What Is Shadow Work?
And Why is Shadow Work Important?
Shadow work is when you look at the parts of yourself that make you sad, disappointed, angry, shameful, or regretful and then begin working on them. The goal is to work on your shadows more objectively than emotionally.
Many times when you are starting to look into your shadows, you go quickly into shame, blame, or even repress the things that do not make you happy about yourself. The better goal is to bring your shadows into the light—to do the shadow work. It’s good to try to be objective, look at the problem, and get to the heart of why your behavior or habits bother you.
For instance, you might think about a time you said something you are embarrassed about. You can’t take what you said back, but it haunts you. What can you do about it? Instead of trying to forget it or suppress the memory that is making you feel low, you can look at it and ask yourself a few questions such as:
Why does this bother me so much? or Why does this hurt so much?
Shadow work has many parts. First, you want to understand the core of the emotion, for instance: I was embarrassed because my joke sounded like an insult to my friend, which I did not intend. (This is a small problem that can really cause a lot of discomfort as it is brought back to mind over the years, in this example.)
Maybe there is more to your feelings of shame about this situation? Perhaps more distilling is necessary: I don’t like the thought that I said something that could hurt someone else’s feelings. I didn’t apologize and I laughed before I realized the way it sounded, making it worse.
Now that you know the source of the problem, you can begin to heal from it. Begin to really think about why this thought, problem, or situation is so hurtful, triggering, or emotional for you. Perhaps in this example:
When other kids called me names or hurt my feelings with laughing comments, when I was a child, I was really hurt by it.
What is a trigger?
A trigger is identified as situations, words, or actions that trigger low vibrational feelings such as anger, sadness, frustration, or anxiety. Sometimes, when you find yourself suddenly emotional from something that just happened, it is good to stop and say:
“I am triggered! What caused this? Is this something that consistently triggers me when I am thinking or talking of it?”
And then, work on the core of why it triggers you.
Remember to always switch away from victimhood.
Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?”
ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?“
Shadow work involves identifying emotions or feelings that come up so you can learn something about yourself and your behaviors. Learn something? Yes! You are in this Earthly experience to learn, so, you need to try and focus on the less-triggering “why” in order to resolve your negative feelings toward yourself.
You want to stop the shame-blame game and heal the cause or trigger, and that means you must look more deeply into the situation and analyze it. By analyzing your triggers, you can shift away from feeling them and learn to understand them.
Shadow work is about shifting your view from looking through the lens of victimhood to standing in your power by working on your problems and feelings.
We understand these shadows make us feel bad, but how can we transform them without going into low-vibration feelings for too long?
Shadow work healing is transformational. Think about things like: How can you heal these “shadows” instead of burying your feelings when you experience anger, guilt, shame, or any low-vibe feeling?
I have been helping people work with these types of feelings and triggers for over 20 years. Here is the system that I have used regularly, and that has worked for countless others.
Here is a step-by-step process of doing shadow work:
Shadow work process in 8 steps:
1. A thought pops up about what you did wrong.
2. Instead of going into GUILT & SHAME, go into acknowledgment.
3. Acknowledge you are a human being who cannot be perfect.
4. Ask yourself if this is a pattern you need to break, something you need to heal, or something you need to accept about yourself?
5. Set an intention to break patterns and heal by helping yourself or finding a healer or counselor who can help you. Or… accept yourself, including all your faults.
6. However you feel at this point, remind yourself it’s okay to feel that way. “I feel sad about this, and that’s OK.”
7. Now that you’ve resolved to do the hard work, take one step forward in your new, healthier direction.
8. Take a deep breath and go out into nature, or bring yourself into a mindful presence to raise your vibration.
When your Shadow/Ego Mind reminds you of something you did wrong, release shame or guilt by using self-forgiveness techniques.
Shadow Work Shame Release Technique #1: Understanding
Shadow work busting your habits. This sentence changed my life when I first started doing work on my shadows. I hope it helps you as much as it radically changed my life.
“I did the best I could, with what I knew at the time.”
