadows, you can work towards bringing them to the light. Both types use similar tools - as you need to peel back the layers to see why you have that shadow. Journaling about them is one of the best ways to start. It allows you to freely write without needing to censor yourself. You dig deeply into the root cause, and peel back all the layers of yourself.
Another way is by embodying the trait. Write statements down about your shadow from first person perspective and see what comes up. These can be simple, such as I am Jealous. Then continue to write, what are you jealous of? Keep going, uncover the root of your shadow.
Once you know the root, you can figure out how best to heal it. It can be forgiving yourself, or someone else for making you feel like you couldn't express yourself fully. It can be seeing a therapist to delve into the root cause and let it go. It can even be as simple as now that you have the awareness of your shadow, you integrate it and stop limiting that side of you.
I hope you found this series about shadow work helpful. If you'd like to find out more, working with your shadow, you can check out some great books on the subject:
Owning your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of Psyche by Robert A. Johnson
Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature by Connie Zweig
Remember, if you ever need anything, I'm here to help.
Until next time,