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Embracing Your Shadow Side

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Most may not realize it at first, but your shadows are your biggest blessings. Your shadow side is an integral part of your being. You wouldn’t be you without the light OR the dark (your shadow side).

If you aren’t familiar with the term shadow here’s a brief overview. Your shadow is another way to refer to your subconscious mind, a.k.a. the thoughts you aren’t fully aware of, or even ‘dark’ emotions like anger, depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.

Not all of our shadows are on the negative spectrum, though. Often times we have been conditioned to hide our quirks and free-spirited nature, too. Your shadows are quite simply everything you keep hidden.

Most tend to view our shadow side as bad and undesirable when in all reality it’s just another part of your being. It makes you whole and complete. It allows you to know and experience joy and bliss, because you cannot know true happiness until you’ve experienced pain, as well.

Interesting way to reframe your less desired behaviors, huh?

So now that you have an understanding around your shadows and how it’s here to serve you let’s talk about how you can move into shadow work so you can use your shadow side to your advantage.

2 Simple Steps of Shadow Work

1.Recognize Your Shadows

The first step in shadow work is learning to recognize your shadows. In other words, bring awareness to your dark side. In order to understand something ,you must first be aware of it. Awareness is key to everything in life.

This may seem a bit tricky though, since our shadows reside within our subconscious mind.

If your shadows are a part of your subconscious mind you may be wondering how you can even begin to recognize what they are. Well, it’s easier than you think.

To recognize what your shadows are you need to tune into your emotions and what you tend to shut out. The emotions that we feel hard wired to shut down are the parts of ourselves that we are hiding from the world.

If you want to experience the world with your mask off, in full bloom, without a care in the world you MUST learn to understand and recognize your shadows so you can release the power they hold over you!

Action Step: Take a moment at the end of the day and write down as many times as you can remember when you stopped yourself from experiencing a ‘negative’ emotion , such as, anger or anxiety or from experiencing your quirky, silly side. Try to recall what triggered the emotions and why you choose to hold back.

The point of this exercise is to simply bring awareness to what you experience. You are not trying to fix or change anything about yourself.

Don’t expect to have everything all figured out when it comes to your shadow side right now. This is a massive process. Right now, you are opening the door to understanding so that what is revealed at other times can be dealt with in an easier manner.

2.Address Your Shadows
Now that you have a better understanding of what your shadows are and actually are aware of them, you can begin to address your shadows.

The reason you feel self-doubt, unworthiness, etc is because you are not addressing your shadows. You are not allowing yourself to heal.

To address your shadows, you must accept your shadows. You are aware of some of the shadows you hold, and you will become more and more aware of others over time, but to truly move forward with your life you must accept that your shadows are a part of who you are.

You are not meant to hide your shadows from the world. You are meant to experience every emotion you feel. This is not to say you need to take your emotions, like anger, out on others, but it is to say that it is perfectly okay for you to be angry. You don’t even have to hold it back in the moment. Allow the other person to know that you are upset and angry.

Communicate your experience with them. A part of living in this world is learning and relaying important information as a way to communicate. Your world opens up when you learn to open up. If someone doesn’t wish to experience this side of you perhaps, they aren’t meant for you.

Of course, this means you must be willing to open up and listen to their shadowy emotions too which will be much easier now that you are dealing with your own shadows. In fact, you may be able to help them navigate certain aspects of it, but you are not expected to. Support what you can handle, but know that you are never required to do more than you can handle. That doesn’t serve you or them.

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It’s time to accept every part of your being. Love yourself just as you are. That is what it means to heal your shadows.

Once you accept yourself, others will accept you. And for those that don’t, you can release them, because now that you are on the path of self-love you will find others that accept you for you.
Action Step: Take 3 ‘negative’ parts of yourself and write out an affirmation for each one. Write out something that you fully believe. If you deal with a lot of anger write out an affirmation that speaks to your anger. For example, “My anger is another version of my love. It is here to serve me”. In saying this you are now able to see your anger for what it really is.

Part of living in this 3D reality is to experience the duality of it all. The light and the dark. The happy and the sad. The bliss and the rage. The healing and the pain. The other part is recognizing that all of it is just a part of what we are here to experience and that in order to move forward, heal, and transcend we must be willing to accept everything as it is. This is how we see ourselves as whole, complete, and perfect just as we are. This is how we use love to transcend everything.

You are a beautiful, amazing being made perfectly despite what you may think. Your greatest lessons come from you being just as you are.

If you enjoyed this article watch my YouTube video which is a little more in depth on this topic: What is Shadow Work?: Learn to EMBRACE YOUR DARK SIDE

If you are ready to heal your shadows check out my newest course here: Moving Through Your Shadows in 21 Days.

Interested in learning more on shadow work? Check out these articles written by others:

1.4 Simple Steps to Get Started with Shadow Work

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2. How to Overcome the Fear of Standing Out

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