My Shadow Work Story
When we talk about shadow work, we usually talk about healing old wounds, self-actualisation, and acknowledging our shadow traits.
An unexpected benefit of all of the above is... self-love.
Meeting our shadow, acknowledging our shadow traits, re-writing the stories we tell ourselves about shadow traits that we deem to be negative, and eventually even embracing those traits leads to a type of self-love that's more than just skin deep.
We get to meet and embrace our *true* selves and accept ourselves for who we truly are at our core.
What's a better form of self-love than that?
It may or may not surprise you to know that this did not happen overnight for me.
My shadow work journey has been long and - like anyone's - will never truly be over.
When I first started, I wanted to heal from the past and discover more about myself. I had no real direction or anyone to guide me there.
I had no idea I'd eventually end up loving the person I found hiding in the shadows.
But, how did I do it?
Here's the step-by-step process I used after years of trail-and-error combined with extensive research.
🌙#1. Self-compassion and self-care
First, I quickly learned that I had to build a strong foundation of self-compassion before I could truly start digging into shadow work.
If you don't have the desire to give yourself grace and be kind to yourself when you discover who your shadow is, it's only going to result in cognitive dissonance, confusion, and depression.
You have to make sure you've built up your self-esteem enough to be prepared for whatever you might find out about yourself.
Learning how to ground and centre myself before starting the work also really helped me deal with any emotions that popped up.
🌙#2. Meeting and acknowledging my shadow traits
Now, it's time to get stuck into the hard bit. Shadow work.
I even broke this down into steps (can you tell how my brain works?):
- Meeting my shadow
- Understanding my shadow
- Forgiving my shadow
By doing this - and doing it one step at a time - it didn't feel overwhelming and, while it was still uncomfortable, confronting, and all that fun stuff that we've come to expect from shadow work, the process felt smoother than when I was just inconsistently jumping into it at random points.
When I reached the 'understanding my shadow' part, giving myself grace became easier and easier. Understanding why I am the way I am and why I was hiding certain parts of myself no longer filled me with shame - I finally *got* who I am and what I'm about.
By the time it came to forgiving my shadow, it almost felt easy and natural. I *wanted* to forgive myself for ever beating myself up; I wanted to give my younger self a hug.
And bingo. That's where I realised that I actually felt self-love on a completely different, deep level.
🌙#3. Overcoming negative self-talk and limiting beliefs
My final step was to overcome that niggling negative self-talk and limiting beliefs.
As much as I loved myself, my brain was so used to thinking negatively, it sometimes drifted back there against my will. And while we shouldn't be positive ALL the time, beating ourselves up for next-to-nothing certainly isn't great.
This all came down to improving my mindset and rewiring my thought processes by acknowledging the thought or belief and replacing it with positive self-talk or affirmations.
This whole process is the exact framework I'll be using for Love Your Shadow, where I guide you through your shadow work journey towards self-love.
I wish I had had a coach during my shadow work journey to help me in the right direction and hold me accountable and, now I'm qualified, I want to be that person for you.
Remember, I didn't even start my journey until my late 20s and I'm still learning new things about myself all the time. You're never "too late".