Working with your shadow can suck.
Willingly looking at the repressed parts of yourself isn’t easy. It takes herculean effort and courage.
I have been working with my shadow for the last two weeks and have had some big realizations in the group sessions for the Masculine Archetype Course.
In this email, I wanted to share an activity that has been impactful for me and others on the call.
The hardest part about shadow work is knowing where to start. The Shadow aspects of our psyche are the guilt, shame, and trauma we have pushed away. I have found a three-part writing activity to be a fantastic way to see and heal the shadow.
So grab a paper and pen, and try this out.
To start here is writing prompt #1:
What are the parts of yourself you really don’t want to talk about? The things you haven’t told anyone else? Write those down.
For example, while I was doing this activity, I wrote about the guilt and shame I have around talking to strangers.
I am a shy person, and there are many times I want to talk to people but find myself pulling back. What is worse is I feel guilty about it and am afraid that I will be seen as a creeper.
Writing prompt #2:
Now, write about the qualities behind these shadow aspects. (fear, guilt, shame, loss)
This shadow around talking to others comes from disconnection to my self-confidence.
I have this underlying fear that I am unlikeable and uninteresting. I also have a fear of not being loved and not knowing how to love others.
A lot of it comes down to how I perceive my value and being afraid of being hurt.
It’s also like an onion with so many layers. The more time I give this question and contemplate, the deeper it goes.
Writing prompt #3:
What would you say to a dear friend or loved one experiencing these hardships/emotions? Could you love them and accept them?
If a friend came to me, I would reflect all the joy and love they had shared. How valuable they are to me. I’d tell them how I get it… that opening up is hard. I also want to love and be loved by them.
And you know what… get over it.
Your self-pity and iciness hurt people more than being awkward in a conversation.
I’d encourage them to open up. To know they are loved, and to not be hard on themselves.
Wow… writing these words down was so powerful. I could feel, really feel how I could integrate my shadow by giving it compassion and understanding.
I have done this activity around sexual shame, money, and many other aspects of my life. It’s been a powerful tool that has helped me heal my trauma—giving it space and awareness.
I hope you find this activity useful in your exploration of the Shadow.