Brenda Nicholson

Travel Over to the Dark Side with Me

Nothing scary here, except your demons.

We all have them — the things about ourselves that we’re not so proud of. We can ignore them or we can face them. Learning to deal with them is what shadow work is about.

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, came up with the term “shadow self” and shadow work emerged from that.

Your shadow self is often formed in childhood.

You may be scolded for a certain behavior or labeled in some way and it sticks. As an adult, your ego doesn’t want to acknowledge that part of you. But facing those parts of yourself and working with them can be very powerful.

You may find that you believe things about yourself that aren’t true.

You can do shadow work on your own or with a therapist. If you feel afraid, overwhelmed, or intimidated, it is best to work with a professional.

Start looking for strong feelings or reactions. Maybe something you feel about yourself or something you dislike in others. You can also find journal prompts that may help.

Expect the work to take a while and to be hard.

Journal about your feelings. Old memories may pop up; record them.

You might get resistance. Your ego has been hiding this out of shame.

That’s OK. You’re after the truth of who you are. You’ll get there.

I remember this, from Carl Jung:

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

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