Shadow work is like the IRS – you can try to run, you can try to hide, but it’s going to catch up with you and find you, sooner or later. For your entire life, if necessary.
It often feels tempting to put off and ignore shadow work. After all, you have things to do, right? The problem is that usually you can’t accomplish those things very effectively without doing the inner work first. It might look wonderful on the surface, but you won’t feel quite satisfied or complete, and you won’t know exactly why. It’s because there’s more to you, and something in you knows that if you get out of your own way, you’ll open up more energy, possibility and abundance than you can imagine.
But, you have to get out of your own way first. This is some of the most difficult work you will ever do, hand-in-hand with loving yourself. It makes sense, right? To get out of your own way, you have to love, trust and accept yourself enough to do so.
We don’t like to look at where we aren’t our best, because we have these internalized ideas about what that means. We think that if we acknowledge where we aren’t perfect, that invites judgment, disappointment, and feelings of failure. And it could – but that’s entirely up to you. Your shadows are not inherently deserving of shame, guilt and fear. Those are emotions that we project onto ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can instead work on loving, accepting, and finding compassion for our shadows. Everyone has them, after all.
Think, for a moment, about how silly it is. We all avoid our shadows. We find them hideous, shameful, unmentionable. But everyone has shadows. Do we think that because everyone has them, that everyone is disgusting, horrible, and unworthy of love? Of course we don’t. So why do we pronounce those awful judgments on ourselves? The truth is that we do not get to judge the shadows of ourselves or others. Who do we think we are to do so? It’s not our place. Nor is it productive.
The sooner you can learn to face and accept your shadows, the sooner you find the ability to work into them. Your blocked, stuck energy needs to release before you can find your true flow. That’s just the truth, and the longer you avoid it, the longer you stay stuck. I know it’s tempting to try to bypass this, but you’ll always have to come back to the same issues until you heal them.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, take a moment to make a list of all the issues in your life that keep coming up, over and over, that you can’t quite seem to get past. Those are your hints for where you have internal work to do. For example, I sabotage myself by not establishing a regular sleep schedule with healthy bedtime and morning rituals. I hate the way I feel about it, yet continue to stall my own goals and dreams by engaging in old patterns. This is where I need to dig in and find where this self-sabotage originates.
You are brave and strong – I know that you can face your shadows. You deserve to have a happy and fulfilled life. Doing this work will open up energy in so many areas, even seemingly unrelated to the task at hand. When you decide that you are worth it, that you want to free yourself, everything changes.
Sending you so much love. You’ve got this. Your shadows don’t make you less than. They just mean you’re human.