One of the hardest things to do, but very necessary, for healing and growth is Shadow Work.
What is Shadow Work?
Shadow work is facing the darkest part of you, then acknowledge that it exists, dig deep to figure out why it exists, and then embracing it and showing gratitude.
Our shadow represents a repressed part of our subconscious self. A side of us we want to pretend that does not exist.
Our shadow is an impulsive, damaged, sad, broken part of us that we try to ignore. Our shadow is the negative behaviors and emotions we often make excuses for and/or blame others for: jealousy, greed, narcissism, insecurities, addictions, drug use, over eating or under eating, bullying, trolling, gossiping… even some “positive” behaviors: extreme dieting or exercising, relying heavily on religion… just to name some common examples.
You know the saying, the good, the bad, and the ugly? Well your shadow is the ugly!
When I was with my ex, I had a plethora of behaviors and emotions that contributed to our break up (it took me a few years to finally hold myself accountable for my contribution to our demise). Performing shadow work, I was able to heal. I went from, “I was the best woman he had and he fucked it up”, to, “wait a minute, was I?” See, I had a fear of communicating my wants, needs, and feelings. I was insecure. I was clingy. I was passive. I thought doing any and everything for him would make me his be all and end all and he would see my worth and always want to be with me. And he was not the only one I was like that with, there was a pattern. After realizing that I had those issues while in our relationship, I had to go deeper and get to the core of why I felt the need to be that way.
Me acknowledging those feelings opened me up to get to the root of those emotions, which enabled me to heal and grow in that area.
It wasn’t an overnight epiphany. It took years and many steps.
First thing I did was write a letter to my ex. In the letter I let everything I was feeling out, how I felt about him, how he made me feel, everything I held in while we were together. It was a release, a cleanse of some sort. Then I prayed over the letter and then burned it.
Secondly, I started journaling. I wrote in my journal about everything! How my day went, men I met, emotions I felt, if someone pissed me off, epiphanies I had, and etc. Journaling enabled me to acknowledge my thoughts and feelings, as well as, hold me accountable for my actions. It was also a release.
Lastly, I meditated. I always tell people that when you pray, you are talking to God and meditating is a way for you to hear God’s response. Meditating quiets the mind, and when the mind is quieted, you are abled to see things more clearer. You are able to gain clarity in your situations.
Furthermore, through shadow work I was able to be compassionate towards how he may have felt during our relationship and I was able to forgive him and myself for mistakes we both made and pain we both caused for one another.
Shadow work can be a hard pill to swallow; owning up to your flaws, weaknesses, selfishness, and other negative characteristics is not a walk through the park. But the benefits are amazing and necessary to reach your full potential and live the life you truly deserve. The process hurts, but it will make you a better person.