Shadow Work doesn't need to be difficult, but it sure isn't easy.
... that is, if you don't keep at it.
I find a lot of people give up on Shadow Work because it is, well, work. They don't expect it to be so difficult. People tend to avoid Shadow Work because it can bring up aspects of yourself that you are not comfortable with, and they are just not prepared to deal with it. When we hear about living in Alignment, we are painted a picture of living in peace and harmony, and everything working out nicely.
Wouldn't that be nice?
Here is the thing- that isn't Shadow Work (and the above is not sustainable without it)
So, to save you the trouble and heartache, I am going to tell you 5 things you need to know about shadow work so that you don't get overwhelmed and give up!
1. Shadow Work can hurt, but in a good way
Okay, you are probably thinking- what?
But it's true!
When you get hurt and you need to disinfect your wound, it stings a lot. It can be incredibly uncomfortable, but that stinging just means that it is working.
When it comes to Shadow Work, we work with the aspects of ourselves we don't like. The 'negative' side to us. A lot of times, this can trigger us because we have been conditioned to not like that side of us, while Shadow Work asks us to embrace it.
So we get triggered. Angry. Hurt. Scared. These are all negative emotions we expereince as we heal, and this is not a bad thing!
2. Your Shadow is not your enemy
That's right. If you are going into Shadow Work to try and 'tame' your Shadow and your Ego, I am sorry to say you will be incredibly disappointed, uncomfortable, and unsuccessful. Sure, our Shadow may not react in a healthy way, but here is a secret: our Shadow reacts the way it does because it is trying to protect us.
That's right, our shadow wants us to stay safe, so why shame them for it? The secret is to bond with your Shadow and allow it to know that you will do what you can to keep it safe. Start attacking your Shadow and guess what- you will begin to struggle with loving yourself as well (because, surprise, now the Shadow sees you as a danger to yourself as well!)
3. It is a never-ending journey
If you are hoping for a destination where you can look around and say "I made it" you will be looking forever. This doesn't mean that it isn't worth it, but your goal is in the wrong place. You can't focus on getting 'rid' of your Shadow, but what you can do is work on how efficiently you can communicate with your Shadow, recognize what is happening, and handle it accordingly.
As you do the work, you will find that it becomes easier to do- this is the goal! You want to be able to work through these emotions and triggers as quickly yet thoroughly as possible- and the only way to do this is practice. As you continue your Shadow Work journey it will get easier and less painful, so keep at it!
4. Burnout is to be expected
...and it is something to be respected.
When you are beginning to feel yourself burn out, this means it is time to take a break. Shadow work may require you to be a little more hard on yourself, so now is the time to be a little more kind. Allow yourself to do your self-care activities to try and avoid the burnout as much as you can. Dedicating a whole day a week to just love yourself and remind you of how awesome you are should be good and, when things get hard again, show yourself some extra love on those days.
5. Shadow Work can be fun
I probably lost you at this point, because I have been going on and on about how hard and painful it is, but it can be fun! In fact, I find that if you make it fun, you will feel more encouraged to continue your journey; at least this will help you want to continue in the beginning where the waters are at its roughest. A way I like to suggest to make Shadow Work fun is to incorperate art- draw what your Shadow feels, write it down, play a song, anything to help you make more sense of how you are instinctively responding to a trigger.
For example, thinking back on a trigger that really got to you negatively, you could write a poem from the perspective of your Shadow explaining why it bothered you the way it did- what you were afraid of, how you wanted to comfort yourself in the moment, why you responded the way you did.
Sometimes, all you just need guidance.
This is why I am obsessed with my because it provides you with guidance to help you get started in a easy-to-process way! If you are looking for a little more guidance, I would love to suggest the , which consists of my Shadow Work Workbook as well as my Self-Love Workbook to help you find that healthy balance and to avoid the burnout as much as you can.