Navigating Your Shadow Self
Maneuvering the dark gateway to your personal freedom
Many think the shadow self is some big, ugly side of us that needs to be repressed and hidden. In actuality, the shadow self is the gateway to true freedom.
When really looking within, the things we find will likely be overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions for opening up to effectively work through this dark forest:
Working with the darkness: Know that your past is something to grow through, working with your darkness. And if you can’t bring it up without rehashing or reliving it, then it needs to be released until you're able to do so.
The pain and trauma we’ve been through are merely teachings to bring about your highest self, learning to be of service to others. It will also be helpful to keep in mind that your ego is going to scream at you when you undertake the task of shadow work. That's because the more you heal, the less the ego is needed. And the ego wants to be needed.
When you experience intrusive thoughts stop and ask yourself:
Do I really feel this way?
Is this fact or a story I'm feeding into?
Is this my shit or someone else’s?”
Also, while you are doing this work, be sure you give yourself time and a place to safely and effectively heal...
Self Care: While doing shadow work it is crucial to be kind, gentle and loving to yourself. Remember that most of your shadow work is your inner child asking for help and support; to be seen and heard. Be the person your inner child needed during the trauma. Hold yourself, cry, send love to the little self who needed someone. How can you show up for that version of you now?
Listen to your body, know when it is an appropriate time to do shadow work. Make sure to take breaks to assimilate and avoid burnout. Shadow work can be painful; remember often that it is just a moment and that moment does not define you.
I, myself, find it really helpful to transmute the hurt to a neutralizing, grounding stone. Black tourmaline is great for taking things and holding them for you.
Put your right hand over your heart, breathe intentionally, and send that love to the darkness within as it's being acknowledged and processed.
Acceptance and forgiveness: The only way you can truly make room for light and love is to accept and forgive the hurt you are holding. Accepting and forgiving doesn’t mean you are saying that what happened is okay. Choosing to accept and forgive is taking your power back from the situation.
We are all just victims of victims, doing our best with the tools we have been provided. Unfortunately with that, it becomes easy to inflict a lot of pain upon each other because of truly not currently knowing any better.
Now I know this one is a hard one, but this is where we change the direction of our story from victim to warrior.
As a warrior we know that each time we forgive a part of our shadow we are taking back a piece of our soul.
Reclaiming your power: Before reclaiming your power, you may look at every story, every hurt, every betrayal as an attack against you. When you look at each situation and, instead, literally say, “I reclaim my power back from ______,” you take the power from that thing and regain it; with a choice to use it in a more beneficial way.
Each time you voice your hurt, each time you are vulnerable with others about the things that happen to you, you take your power back. Nothing can have power over you if you acknowledge it, send it love and forgiveness, and release it.
Tell your story - first to yourself and then to someone you feel safe with. Remember you are always held by the universe. You are safe, loved, and protected. And you can do this!
Gratitude: Gratitude is the attitude, baby! Showing gratitude for your past experiences and your current holdings is the easiest way to allow blessings into your life. It is by living in that warrior mentality and knowing that we all go through things in order to elevate us higher.
I know, I know, "Why would I be grateful for the terrible things that happened to me?" Because when you show gratitude of your life, you allow yourself to see the lesson each situation was teaching you.
Look at each situation and ask yourself what it lead you to learn. For me, one of my events was my best friend dying at a young age. Through her death I was taught how to be humble and not take life for granted. Now, of course, as I was in the pain and trauma I wasn’t able to see that, but as I did my work and took on the warrior stance I could see my lesson. It is all about the perspective that we choose to have of ourselves and our overall life.
I encourage you to embrace your inner warrior and dig deep. Uncover your truth. You are a powerful human being on this earth, and you can take your life back. We are each called to do this work, and maybe, just maybe....now is the time for you!
We are the generations breaking the cycles. We are the people changing the world, "simply" by changing ourselves. We have all heard the warrior in us calling. It’s time to put on your helmet and go into battle; sword and shield of Light, understanding, and compassion.