Have you heard of the dark side? Each person has a dark side. In psychology, it is called the shadow self. Every society has norms or certain regulations that people follow. These rules define what behaviors are considered good or bad. Because of this, humans learn to act in accordance with these morally accepted behaviors. In consequence, this created a world of personas wherein people project an image of their better selves. Social masks became predominant to the point that it is getting harder to know if a person is being sincere or not. Norms are good because they keep society in order. However, because of this, people hide or suppress a part of themselves that they think will not be accepted by society. If repressed for so long, sooner or later, it can create havoc or even violence. Thus, it is important to learn how to embrace your shadow self.
Your shadow self grows each time you repress it. Once it sets itself free, it may lead to broken relationships. Sometimes, it even leads to physical illnesses. Rather than hide, the dark side is meant to be acknowledged. It is important for humans to be aware of their dark side because it is part of who they are as persons.
So how to embrace your shadow? To embrace your shadow, you need to practice shadow work. Shadow work is a spiritual journey. Your shadow is a part of your wounded self. Thus, practicing shadow work will make you whole again. Here are the steps on how to embrace your shadow self:
1.Begin with Self-Love
Begin your shadow work with self-love. It will be difficult to explore your negative side without belief in yourself. Believe that you can do it and that you are worthy of receiving love and blessing in our life.
2. Get to Know Your Shadow Self
The next thing to do is learn to identify what your shadows are and how they are manifesting themselves. You see, when we deny an aspect of ourselves, it does not disappear. Instead, it stays within us. Sooner or later, our dark side is going to push its way out. So, how to spot them? Well, your shadow self is literally your dark side, the negative aspects of your personality such as:
- fear / phobia
- victim mentality
- people pleaser
How did you feel while reading the list above? If there is any word that makes you feel uncomfortable, then that is your shadow. Unfortunately, you cannot ignore it.
Projection Of Shadow Self
Now, let’s dig deeper. Ask yourself, what qualities of other people annoy you the most? Whatever negative qualities that we have yet hide deep within ourselves, we see in others. You will not be bothered at all unless you yourself is like that. In psychology, you call this projection.
Unless we do conscious work on it, the shadow is almost always projected: that is, it is neatly laid on someone or something else so we do not have to take responsibility for it.– Robert Johnson
So the next time you get irritated by someone, ask yourself why are you bothered? Then know that it is your shadow talking to you.
Do you feel that you are a stuck in an aspect in your life? It is like the same problems kept on repeating over and over again. That is what you call patterns in life. Patterns happen because you have not yet learned the lesson associated with it.
Now ask yourself, what are the patterns in your life? They give clues to your shadow.
3. Face Your Emotions
Once you have identified your shadow, the next thing to do is pay attention to your feelings. Ask yourself what are you feeling and why are you feeling that way? There are always reasons why you feel a certain way.
Facing your emotions can be tough especially if you have learned to mute them or disassociate yourselves from them but it is something that you must do in order to heal yourself. For example, if a person hurt you in the past, it is time to forgive that person. You can never be truly happy if you continue to hold grudges. Face your emotions and own them.
4. Express Your Shadow
Instead of suppressing them, you can actually use certain therapeutic ways to express them. Psychologists normally refer to them as art therapy. These activities include:
- Composing Music
- Writing / Blogging
Are you up to the challenge?
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