They say the dark side has cookies, but perhaps people shouldn’t need to be bribed with sweets in order to embrace their shadow selves. Indeed, many people prefer to ignore or bury the part of themselves that thinks about death, hurt, and loss, yet everyone has a shadow self. As it turns out, working to accept and embrace your dark side could actually help you feel generally happier and more at peace.
So, what is shadow work? This term was originally coined by Carl Jung, who proposed that each person has a shadow self and this is the part of oneself where one files away negative experiences or unmet needs. Shadow work, then, is intentionally thinking about and facing these negative things that we otherwise ignore. This technique can be done out loud or written in a journal.
The five main steps of shadow work are:
1. Pick a topic (shadow) of focus. What unresolved issue or unmet need weighs on you?
2. Invite the shadow to have a conversation, without judgement.
3. Begin a dialogue with the shadow. Ask it “What do you want? What’s the positive outcome you’re trying to accomplish?”
4. Acknowledge the shadow as a part of you.
5. Integrate the shadow by imagining the issue has been healed and resolved. Embrace that sense of resolution.
Are you ready to begin embracing your shadow self? We found this video above online to get your started. We believe in you!
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