Shadow work has become an increasingly hot topic lately. There’s a lot of talk about integrating your shadow but what does that really mean?
The term originated back in early 1900s by a psychologist named Carl Jung. In his research he found that our subconscious holds many, many memories, or programming from a young age (0-7). And throughout life, we tend to operate from these programs in a completely unconscious way which has the potential to create a lot of painful experiences.
A lot of it is what learned as a child from our parents. At very early ages we knew what made our parents either happy or angry. And as a form of survival we learned what and how we needed to be to make them happy so they would take care of us. We did this purely for survival. As we got older, We began to observe from our classmates what we needed to do to be liked by our peers. This stuck with us throughout our teen years and into adulthood. We each create what is a called a persona. A version of our programmed selves that we think other people will like in order to be accepted.
But - is this persona who we truly are at our core? When we begin to delve into shadow work, our whole sense of self gets rocked. We have been led to believe that any type of negative feeling is “bad” and being happy is “good”. The thing is, these bad feelings or traits developed do have a purpose. Shit, we were even born with some. Have you ever seen a baby get angry? I bet you have. Anger isn’t bad, it is inherent, and in certain instances, is not a “bad” thing. These feelings help us to rise up in times of adversity and reclaim our power.
Throughout life we may find ourselves triggered time and time again. It could be something someone says, it could be a sound, even a smell. But whatever the trigger is, it’ll set you off. Be it sadness, hopelessly, rage... the trigger will leave you feeling some kind of way. And one thing it’s not is feeling like you are in control. When you are susceptible triggers, anyone or anything can set you off at anytime. And a lot of the times we just go with it until it passes, be it 5 minutes or maybe we end up stewing over it for the entire day or even week. Yes, life is challenging and we are ultimately here to clear karma and learn but that doesn't mean we have to suffer through it.
In shadow work we become like detectives unto ourselves. We started to dig and peel back layers. Those triggers? They are a pathway to healing and ultimately freedom. We begin to feel our hidden feelings, befriend and ultimately integrate them.
Shadow work is not for the faint of heart. It highlights feelings we have bottled up for in some cases our entire lives. Shadow work will turn your life upside down and then very calmly put it all back together. There’s a certain degree of inner work that needs to be done before the practice of shadow work can begin. It is not necessarily for someone that is feeling emotionally raw and unbalanced.
If you are tired of the merry-go-round and want to learn more about shadow work, comment below and check out my four week shadow integration course called Release here.