Shadow work - Your path to Wholeness


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What is the shadow?

The shadow represents the parts – dark side – in us that we have split off, repressed or even rejected in the course of our development. They are unconscious or partially conscious personality traits, feelings, socially undesirable personality traits or behaviours that are not recognised by us and have thus been banished into the subconscious. Everything that does not fit our idealised self-image, which is shaped by family, upbringing and culture, becomes our shadow and prevents us from living out our full potential. 

Consequently, the shadow can be characterised by positive or negative qualities and C.G Jung divided the shadow into different types:

  •  The personal shadow: repressed, rejected & unconscious qualities that we do not want to show.
  •  The collective shadow: unconscious qualities that are denied and repressed by culture or society. The collective shadow promotes the personal shadow.


What is shadow work?

Shadow work is about bringing these unconscious or repressed parts back into consciousness so that we can then work with them. Most of the time we banish these parts into our shadows because of social norms, upbringing and conditioning from our childhood. It is a process of personal growth that also offers us the chance to effectively and sustainably use the hidden potential of our uniqueness with all its qualities and abilities on our life’s path.| As a child, we usually often learned that we had to be quiet and adapted in certain situations, for example, and were not allowed to fully live out our childlike joy. Perhaps we were too wild, too loud or too active. Of course, this has consequences for our development. If we were punished for not adapting and living out our childlike joy in supposedly “inappropriate” situations, this can lead to us beginning to suppress this joy and repressing it into the shadows for fear of punishment. Paradoxically, we then often start to condemn other people who do not conform, are loud, wild or “too” active. 
Thus, in the course of our lives, we learn to condemn and hide a variety of character traits and feelings. 

What we are unconscious of, we project outwards.

Shadow work brings us into contact with a side of ourselves that we did not want to acknowledge before. Confronting our shadow challenges us to be truly honest with ourselves. In doing so, we come into contact with aspects of ourselves that we reject, condemn or even hate in other people.
Shadows show up in everything that prevents us from living a happy, peaceful and fulfilled life. They can show up in addictions, illnesses, accidents and injuries, in mistakes and in all kinds of negative feelings such as hatred, arrogance, shame, fear, anger, arrogance, insecurity, and so on.

What we reject in ourselves we also reject on the outside, and this includes not only the “negative” qualities but also the strengths and abilities we admire in other people. In shadow work we recognise the parts that are projected outwards, redeem them and bring them back to us in order to end the war with ourselves.

The invisible thus becomes visible, the unconscious becomes conscious.

The person who only wants to live the light side and does not want to admit anything of his shadow side will experience a big bad surprise at some point. For when the powers to repress this dark side diminish, the shadow will at some point make itself felt in all its force. The way out is not the lifelong repression of the dark part of the soul, but its acceptance.
Often we have a tendency to repress, deny, belittle and ignore in order not to become aware of our shadow parts.
We can suppress and deny unwanted aspects, but we cannot make them disappear because they live on inside us unnoticed. Our perception becomes more distorted the more qualities we suppress. As a result, we become more and more sinister to those around us. Also, the less we reflect and know ourselves, the more we react with behavioural automatisms in which we have no room for alternative behaviour.

In order to heal and transform the shadow parts, a conscious and mindful approach to the parts is necessary.
With various practices such as self-reflection, meditation, bodywork, hypnosis and also through the support of an experienced therapist or coach, these shadow parts can be brought to the surface and accepted as part of the self.
The decisive factor is the will to allow, accept and deal with the shadow parts in order to integrate them in this way.

What is particularly effective about shadow work is that you yourself are the one who takes these steps towards becoming whole.

By confronting our repressed parts and accepting them, we can find our way back to inner balance and deeper self-acceptance. This enables us to be more open-minded and authentic towards other people and to bring our relationships to a healing level.

How to trace your shadows ?

1. Recognise your Shadow

The easiest way to recognise your shadow parts is to ask yourself what triggers you, in which situation or event you have a strong emotional reaction.

For shadow work it is basically very important to reflect on yourself, your thoughts and your actions. If you realise that you react in a certain way to something without really being able to consciously control this reaction, you are already very close to your inner saboteur.

2. Recognise your own repression strategies 

Repression is a defence mechanism used to remove unpleasant and painful sensations from your consciousness.
In many situations, one is not aware of one’s own repression mechanisms, and it is often very difficult to access these mechanisms on one’s own.

We can ask ourselves the question here:
“What do I not want to know about myself?
“What must no one – including me – find out about me?”

But it may well be that we ourselves do not succeed in answering this question on our own, because our mind, which has suppressed this quality for years, is hardly broad enough for this question.
In this case, an experienced coach or therapist is a great help. It can also be a confidant who asks you this question.
There is also the possibility of working with the unconscious, e.g. through hypnosis and trance states, to gain access to these repressed and split-off parts.

3. Acceptance of the shadow

As long as you reject yourself internally, you take away any chance of changing your condition. Acceptance is the basic prerequisite for any change. Only when you consciously perceive and accept your actual state, your shadow part, only then can you actively change it and integrate it into your life. 

4. Integration of the shadow

You integrate your shadow by recognising the gift in it. Because every – really every – characteristic also has a positive aspect. 

Fear can help you to act quickly and decisively in the face of real danger.

Anger can help you set boundaries, defend yourself, stand up for yourself and bring about change. 

Aggression can help you express your inner strength, assertiveness and determination.

Laziness can carry the quality of relaxation and joy of life.

In certain situations, each quality can be quite helpful and very valuable. For this reason, we need them all to be truly healthy and complete.
When you understand the value of your shadow on a deeper level, make peace with it and integrate it, you find emotional freedom, fulfilment and joy in life.
You can also further the integration of your shadow parts through active imagination.

Shadow work is an essential key on the path to self-love, unconditional love and also inner freedom.

The dark side in us is the gatekeeper to true freedom, to true inner peace, to our treasures, to our light.

“If we can recognise our shadow for what it really is:

Our truest, most faithful and loyal teacher.

Then we are on the path to liberation.”
– Shania Riley

Namasté, Shania

Let's connect

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Hey, i am Shania

It is a matter of the heart for me to guide people to their shadow in a sensitive way, to let them recognise through self-awareness what is hidden behind their anchored pain and suffering and how they can use these insights for themselves in a healing and transformative way.