How to connect with our Shadow Side
WHAT IS THE SHADOW SIDE?
Our Shadow Side wants to hold us back. It may be seen as representing our: 'darkness', hurt, pain, fear, old wounds, issues, insecurities, doubt, low / negative thoughts, blame, ego etc... What our Shadow Side contains will usually want to be kept hidden or secret - and often from ourselves. It may be seen as that 'dark' side which is triggered in a certain situation or when a specific word is spoken - which may then prompt us to over-react. When our Shadow wounds are triggered it is a great opportunity to see this side of ourselves so we can face it, learn from it and let the pain of it go.
SEPARATED OR UNITED SELF
We exist of both light and dark - and both of these energies can work well together in a balanced way. In fact the brighter our 'light' the larger 'shadow' we cast. When working together in a balanced way we may also see this as our conscious and unconscious, or our masculine and feminine, or our yin yang.
It's when our Shadow Side is holding us back that we might feel raw, vulnerable and be hurting, and it will try and get our attention in a somewhat negative and loud way.
When in balance and harmony - accepting our past, what happened, having learned the 'lessons' triggered then we can be at peace with our Shadow Side.
HOW TO KNOW IF OUR SHADOW IS IMBALANCED
Our Shadow, when it is being faced for healing might:
- Seem loud, intense, scary and resistant to exploring (being faced). This is a way for it to distract us from looking at our wounds - to avoid, resist or deny there is a problem.
- It will want to hold us back from our heart's desire - our dreams. An inner battle may take place between our heart / how we feel and our mind / what we think. Or a battle between our Soul / truth and our Shadow Side / pain.
WAYS TO CONNECT WITH OUR SHADOW SIDE
- ACCEPT and take responsibility for the fact that we have wounds, we have been hurt and that we can, if we want to, face them so they don't hold us back any longer. "I feel hurt"
- LISTEN to our wounded self / Shadow Side - for it is trying to keep us small and held back in life. We can observe it playing out in our conversations, interactions with others, agitations, what we are afraid of etc. "I hear my wounds."
- JOURNAL write to explore and get to the source of our issues. An exercise of listing down everything which we are noticing that is both irritating and wonderful will help us see what is playing out. We can explore this list as the observer and look for a common thread or common issue which is speaking to us through what is playing out in our life. "I look deeper to investigate what is holding me back."
- MEDITATE to connect with this part of ourselves inside. Our Shadow can be quite a 'trickster' if its existence feels threatened - because all it knows to survive is to keep us small and held back - when we challenge that, our Shadow and what it represents at the time can become very loud and 'sneaky'. "I take steps to explore why I feel scared."
- WALKING WITH OUR SHADOW on a bright sunny day we can go on a healing walk and notice the actual shadow we are casting. Get to know it, understand it, listen to it, and focus on finding a balance or unite the divide it is trying to create. "I am feeling ready to walk with my shadow to get to know myself better."
- GET TO KNOW SELF is so important, especially when we come face to face with our Shadow. The stronger we stand in our truth and the more confident we are of ourselves, the better we will notice when our Shadow is trying to vomit all over our happiness. "I make an effort to get to know myself every day."
TURNING THE BATTLE INTO PEACE
I've noticed that it doesn't work to 'battle' with our Shadow Side. To go into inner conflict about an old wound from our past for example, will keep the Shadow Side alive and well in an imbalanced and separate way - a battle between light and dark / good and evil. This is counterproductive.
The best way to transform this is to face it, listen to it, deal with it, learn from it, accept it and stand firm in our truth and heart space.
The fact is that we have a mysterious 'darker' side, which adds depth to our being. Our hurts can be transformed into great learning and wisdom to help us be better people. We are NOT victim and have no one to blame - when holding onto such thoughts we will not be able to move forward.
GOING BENEATH THE SURFACE
To avoid our Shadow / inner darkness is to stay fluffing around the surface of our life and experiencing rage moments when our Shadow is triggered by something in our life.
To have the courage to push through our fear, break through resistance and to see ourselves through honest eyes will help us expand our Light, explore more of our Shadow and become more expanded beings.
CONTINUING TO AVOID OUR SHADOW
If we choose to continue avoiding our shadow using distractions, numbing methods or letting fear be successful in our life we are only holding ourselves back. We may find it hard to move forward with any sort of momentum because our Soul is being stifled, and our Shadow is succeeding at its job - to hold us back. No excuses now. Is there any reason big enough that we could let it hold us back from potential happiness?
If we keep avoiding our hurt then everything will continue to get louder - problems will get worse - life will weigh us down further - and, we will slip further into the abyss within us.
It takes courage to face our Shadow, to accept responsibility for how we feel, our wounds and how we react, it takes immense courage to push through our fear and step out of our comfort zone. We have courage for a reason, and if nothing else, it can be our motivator and companion to move forward and become further aligned with our truth and who we are. In other words to push past what is holding us back.
Will you let fear hold you back from your dreams?
Will you allow your past hurt to hold you back from happiness?
How can you celebrate, accept and dance with your shadow?
It is an important aspect of who we are. Without our shadow we would have no depth.
Thanks for reading. This is a guide only based on my experience personally connecting with and working with my Shadow Side for many decades. Take on board what feels right to you and let the rest go.
- Lee-Anne Peters
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