Overview of Shadow Work

shadow work overview

What Is The Shadow Side?

The shadow is a challenge of the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspect of the personality as present and real. This act is an essential condition for self-knowledge, and it is often met with considerable resistance. These shadows are repressed elements of the personality which we choose not to be identified with.

Shadows lurk in the deep recesses of the psyche. It is buried in the heart, in the mind; it is part of us. It follows us, it frightens us, and they come to us in different ways, but they always appear somewhere. The shadow is not a mere concept or a matter of perception. It is very real.

Just as there is light, there is also darkness. It is not possible to deny the shadow element. It is usually the worst side of a person. The courageous person may have a cowardly shadow. The kind, gentle and caring person may have a cruel side hiding behind all that softness. Even among the most benevolent, the most respected personalities and leaders in every field or endeavor, part of their shadow element peeks through their eloquence and their elegance. Do they really know themselves, or have they denied their shadow element? They may find their views, their words and their actions in conflict. This is not intentional and the internal shadow conflicts they fail to deal with come to surface at the worst moments.

Is it possible to ignore or avoid the shadow? When we are at the lowest point in our lives, shadows haunt us. It is that part of ourselves that we leave in the closet as we face the public and put our best foot forward. Hide them, deny them, suppress them, they will not vanish. Our actions may end up attracting these shadows into our lives in other ways.

Do shadows impact our lives? Do they mean anything? Shadows come in many forms. They can come as temptations, obsessions, addictions, co-dependency and other forms of indulgence. Shadows appear in the darkness cloaked in fear; shake us at our core. Shadows can also be shown as projections. It can be a dislike of certain traits in people, unjustified and unexplainable. We don’t like what we see; perhaps it mirrors parts of us that we choose to ignore or may not even be aware of.

Are you comfortable with your friends? If not, ask yourself, why do you hang out with them? Do you judge them harshly? If so, why do you share your precious time with them? Do you tend to make a compromise that you can not meet? What about when you get angry at the slightest provocation, at times, by the same person. There are times we look for our shadows in the face of other people. We even attract them into our lives. Buried deep, these shadows may drive us to places we dare not go.

Each person has their personal demons to deal with and to face, otherwise, it follows us in less conscious ways. There are lessons from the shadow element. To become aware of it, we need to go deeper into ourselves. We can take the good. Work with the bad, see the light, face the darkness without fear. Go within; let the fears and insecurities be buried deep within the surface. Confront the anger seething under the skin.

We are not perfect. No matter how many dark clouds hover above us, no matter how long the dark night is, light will surely come. These dark nights offer a chance to enrich and nourish our spirit, our soul and our lives. It helps us to align ourselves with our highest purpose. By striving for greater balance, endurance and perspective, we generate more personal power and strength.

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