We All Have a
Everyone has a dark side or shadow self. The shadow self is
made of the parts of your personality that you have rejected as unacceptable
and stored in your unconscious. Entire cultures, societies, and organizations
have shadow sides. These can appear in many ways such as race bias, misogyny,
and power grabs. The shadow side shows up in many
religions as well. For example, in Christianity, the shadow is illustrated in
the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. In
Sufism, the shadow is referred to as the nafs of the lower self, the ego, the
animal nature, and base instincts. Buddhists speak of the negative emanations
of the mind. In Star Wars we are shown archetypes on a universal scale
with the shadow or dark side vs. the light, or the Force. Anakin Skywalker, the
Hero, was taken over by his shadow side and he became Darth Vader.
Revealing Your Shadow Side
Your shadow side can reveal itself in unexpected ways. Sometimes
you might seem to act out of character or witness this phenomenon in someone
else. You may be having a difficult time and try to suppress your exhaustion,
pain, or rage but suddenly it bursts out of you like a volcano even though you certainly
didn’t intend for that to happen. How often have you heard yourself say after
you said or did something out of character, “I’m not like that! That’s not me!
I can’t believe I did that! Why did I say that?”
What if you have felt pain and anguish repressed in your
soul for months? Years? A lifetime? Darkness kept stifled just continues to
grow. Many people can somehow deal with their pain without acting out in awful
ways, but some people just can’t resist the burgeoning darkness within, and it
overwhelms them. Every now and then we may witness or read news reports about
the nice, gentle, quiet guy or gal who just snapped and became violently
destructive. The tale of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” illustrates the essence of
this terrifying occurrence very well.
What is Shadow Work?
The way to prevent repressed pain from getting too big is to consciously drag the pain, fear, and shame out from the darkness of your unconscious mind where you’ve hidden it away and into the light where it can be observed, moved through, and healed. This is shadow work. It takes great courage to do this, but it is always rewarding. Carl Jung, who did amazing work on healing the shadow self, said that “Shadow work is the path of the Heart Warrior.”
Repressing Your Shadow
We frequently hide that which we cannot face in ourselves due
to shame, embarrassment, or fear. This often begins in childhood after being
told what is considered unacceptable behavior such as crying, expressing anger,
and perhaps then being punished for it. Children will exile these “bad”
thoughts and behaviors by banishing them into their shadow selves, where they
take root deep in the hidden corners of their minds. Hiding your shadow is a
form of repression. Repression of needs and feelings can lead to
self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. It can make you beat yourself up by
thinking and speaking negatively about yourself, and when you are cruelly harsh
to yourself, you may tend to be the same to others. It can create extreme
stress, anxiety, and depression. Anger that causes you to hurt yourself is
often described as depression turned inward.
The shadow self can make you behave impulsively in
self-destructive, self-sabotaging ways, often without warning. It can send you
spiraling into darkness so deep you’re frightened that you’ll never come back
out of it. You might not realize that you may often project your shadow side
onto other people and negatively judge them for the very same things you have
rejected in yourself. As you have seen, the darkness can grow and become
powerful, so it must be explored so your unconscious isn’t running your life.
Techniques to Work with Your Shadow
While you can do much of your shadow work on your own, and
meditation can be very helpful here, a good therapist can be a godsend while
exploring your dark side. Carl Jung explained it this way: “Until you make
the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life
and you will call it fate.”
For self-healing, the technique of observing can help. When you become angry or find yourself harshly judging others, check in and see if these feelings are not your own shadow coming up. If something triggers you and brings up strong emotion, take note, and keep track of these moments in a journal.
If someone asks you why you are so upset, and your instant
response is, “I don’t know,” this could be a sign that you are being influenced
by your shadow, for the reason is hidden deep within. It can help to backtrack
down the trail of actions and events that led you to the moment of stressful
upset. When you discover the reason, you will feel relief.
You may repress anger, which might lead to feeling walked
on, used, or abused, and you may feel unable to stand up for yourself. By doing
shadow work, you will find that what your shadow really wants is to protect
you. Thank your shadow for looking out for you, tell it you’ve got this, and
then safely channel your anger in constructive ways that help you stand up for yourself
and be your strong, authentic self.
Benefits of Shadow Work
You need your Shadow, for when it is integrated into you, it
empowers your inner Light! “There is no light without shadow and no psychic
wholeness without imperfection.” – Carl Jung
Doing shadow work can benefit you by helping you feel
integrated, whole, and powerful. It can help you feel more in control of
yourself. It can help better your interactions with others. It can help you
meet all your needs in a healthy way. It does wonders for healing deep inner
trauma. It can help you love all your parts. As you gain self-awareness, you
will learn to trust yourself more fully. You will be kinder to yourself and
others. Shadow work can help you stand up for yourself and draw needed
boundaries. As you heal from childhood trauma brought on by others, it will
help set you free from old wounds. It will assist you in being good to yourself.
It will certainly help you be an even better partner, co-worker, or parent.
How Can a Psychic Help?
Psychic readers are known for their ability to see deep
inside you, including that which may be hidden from your conscious mind. They can
peer into your shadow side and by doing so, bring light to your current life
situation. You may not even be fully aware of what it is they might uncover,
but some part of you will recognize the truth in it. Psychics also have a way
of seeing the very thing you’d rather they didn’t. They may bring up things
that have nothing to do with the questions at the forefront of your mind. In
Tarot cards, for example, The Moon, The Tower, and The Devil can often reveal
the underbelly of the shadow at work.
Every good reader enters your heart, mind, and soul with
lovingkindness, free of judgment, and will hold sacred the privacy of your
conversations, so there’s no need to be concerned about what is seen during
Much healing can come when a trusted advisor helps you to
see your shadow and act as a supportive witness and guide while working through
it. Working with both a therapist and a psychic reader can be richly rewarding.
When you are ready to explore your shadow so you may find
deep inner peace, balance, and healing, as well as free yourself from old pain,
our psychics are ready to assist you.
Come back next month to learn more about Shadow Work.
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