We all have a light side and a dark side. Neither is better or worse than the other. Each needs the other to thrive. Our shadow side is what we don’t like to look at; we keep it put away in the darkest corner of our being. This is all the anger, jealousy, hatred, shame, bitterness in us. This is where our childhood traumas and limiting beliefs hide. This is the negative traits or aspects in us.
Shadow work is a journey of exploring these dark, hidden parts of yourself, learning how they have developed, and accepting them as part of you. Doing shadow work creates balance in us; instead of keeping yourself divided in two, you become one in yourself. This is true unity and self-acceptance. To fully accept yourself, that means accepting all of your dark traits and aspects. Accepting may not mean loving; you may not love this dark side of you (yet), but you can still acknowledge it, learn about it, and understand it’s a part of you that needs extra care.
Accept the shadow, instead of resisting
Resisting your shadow is resisting yourself. The parts of yourself that you deem “wrong”, “bad”, or “unlovable” are the most deserving of love. When we deny parts of ourselves, it creates more inner chaos and dysfunction. When we stop judging our human self so harshly, and instead accept our whole self, we can experience the most harmony. We can stop fighting ourselves and move into a space of ease, gentleness, and compassion. Once we move into this open space, we can then look at our shadows objectively and from a detached state. Be curious about yourself.
Let’s say you have a shadow in you that believes she is unworthy of love:
How did this shadow develop?
When did it develop?
Who made you feel unlovable?
Was there a specific event in your life that may have led to this?
You can acknowledge that a deeper part of you feels unworthy of love, and also acknowledge that this is not true, nor is it a belief that is serving you. The truth is that you are worthy of love for simply existing. Love is a basic need. You need love to survive and thrive. Knowing and believing that you are worthy and deserving of love will lighten you up, releasing shame and heaviness. This is how the shadow can be transmuted and integrated. Imagine the different situations and people you can now attract with this new understanding of your shadow self. A world of love and acceptance!
Becoming self-aware and seeking to deeply understand yourself is key. Understand that the shadows may have developed as a response to handling uncomfortable situations, or a way to protect yourself, or a way to cope. With this knowledge, we can look at this darker part of us and show it compassion. Release judgement of the negative aspects and emotions in you, accept them as natural experiences in human life. You can keep fighting your shadow, or become friends with it. Do you want an inner world of peace or chaos? Do you want division or unity? Accept, don’t resist.