It’s a really, really good question – seeing is shadow work is pretty much looking at your worst negative traits, isn’t it?
…And it’s the reason a lot of folks are wary of shadow diving in the first place, especially if you’re into Law of Attraction or read a lot about how you should be keeping your frequency HIGH. (And if you’ve been into spirituality for at least the last 10 years then THAT program can run pretty deep).
What is Shadow Work?
A quick re-cap – shadow work is the process of looking into your unconscious, to find out what’s hidden there.
Pretty much all of us humans have spent lifetimes disowning aspects of our personalities.
Parts that are “too this…”
“Not enough this…”
“Not enough that…”
And these parts get pushed away and forgotten about by the conscious mind (ego), either gradually over time (due to family, social or cultural constructs) or sometimes suddenly due to shock or trauma.
Makes sense. We all have to fit in here.
Yet there comes a point in many people’s lives, when they go searching. Searching for the pieces that they lost… the pieces that got hidden in the shadow. But of course, the journey into the shadowlands often involves:
a) looking at all those unwanted, unlovable and “too this…” or “too that…” pieces, and
b) searching out and remembering the trauma that caused those parts to fracture off in the first place.
So the process of shadow work isn’t a walk in the park!
It’s not pretty, it’s not glamorous, or uplifting, or anything close to “high vibe” and “love and light” and all those cliched spiritual states of being.
But we do it.
We do it because the results of shadow work are worth it.
The gains made through searching out your shadow self, and piecing your story (and yourself) back together are absolutely re-empowering from the core. And no amount of surface-level “love and light” will compare.
BUT will the process of healing your shadow, bring negativity into your life?
You know – before you actually get to that place of shadow integration and “wholeness”, will shadow work attract bad stuff?
Let’s get back to the question.
I get it. I am also one of those people who found a dusty copy of ‘the Secret’ on an old bookshelf about 15 years ago, and agree that yes, what you focus on does create your reality …So will focusing on the shadow bring more “shadow into your life”
The quick answer is: No.
Whatever’s in your shadow, is in your shadow already, whether you’re conscious of it or not.
This means that by doing your shadow work, you’re not bringing anything into being… you’re only bringing it to light. Your shadow (and any perceived negativity it holds) may feel more present in your life, but the truth is it’s no more present than it was last week.
What’s contained in your shadow IS already creating your reality
Those hidden fragments of your shadow self have already been attracting every experience you have!
…But up until this point, you simply haven’t had any conscious awareness of it.
So the most important first step of any shadow work method or program is self-realisation. It’s seeing what’s already there.
But something else happens when you’re doing your shadow work properly too:
The way I teach shadow work, self-inquiry is guided with absolute compassion. There is no space for self-judgment or self-criticism (that’s what caused the fragmentation in the first place!) But instead, the work is to hold and witness whatever unfolds with a kind and generous neutrality. What then happens is that any suppressed pieces of the self that choose to re-emerge from the shadow, come back because they know they’re not being seen as negative anymore.
This is a really, really important step.
And it’s got to be genuine too – no spiritual bypassing or mental gymnastics to convince yourself something is “good” when your heart says it isn’t. (And it’s also why shadow work is a practice of peeling back layers… this reframe usually doesn’t come in one go).
Ultimately, with work and practice, shadow work actually dissolves “negativity”
…Because it helps us all to realise that “negativity” is a construct. It’s a perception: a lens we look through. But in truth, all that any of us contain are love and beauty and power and potential
Shadow work unlocks your own access to those pieces from the inside.
Now leave me a comment – do you have doubts about doing shadow work?
Are you frightened it will bring negativity, or even be dangerous?
Let me know below!