Shadow work is really helped by this one thought. Sure, now you have more knowledge, experience, and more information than you did then, so it is easy to say you could have done better. But perhaps you just did the best you could, with what you were working with at the time.
Perhaps at that time, you had less knowledge, less personal awareness. Or perhaps you had more mental noise, more on your plate, more stress. Maybe you were dealing with deep sorrow, grief, or overwhelm. Forgive yourself for where you were then, and pat yourself on the back for where you are now. And know that next time a similar situation arises, you will do better.
You can relax now, knowing you’ve learned how to deal with a situation like your shadow if it pops up in your future. You have learned from your experience. That is what you are supposed to do!
Perhaps you can even think of a time you applied what you learned from your shadow experience already. If not, know the insight you gained will be part of your mental toolbox going forward.
Shadow Work Shame Release Technique #2: Switchwords
Shadow work can be improved with Switchwords. Switchwords are powerful affirmations you can repeat by singing, chanting, or saying aloud. They work very quickly because they are not stopped by your doubting, overthinking primal brain. They completely bypass the conscious brain. These words are powerful only to your subconscious!
Try this Switchword combo for soothing shame:
Shadow work can benefit from Switchword phrase for releasing shame, BOW-LOVE-RESTORE
BOW diminishes the feeling of shame (for pronunciation- bow as in the act of bowing),
LOVE generates self-love,
RESTORE brings confidence.
Sing or chant the Switchwords for a minute or two.. or go to my Sound Cloud page to hear me sing it for you! If you’d like to read more about using Switchwords, you can go to this blogpost about Switchwords or this free class on Switchwords.
Shadow Work Shame Release Technique #3: Ho’oponopono
Another Shadow Work technique you can use is Ho’oponopono:
🕊️ Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness technique.
🕊️Say these words over and over in your head when anxiety crops up, you will be amazed at its power.
I love you.
Please forgive me.
🕊️ Say it to forgive yourself.
🕊️ Say it to a situation or problem. Or say it to yourself and your higher self.
Teach your children this technique. I tell my child, you are saying this to your heart. It works amazingly to help him deal with his big emotions.
Through healing ourselves, we come into love. Once we can truly love ourselves, we can learn to love others unconditionally. This is the lesson of the 4th Dimension and the way to Ascension. This is why shadow work is so important for raising your vibration and getting you to Ascension!
Shadow Work Shame Release Technique #4: Healing Sessions
Shadow work is intense. Perhaps you have already done all the above, but there is more to understand to heal. Perhaps it isn’t as easy as “that time I said something shameful”, so, it would be understandable that you might need help to have a more complete healing of your shadow.
There are big problems and small problems, longer-term problems and problems that are resolved quickly. If, while you are reading this, you are thinking of a persistent or long-term shadow that needs help releasing, I recommend healing work.
Healing Sessions: Get a session to get help you deal with your shadows. You may need to get some help with clearing your aura in order to really deal with your shadows, especially if you just can’t seem to get any traction when you use steps listed above.
Doing shadow work can be so healing, but it also takes real honesty with yourself and attention to your thoughts. You’ll also need to make sure that you change your behavior so that you aren’t doing things that feed those shadows.
Using the techniques above will give you a good start on doing shadow work. Shadow work is sometimes a longer-term process that will require you to do some work, get some help, then do some work on yourself again. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. Even healers need healers from time to time.
If you follow me, I’m sure you have heard me say many times: Healers need each other. Lightworkers need each other. We do! It’s so important for us to help each other. I wouldn’t go to a Lightworker who didn’t work on themselves or occasionally seek help from another Lightworker.
Shadow work can be intensive but it will make all the difference in your life!
Shadow work is hard work, but it is so rewarding. Once you bust through all the things that are lowering your vibration, you can really feel a difference in your daily life.
Depression and anxiety often come from unresolved feelings and thoughts. Working on your triggers will result in a smoother emotional ride for you in this life.
Part of this Ascension work that you do is to bring your vibe up—not by pretending bad things don’t happen—but through the systematic work of releasing pain and triggers from your life.
I really hope this blogpost has helped you. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!