Confronting Our Shadows

I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends recently, regarding Shadow work. You may already be familiar with this term, or it might be brand new to you. This year, especially, we are being brought face to face with our Shadows.

I doubt that many people would disagree when I say, that 2020 has been hard. There seem to be endless problems cropping up, with little to no breaks. This year has been pretty overwhelming, and it’s only half over. We joke about the year being “canceled,” but Shadow work offers another way to see it.

Shadow Work is about confronting the deep rooted issues.

These are things that have hidden in the dark. Shadow work is the process of going inward and confronting our fears, our guilt, our prejudices, our anger, and our trauma.

When you’re intentionally doing Shadow Work, you begin to see trials as opportunities to “do the work.” Anything that shines a light on your Shadow can be seen as helpful.

I want to be clear, that the pain you have experienced is not invalidated by your healing. Furthermore, bad experiences aren’t made “okay” because something good seems to come out of it later.

You are valid and your feelings are valid. When you’re going through this, you might have a lot of so called “ugly” feelings or responses. This isn’t the time when you shame yourself. This is when you do the work. Everything becomes an opportunity for healing. And it begins with confronting the issues that come up for you, in the moment.

Even if you aren’t planning on doing the work, you will be faced with opportunities to confront your Shadow. Situations will arise, that make you feel like everything you care about is being attacked.

In a way, we are all being confronted by our Shadow, right now.
Shadow Self - Watercolor Illustration

In my experience, the best way to cope isn’t always to run away from it. Your Shadow will always be there waiting, for the next opportunity to show its face. Instead, face it down. Don’t be afraid. Shadows might be illuminated by the light, but they are easily transformed that way, as well.

Remember to practice self-care. Self-care is incredibly important when you are undergoing big changes. Be kind to yourself, while you’re fighting the big battles. Give yourself time to rest, as well as examine. Set yourself up for success.

Confronting your Shadow isn’t about creating or avoiding problems. Problems will happen anyway. It is about deciding for yourself, how they change you. When i’m doing the work, I am choosing to use my experiences for self-examination and growth. I am choosing to use them for healing.

This year is bringing about the kind catalytic experiences, that will alter us entirely. So when you feel like these experiences are pulling you under, remember that you get to choose the person that you’ll be when it’s over. You also get to change your mind.

Don’t be afraid of your Shadow work. It isn’t your destruction. It’s your transformation.


You might also like my article on Vocal: Surviving Seasonal Depression in 2020: Routines to Help You Cope.