How To Own Your Shadow Before It Owns You: 7 Helpful Exercises

own your shadow

Why Is It So Difficult To Face Into Your Shadow?

The things that you suppress into the shadow were once put there for a reason. In many cases, these reasons may have literally felt like they were a matter of life or death.

It’s not uncommon for children in multi-sibling family systems to fear that if they don’t suppress the seemingly less lovable parts of themselves, that they will lose love and/or be cast out of the family.

If you are afraid of your own shadow, How will you face the substance that life is ready to offer you soon?
How To Own Your Shadow Before It Owns You: 7 Helpful Exercises

“Do mom and dad love my brother/sister more than me? Are my parents glad they had me? How do I earn my place in this family? Do I ask for too much?”

Even if these thoughts have no basis in reality (i.e. the parents were never on the precipice of throwing their worst behaved child out on the streets) fears like these can still propagate in the ego-centric minds of children.

When one begins to truly look into their shadow, there is much psychological resistance.

Especially around our most painful thoughts, memories, and layers of self-rejection, there are often psychological buffers that keep us from knowing the exact parts of us that we would be the most set free by alleviating.

The shadow is sneaky like this. It’s as if we’re walking through the snow… and our shadow compels us to walk in a direction our conscious mind wouldn’t want us to go. But when we look behind ourselves, we see no foot steps as to how we arrived there (because the unintegrated shadow hides our tracks, as we step, without our awareness).

It’s difficult to look into our shadow because it’s exactly these shadow aspects that we have been rejecting for years, if not decades. It has been their full time job to not be known by us.

Our shadow doesn’t want to be seen because the things that we cast aside long ago were too painful to truly be with.

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to face these aspects of ourselves and reclaim them (not at all). It simply means that these aspects of ourselves won’t be known by us without a fight.

Read 15 Prescriptions for Happiness That Will Change Your Life

The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge. – Carl Jung

Examples Of Shadow Thoughts

There are an infinite number of thoughts that could fall under the category of shadow thoughts.

Before we get into the exercises that will help you excavate your shadow material, in order to demystify the shadow further, I thought it would be beneficial to list examples of what shadow thoughts can sound like. These are real life examples that I have either heard in group shadow work classes, from the mouths of my clients (anonymously, as always), and a few from my own journey mixed in for good measure.

Scroll to Top