The Importance of Shadow Work

Our shadow self is our dark side or the side of ourselves that we have denied. Most of us view this part of ourselves as negative and we don’t want to embrace it, but if you are on the path to spiritual fulfillment then shadow work is an important part of your journey.

When we neglect parts of ourselves that we view as undesirable we deny ourselves the ability to be whole. Shunning our darkness will not make it go away but it will make it that much harder for us to accept ourselves. Rather than deny the negative traits we should explore why we have them so we can overcome them and move towards being whole.

If we look at self-esteem there are many people who have either low self-esteem or are self-absorbed. Both are rooted in the belief that you aren’t good enough and that you need validation from others to show that you are worthy. It’s painful to visit the memories that created extreme feelings of ourselves but it is necessary to go over them so we can get to the root of the issue. These feelings are typically formed during childhood so part of the work in addressing them is meeting your younger self. The child within you is seeking your approval to know that you are worthy. Meet them and talk to them. Show them that whatever the situation was they are not at fault for the actions and words of others. Their worthiness is not reliant on what other people think and comes from their own self-acceptance and love.

Another aspect of our shadow selves are the things that we desire but deny ourselves. These are the things that bring us joy but we keep them buried or we don’t give them priority. You might enjoy singing but feel as though it’s unimportant because a career in singing is not practical or too difficult. This is a wrong approach because we should do the things that we love without the expectation that it will give us monetary gain. Our lives are more than our careers and the fulfillment we have should be from the things that bring us joy. 

In your work to bring yourself to wholeness, it is important to also forgive yourself for the hurt that you’ve caused yourself. This isn’t easy because you will have to address emotions and traumas that are buried deep within yourself. But, when you forgive yourself you will be able to free your emotions and put yourself on the path to wholeness. More than anyone you are worthy of your own love and affection, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel your love.

On our path to wholeness, we must consider our light and darkness and how we can integrate them. You cannot see your light if you have not embraced your darkness. When you dive into yourself and work through your pain and joy you will be able to truly be whole.

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow_ I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.” - C.G. Jung

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