Shadow work is something that has been trending for quite some time. I think it partially has to do with the fact that so much internal trauma has gone unacknowledged for decades. But there is also this keen awareness that is emerging. This awareness of self-guided morals, an understanding of likes and dislikes, outside of our provided infrastructure. For so long we have all been told what to think, what to feel, what to believe, what to wear and then the internet emerged, and the hidden parts of society became apparent. The parts of society that many individuals and organizations have fought to keep down in the gutters.
Suddenly and not so suddenly we all have started to become aware of our “shadows”, the mental and physical traumas that have contributed to who we. We cannot change our past. We cannot change how others feels or how we have been treated. But we can learn to accept, forgive, heal, and move forward with a better understanding and wisdom to avoid those traumas in the future.
But I also think there is a part of our shadow selves that we do not talk about. Shadow work and shadow self is primarily focused on the parts we do not like about ourselves or has become influenced by a powerful force (trauma) and inflected us in such a way that we developed not so healthy habits. And this can range in miles of different directions and impact in more ways than we may ever know. So, we do shadow work. So that we may understand ourselves better and heal. Which is wonderful. But what about the opposite of our shadow selves? What about the part of ourselves that holds fulfillment, admiration, love, confidence? The part of ourselves that we already see as beautiful.
I wonder if we should be learning to do reflection work, rather than shadow work. A combination of looking inward on both the dark and light side. Exploring who we are and what makes us this way in both the good and bad so that we can truly learn to accept who we are. Who we are is made of both good and bad experiences and we should lean into both sides. Our love for something can stem from both good and bad memories. For example, I love books, is it because I had a need to escape or is it because my curiosity to learn more about the word bedazzled me? Is it both? Is it neither?
Shadow work dives into the parts of ourselves we don’t like or don’t accept, and it is absolutely vital to practice if we wish to grow but we need to also celebrate and accept that which illuminates inside us as well.
What are your thoughts on shadow work and the balance of our shadow selves with our bright side?