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

own your shadow

It’s all too easy to see all of the evil ‘out there’ in the world. But nothing could be further from the truth. The more you waste precious mental energy on believing that there are some unknown evil doers out there in the world, the less capacity you will have to look for the evil, malevolent, and vicious parts in your own heart. And there is no coming to true consciousness without first observing your own capacity for the evils that you perceive in others.

Stop blaming ‘the man’, the president, or conspiracy theories for how the world is, and instead look inwards and observe your own capacity for evil/greed/hatred/etc.

Wake up, on an individual level, and you will have moved the world further forwards than if you had spent that same energy blaming others for the state of the world.

3. Free writing

Self-observation is key when it comes to digging into our own blind spots.

Free-write (aka writing without stopping) three pages of notes in your journal every day for a week and see what starts to fall out of you. For this practice, I strongly recommend pen to paper writing over digital writing.

You may not be surprised by 70% of what falls out of you general worries and anxieties that take up a lot of your brain space to-do lists random observations about your life. But there will be 30% of your output that will surprise you.

“Hmm I didn’t know that was in there. Or at least not to that degree.”

Maybe you’ll realize how much simmering anger you have been sitting on about a recent conflict with a friend. Or maybe you will notice just how much stress you have been holding on to about some long-standing theme in your life.

Free-writing is like mining for gold (side note: I’m obvs a miner in my spare time so this upcoming analogy will be flawless). Most of what comes through you will just be rocks, soil, and rubble. But the nuggets of gold that you find via your efforts will be well worth it.

4. Meditation

Meditation is another potent way to observe your ego-personality in real time.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a big daunting task. It doesn’t have to be sitting in total stillness and silence for an hour at a time on a firm cushion.

Meditation Can Change the Brain’s Structure
How To Own Your Shadow Before It Owns You: 7 Helpful Exercises

Your version of meditation can be dancing to sensual music for fifteen minutes every morning. Or sitting and looking at a lit candle for three minutes and breathing deeply. Or you can scream at the top of your lungs into a big pillow for thirty seconds, five days a week (RIP vocal chords).

Similar to the nuggets of gold that come through in the panning for gold analogy in the previous exercise, certain thoughts, biases, and shadow elements will creep through between the cracks of silence your mind will access during your meditation practice.

Catch them, keep them, and hold on to them for further processing.

Read Meditation: A Mystical Practice That Leads You To A Prosperous Life

5. Talk based therapy

One of the fastest ways to improve the quality of your life is to increase the time you spend around high quality mirrors. Not mirrors like the reflective surfaces that you look into while having sex with your partner (like, real-time porn starring you and your loved one not in an American Psycho way), but mirrors in terms of people who are adept at validating your experience and reflecting your essence (and your blind spots) back to you.

The beauty, and frustration, with being human is that we’re all too close to ourselves. We can catch some of our little quirks and idiosyncrasies as they’re happening, but the majority of them we are completely blind to. That’s where having high quality mirrors comes in.

If you have emotionally intelligent, kind, non-shaming, non-bullshitting friends who can act as mirrors for you and have bandwidth for your process, amazing. Lean on those people and treat the relationships like gold. You are in the 1% of most lucky humans in the world.

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