Whether you’re trying to battle your inner-demons or have a dark shadow that seems to follow you wherever you go, the reality is we all have them. Some of us more than others. We all have a dark side somewhere deep inside of ourselves.
If you let your “dark side”/”shadow” run wild your life can seem uncontrolled and chaotic. Classic shadow signs are anger, blame, and laziness, but it can also be expressed as insecurity, co-dependency, or even independence. These signs can manifest issues with mental health, addictions, negativity, and low self-worth; and left unchecked, these issues will begin to effect the overall quality of your life.
Disclaimer: The purpose here is to help and heal others.
Before delving further, I just wanted to include the disclaimer that I am not a mental health expert nor do I have a degree in psychology. I have read many books over the years to help me deal with some of the trauma that I have experienced in my life, and these books were on topics such as self-help, psychology, and spirituality. All of my readings have touched on the topic of dark sides, shadow work, and how it all goes together. I thought I would share more about what I have read and learned along the way so that I can help others who might be of need.
The idea of “Shadow” was popularized and studied by Carl Jung who is a 20th Century psychologist from Switzerland. According to him, “Shadow” refers to the hidden parts of our being. These are parts of ourselves that we may try to repress because they make us feel sad or vulnerable. This is a side we often do not show others. It can also indicate how we internally perceive ourselves as “being weak,” therefore we feel the need to hide certain parts of ourselves. Jung believed in the acknowledging our full self, including the shadow side, so that we can live in a balanced way.
Learning How to Confront Your Shadow:
My shadow is the fear of being vulnerable. I often avoid certain situations whether it is in the past or present; knowing that a situation may cause me to be placed in a vulnerable position, I would do anything in my power to avoid it at all cost. I think a part of it has to do with my upbringing and how I was raised. Although I’m not placing any blame on anyone in my family or those who have raised me, I was always taught that I have to be “good” all the time and showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I’m thankful that I am aware of my shadows because knowing the struggles and battles we had to fight in order to succeed makes our victories all the more meaningful. As crazy as it may sound, the pain and suffering we see in the world around us are often mirrored by our internal pain and suffering. It is only in facing our difficulties that true change can be made, and the hope of peace can prevail, inside and out.
Shadow work may seem counter-intuitive on the outside because you will have to face your pain instead of running away from it. The process works by allowing yourself to feel and understand the painful aspects of yourself, so they become fully integrated. I’ve learned that it takes courage, time, and an open heart to face your pain, but these tools learned along the way help in almost every other aspect of your life as well.
Shadow work is an introspective psychological practice that anyone can do and helps lead to a more fulfilling life. When working with your shadow, you may have a moment of spiritual awakening that lead to greater authenticity, creativity, and emotional freedom.
Some of the benefits that I have noticed in some areas of my life included: improved relationships through understanding yourself and accepting others, overall enhanced state of well-being and mood, better communication with others, ability to set boundaries in every aspect of life, and cease the cycle of self-destruction.
I wish that you all find your shadow and learn to work with it so we can all live a more balanced and more fulfilling life.
Serenity Sunday = Mediation Work