Now that we know what shadow work is and how ignoring it can impact on our lives, this week we look at ways to get you started on your shadow work journey. Quite often we have the best intentions to do something, but knowing how to get started is the first obstacle.
First, decide if you are going to go it alone or enlist the help for a trusted friend, psychologist or holistic counsellor. If you decide to go it alone, these prompts can guide you.
Prompt one – Look back over your family tree
Researching your family tree can be an interesting exercise in learning more about members you may not know that well – or maybe too well. Draw up a diagram of your family members starting with grandparents and working your way through to yourself. Then look at what attributes each has – the good and the bad – to get an honest picture of who you know them to be. You may love your family but have one relative who has a dark side. Spend time reflecting on all those qualities and then ask yourself which reside within you.
Prompt two – Evaluate times when you tend to overdo things
Looking into the parts of your life where you tend to overdo or overthink things can provide you with an insight on how you interact with others. Do you always work late? Why? Ask yourself the question `What do I overdo in my life?’ Write down your honest answer. Reflect on what void you are trying to fill or what you are trying to achieve.
Be gentle with yourself
As you begin your shadow work journey, keep an open mind of what may come up for you, but also be aware of your triggers. When you come across something that angers you about someone else it help you to understand more about yourself. Be aware of these triggers and how they make you react no matter how small the reaction. This is a part of personal growth and learning about yourself and your shadow.
Shadow work takes a lot of energy and focus. You are asking yourself some tough questions that may be challenging to face. Be aware of how you respond to these prompts as it is easy to fall back into old habits when trying something new. Shadow work takes time, be patient and set aside time in your diary specifically to focus on your journey and reflect on your s progress.
Be kind to yourself as you work through any feelings that may emerge. To live authentically, you need to accept your shadow self fully. Once you accept all parts of yourself, you will learn to become more accepting of others and as a result improve your own emotional wellbeing.
Disclaimer: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to go through shadow work alone if it becomes too stressful or upsetting, depending on what comes up for you. You can seek the assistance of your doctor, a psychologist or a holistic counsellor who are trained to listen and guide you through shadow work. Sometimes it helps to have someone go on the journey with you – especially if you are new to shadow work.