Humans have two faces. The first face we show to the world – this face is called the ego. The second face we keep private – it is called the shadow. In fact, our shadow selves are so private that usually, we are not even aware of their existence.
There is a good reason why our shadows remain anonymous and locked away within the dark depths of our minds. Our shadows contain everything that is considered ugly, bad, shameful, weird, taboo or socially unacceptable.
Our shadows contain the parts of us that have been shunned, denied, rejected or otherwise negatively condemned by our parents, family members, and societies growing up.
In order to be loved and accepted, we learned as children to hide away those parts of ourselves that were not met with praise and approval, and adopt only those traits and behaviors that were met with open arms. Cutting off and burying certain parts of ourselves was a necessary part of our survival.
But there is one very significant downside to repressing parts of ourselves: they begin to fester and amplify, sabotaging our lives. Like hungry monsters clawing to get out of a dark basement, our shadows want to be brought into the light of consciousness.
Instead of learning to meet, acknowledge, and befriend our wounded parts, they become our mortal enemies. If you have ever felt at war with yourself or like you are your own worst enemy, it is because your shadows are controlling you, not the other way around.
If it’s not clear already, shadow work is the practice of exploring everything that is buried within you – whether light or dark, positive or negative. Through the simple (but often confronting) process of introspective journaling, you are taking a vital step towards living a more harmonious, joyful, whole, and meaningful life.
Signs You Have Met Your Shadow
The entire purpose of shadow work is to introduce you to your shadow. If you haven’t consciously explored your shadow self before, it is important that you know what to expect.
Please understand that everyone reacts more or less in the same way when encountering their dark side. To empower you with knowledge and perspective, here are some common signs that you have met your shadow :
* You sense a wounded presence * You feel guilt or shame * You may go into denial * You may want to project onto/blame others * Old memories resurface * You feel angry
* You feel tired/weak
It is 100% normal to experience any or all of these feelings and desires. Shadow work is an inner journey. With every step you take, you are creating more healing, more wholeness, and more freedom within your entire being.