Shadow work has always been an important part of my spiritual growth, even before I had actually heard the term. I have a keen interest in psychology and how it links to our spirituality, and I think it is super important to be aware of all aspects of our personality.
Through shadow work prompts, we are able to connect with the different aspects of our personality. We all have thoughts, anxieties, and traits that we try to repress. It is only natural when we want to be our best possible selves. But, ignoring our ‘shadow side’ can actually be detrimental to our personal and spiritual growth.
So, we can use shadow work prompts to understand ourselves more. By working with our shadow self, we are able to accept ourselves totally and develop a deep understanding of our personality and soul.
What Is Shadow Work?
So, what actually is shadow work? You have probably heard this term before, and I am not going to lie, it does sound a bit scary at first.
However, there is nothing bad or evil about our shadow side. It is a part of us, and we need to accept it.
Shadow work refers to the practice of understanding the traits and thoughts that we repress. The psychologist Carl Jung first developed the term ‘shadow self’.
He believed that this part of our personality was a part of our unconscious mind. They are things that might not be socially acceptable or things that might embarrass or stress us.
However, by repressing this side of us, we are causing ourselves more distress.
Aspects of our personality that shadow work explores include:
The Benefits of Shadow Work
Carl Jung believed that our shadow selves can appear in our dreams. These dreams can be pretty scary and upsetting, as they will typically be nightmares. When we have these dreams, we know that there are things in our subconsciousness that we need to address.
By working with our shadow selves, we are able to accept the aspects of ourselves that might be holding us back or distressing us. It is super important to be aware and accepting of all aspects of our psyche, and practices like shadow work prompts can help us with this.
If we do not fully embrace and explore our shadow side, we may suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety. This is because we know that these aspects of our personality are there, but we are trying to repress them.
We may think that our shadow self is embarrassing or should be rejected. However, when working with it, we begin to feel much more confident in who we are. We learn to accept and work with our negative traits.
Is Our Shadow Self Bad?
Before we begin shadow work, we must accept our shadow self. You may think that aspects of your shadow self are ‘bad’ or ‘evil’, such as jealousy or prejudices.
However, in order to overcome these things, we must acknowledge them as a part of us. There is nothing bad about our shadow self, it is a part of who we are!
Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘the first thought you have is what you are trained to think, the second is your true self’?
Well, when I began to work with my shadow self, I thought about this a lot. A whole load of aspects of our shadow self comes from experience, human nature, and society.
They are a part of us, but not who we truly are. In order to overcome and progress on our path in life, we need to acknowledge these negative traits.
How To Do Shadow Work for Beginners?
Shadow work might seem a bit difficult to approach at first. You may feel a bit worried about tapping into this side of you. But, it is actually a super healthy way to work on yourself and your personal growth.
When approaching shadow work for beginners, there are a few different ways to pursue it. We can use Tarot spreads or meditation in order to tap into this part of the psyche.
However, when you are new to shadow work, I would advise starting out with a shadow work journal. This is a place where you can go through shadow work prompts and thoughts, exploring this side of your personality.
What Is A Shadow Work Journal?
A shadow work journal is a place where you can express and explore the different layers of your own personality. It allows you to safely express yourself and work through the issues that affect your shadow self.
A shadow work journal is a place where you can use shadow work prompts to explore these different sides of yourself.
Shadow Work Prompts
So, what are some shadow work prompts that we can use for our shadow journal?
Shadow Work Prompts for Self-love and Confidence
Let’s start with some shadow work prompts that will help you understand how your shadow self affects your confidence and self-love.
- What is your biggest insecurity?
- How do you feel when you look in the mirror?
- What trait do you admire in other people, which you wish you had yourself?
- What has been your biggest failure in life?
- How do you actually define failure?
- Are you scared of failure?
- Do you find yourself avoiding any emotions?
- Do you ever self-sabotage?
- Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for?
- What do you feel ashamed about?
- Are you happy right now in your life?
- Do you worry you are stagnating in life?
- What would you like to change in your life?
- What toxic traits do you wish you don’t have?
- Do you practice self-care?
- Do you ever feel guilt? If so, what about?
Shadow Work Prompts for Interpersonal Relationships
Shadow work prompts can also help us explore how we behave to our loved ones and acquaintances in our lives. In understanding what makes us tick in regard to interpersonal relationships, we can figure out what we need to do in order to gain better and more fulfilling connections.
- What personalty trait in others makes you the most angry?
- What aspects of people’s personality makes you most judgmental?
- Is there anyone in your life that you are really jealous of?
- Do you ever feel inferior to people around you?
