Why You Should Embrace Your Shadow Self

multiracial female models lying on floor

Ever feel like you’re not living the life you were meant to live but don’t seem to be able to get there to where you want? The underlying reason could be that you haven’t faced your shadow self and learned to accept and love it as part of yourself. Whether it’s simply becoming more comfortable with your flaws or having the courage to take significant risks, embracing your shadow self can help you achieve lasting success in all aspects of your life – from your relationships with others to the happiness of the life you wish to lead on your own terms.

female resting elbow on floor creating a shadow
Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels.com

We all have an inner self that we keep hidden deep inside of us, not just from others but also from ourselves. This hidden part of our personality is referred to as the shadow self, and it may be causing us to behave in harmful or self-destructive ways without even realizing it’s happening. You may have done some shadow work already or are perhaps thinking about beginning your own shadow work practice, so you’re probably wondering what exactly this shadow self thing is all about anyway.

What are the shadow selves?

Your shadow self is the part of your personality that you’ve exiled or repressed. It’s the side of you that you’re not proud of, the side that you keep hidden away. By bringing your shadow self into the light, you can learn to accept and love all parts of yourself. If you feel like you have two competing personalities inside of you, it might be time for some shadow work. And don’t worry if this sounds scary—it doesn’t have to be! All that matters is that you’re willing to explore your inner selves to make peace with them.

Coming face to face with your inner demons

There’s no denying that coming face to face with your inner demons can be tough. After all, these are the parts of yourself that you’ve been trying to ignore or repress. But if you want to truly grow and evolve as a person, it’s important to acknowledge and accept all aspects of yourself – even the ones you’re not proud of. Furthermore, our relationships and interactions with others in the world will always carry some amount of our shadow. The key is being conscious of those projections so we can take responsibility for them and ensure they don’t come back to haunt us later. As Carl Jung said, and I paraphrase: What you resist persists.

How do I manage my own shadow self?

The first step is acknowledging that you have a shadow self. Once you’re aware of the existence of your shadow, you can start to become curious about it. Here are some questions to start: What are the qualities or aspects of yourself that you don’t like? Why have you exiled them? Who taught you they were bad? Who do they remind you of? How did this pattern get established in your life? What would happen if these traits became a part of who you are?

How can I get professional help with shadow work?

Although you can do shadow work on your own, it might be helpful to seek professional help, especially if you have unresolved trauma. A therapist can help you explore your shadow self and help you understand why you’ve exiled certain parts of yourself. If you’re not ready to see a therapist, there are many books and online resources that can help you with shadow work. Remember, the goal is to bring these exiled parts of yourself back into the light so that you can learn to love and accept them.

Tips for looking after your shadow self

1. Get to know your shadow self. What does it look like? Feel like? What does it want?

2. Bring your shadow self into the light. Allow yourself to feel the emotions and desires that you’ve been repressing.

3. Listen to your shadow self. It has important things to say about who you are and what you want in life.

4. Be accepting and compassionate towards your shadow self. It’s a part of you, after all. However, if you don’t allow it out of its cage, it will come out sideways and do something destructive. All things being considered, accepting this piece of ourselves is the first step towards healing and wholeness.

What are common pitfalls when working with my shadow self?

One of the most common pitfalls is trying to fight our shadow selves instead of working with them. This only creates more inner conflict and can lead to further self-destructive behaviors. Another pitfall is that we might try to project our shadow onto others rather than deal with it ourselves. This can create problems in our relationships and make it difficult to truly connect with others. Finally, we might also avoid our shadow selves altogether, which can lead to feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and frustration. Of course, if your shadow self travels into criminality–please seek professional help.–MM


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