- Do you ever feel superior to people around you?
- What actions of other people make you the most angry?
- Do you have a certain relationship pattern?
- Are you confident when it comes to setting boundaries with other people?
- What is your relationship like with your family?
- Do you think that other people misunderstand aspects of you?
- Do you think you are your true self at all times around other people?
- Has anyone ever called you selfish?
Shadow Work Prompts about the Past
A lot of our shadow self is based on our past experiences. So, we can use shadow work prompts in order to figure out how the past still affects us.
- What memories make you feel shame?
- Who have you not forgiven from your past?
- What is the worst memory from your childhood or adolescence?
- How would your ten year old self feel about you right now?
- Who has let you down the most?
- Are you scared of becoming your parents?
- When was the last time you felt betrayed?
- Have you ever betrayed someone close to you?
Shadow Work Prompts for Fear and Anger
We all feel fear and anger from time to time, it’s part of being human! But, with shadow work, we can figure out what makes us angry and scared. By using these shadow work prompts and identifying issues and stressors, you can learn how to grow and deal with them.
- When you have felt the most scared?
- Do you ever feel confrontational?
- When was the last time you got angry at yourself?
- When was the last time you got angry at someone else?
- What is your deepest fear?
- What frightens you the most?
- What lie do you tell yourself to make you feel safe?
Top Tips For Shadow Work For Beginners
I know it can feel pretty overwhelming when you first begin shadow work. It’s only natural – you are exploring really dark and scary bits of your personality. I want to share some tips for beginners, so you can access shadow work safely and positively.
Take It Slow
First and foremost, it is super important to begin shadow work slowly. You are exploring aspects of your personality that you have previously been repressing, so it can be overwhelming to rush into all the different things shadow work brings up.
If you are starting a journal using the shadow self prompts above, I would recommend doing one question a day. This means that you won’t feel rushed, and it will allow you to fully explore the emotions that the topic brings up.
If it begins to feel much, take yourself away from your journal to give yourself a rest. It is okay to not finish a topic and come back to it when you feel ready!
When approaching shadow work, you need to make sure that you are prepared. When I say prepared, I mean in a safe space, both emotionally and physically.
Never practice shadow work when you are already feeling anxious and sad. This will ultimately harm your growth as your mind will be in a negative space.
It is best to practice shadow work when you feel positive and productive. This will allow you to embrace the different aspects of your personality and understand that they do not define you.
You should also make sure you are in a safe physical space when working with your shadow self. Find a place in your home where you feel secure, and make sure you won’t be disturbed. I also recommend setting the mood.
Have some crystals on hand when shadow self journaling, as their vibrations will keep you grounded and calm. Incense and sage can also be used for shadow work.
In order to get the most out of the shadow work prompts, it is useful to keep asking why after the questions.
These shadow work prompts are designed to be open-ended, allowing you to explore the topic for as long as you need. So, let’s say you are working on the prompt ‘do you ever feel inferior to people around you?’.
You may answer yes, and write down your experiences with feeling inferior. Then, ask why. Why did that situation or that person make you feel inferior?
Try to keep on asking why until you get to a point of understanding. It is okay to not have it all figured out straight away though! Some topics addressed in shadow work will take a while to really understand.
Remember to Practice Self-love and Compassion
Shadow work can be really tough, especially when we are thinking of past events or deep fears and anxieties. Because of this, it is super important to incorporate self-love and compassion into your shadow work.
After every session, I would recommend spending a while working with self-love affirmations or a gratitude journal. This allows you to remember all the good things that are going on in your life right now. The affirmations will boost your mood, allowing you to bring back any positivity that might have been drained during the shadow work.
Remember that shadow work is a journey, and it is super important to be patient with yourself. Nobody does a day of shadow work and then is free from pain. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that.
Pay attention to your progress and make an effort to congratulate yourself after every shadow work session.
Reach Out for Help When You Need It
Shadow work explores aspects of your personality that you have been ignoring or repressing. This means that certain shadow work prompts will bring up some really strong emotions for you. It may also bring up traumas from your past.
Because of this, it is super important to look after your mental health and reach out for help when you need it. If you get distressed or upset during your shadow work and feel you need support, contact a loved one to help you through your emotions. You may also wish to contact a helpline for advice.
Explore Your Soul With These Shadow Work Prompts
Shadow work is an amazing tool that helps us progress in life. By using shadow work, we are able to understand all the different aspects of our psyche and work out what we need to do in order to be our best possible selves.
These shadow work prompts are perfect for beginners. It is time to start your shadow work journey, gaining understanding and self-awareness.