Confront your shadow with shadow work prompts to increase your unconditional love for yourself.
We are all on our own journeys toward becoming a better version of ourselves. After all, you’re reading a blog post from a self-love blog. One question I want to ask you is on your personal development journey, have you ever considered doing shadow work?
This may sound like a weird concept but it is about self discovery and unearthing all parts of you. This is about facing the important things we’ve repressed for years in our unconscious mind. It can be a really powerful tool for fully accepting yourself.
I know originally I thought this was a little woo woo for me but once I gave it a shot, I was able to discover some truly powerful reasons why I am the way I am.
The shadow is a part of ourselves that we wish to hide. It’s the ugliest parts of ourselves, at least that’s what we believe. Since we don’t like these parts of us that are not ideal, we try to push them away.
But when we refuse to face our shadows, they become more powerful and often come out in other ways: depression, addiction, anger… The good news is that with some time and effort you can overcome any darkness in your life by practicing self-love and accepting all parts of yourself through shadow work.
Journal prompts are an easy way for beginners to start practicing shadow work on their own when they don’t know where to start. They’re also helpful because it’s about exploring what you feel based on past events or traumas.
With prompts, you may come across questions you may not have thought to ask. It can help you get the ball rolling since this is a new practice.
Shadow work prompts can be extremely helpful on your self love journey which will build up your confidence.
So before we get into the shadow work prompts, let’s talk about what shadow work is a little more. Then we can jump into self love shadow prompts that you can incorporate into your journey of self-discovery. With this work, you will be able to overcome past traumas and be your truest self.
and who wouldn’t want that? The key is to be completely open.
Nothing is off-limits.
What is our Shadow?
Psychologist Carl Jung came up with the idea of our shadow. It basically is the part of ourselves that we aren’t proud of and therefore try to hide. It’s parts of ourselves that we’ve been taught aren’t ideal either by our upbringing or society.
While we try to hide or deny these parts of ourselves, our Shadow can emerge in other ways. We may become depressed, feel negative emotions like anger, envy, or greed… Our shadow is the darkest part of us that is not ideal, but it’s also an important part of who we are because it makes up our individuality.
Another way our shadow side may emerge is through negative self-talk and self-sabotage because you aren’t accepting every part of yourself.
However, we all know that repressing negative emotions is not a positive thing. Eventually, they will come out.
You know what I mean, we all have those outbursts. The straw that broke the camel’s back per se.
Like anything, it’s good to tackle these emotions and our shadow head-on. Then we can overcome our past trauma and learn to move forward.
This sounds kind like Freud’s ‘ID’
You might be thinking this sounds a lot like Freud’s ‘ID’ since this theory is more widely known. For those who don’t know, the ‘ID’ is part of our primal self where survival is the only thing that matters.
This part of ourselves is present at birth and its only concern is that our needs are being met.
It’s a selfish, self-indulgent part of who we are. But Jung separated the shadow from the ‘ID’ because it doesn’t have to be seen as bad.
In fact, both parts could be good or bad depending on what you choose to do with them. While your shadow can reveal your negative traits and emotions, this part of you will also expose the good parts that are trying to come out.
Because not everything we perceive as a bad trait could be perceived as bad by someone else. For example, you may have learned that being an introvert isn’t as good as being an extrovert so you try to repress that introverted part of you.
By practicing shadow work, you can discover these biases and determine if they are actually bad or not. Maybe you can use these personality traits to your advantage once you confront them.
Because being an introvert isn’t a bad thing. Once you can accept this part of yourself then you can live your best life because you will understand your needs better. You can schedule alone time to recharge your batteries so you can crush the rest of your day.
So, what can shadow work do?
It allows us to discover our true selves and get rid of negative traits/emotions that hold us back. It exposes our positive aspects if we acknowledge it. And finally, it brings balance in all aspects of ourselves by accepting every part of us.
Shadow work can be a powerful tool in our personal growth arsenal. After all, we have to know all parts of ourselves to truly grow and be better.
In my opinion, it is the best way to improve your mental health because it helps you accept yourself unconditionally. It’s okay that you feel jealous or that you’re putting yourself first.
We’re all humans and we’re going to make mistakes and scream and cry and it is important to know that that is okay.
Why you should take the time to do shadow work?
There are so many benefits to shadow work, but the most important ones for our purposes are building self love and confidence.
You see, when we accept every part of ourselves including the negative aspects, we can become comfortable with who we are. Especially if these negative aspects aren’t actual negative traits. For example, if you’re introverted and you feel like this is a bad thing because society has brainwashed us to think that it’s not great to be an introvert then there’s no need for self-loathing.
You may discover that your personality type is introversion and it actually gives you the chance to have a rich inner world and find joy within yourself instead of being around people the whole time.
Basically, you’ll feel so confident about who you are. If you can accept every part of yourself then it means that you love who you are because there’s no judgment on your being one way or another.
Getting the most out of shadow work
In order to get the most out of this process, you have to commit to doing it regularly. It’s easy for people to start a project or a journey then abandon it after a while because they don’t see immediate results. Don’t let that happen to you!
Consistency is key in shadow work just like with anything else in life.
So decide how often you’ll dive into your shadow. Then put in those reps so you can get the most out of this process.
Many people tend to be really hard on themselves when they make mistakes during the process of shadow work, especially when you’re just starting out.
Remember that it’s normal to slip up (after all, you’re trying to face what you don’t like about yourself) and there is no such thing as failing in this process. You are simply being human so you might as well embrace it.
If you make a mistake, then accept it and move on. The important thing is that you’re actually trying. Don’t try to half-ass it. If you do, you’re just hurting yourself.
When going through the prompts, I would keep a few things in mind for the best results and to gain the best clarity.
- Don’t hold anything back and keep an open mind — this is going to be an uncomfortable process but that means you’re doing it right.
- Feel your emotions — hopefully during this work, you find some experiences that you’ve repressed for quite some time. Be ready to embrace it and see where it leads you. You may find some emotions you’ve been repressing that you didn’t even realize.
- Practice self care afterwards — shadow work is a lot. Show yourself some self love by practicing self care to prove to yourself that you are worthy even if you possess their negative characteristics (remember, every human being has shadow traits)
35 Shadow Work Prompts
Here is some shadow work prompts for self love and confidence. Remember, this process can be very liberating but it isn’t going to be easy. You’re going to be feeling all the feels so try to dig deep and be open.
After all, this is just for you. Jump on in the deep end. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Check out these 35 shadow work journal prompts to get you started.
- Write about the first time you realized that your family didn’t approve of something about you.
- Who were you when you were younger? Write a list of all of your different personalities and how they acted/reacted in certain situations.
- What do people see in public but not in private?
- List out your worst traits. Explain why they are negative.
- Describe the moment when you realized your parents aren’t perfect. How did this make you feel?
- Describe a time when someone you care about broke your trust. Did you ever trust them again? What would you say to them now?
- List out some of your most painful memories. Why are they painful? What emotions were you feeling at that moment? How did you react?
- What do your family members believe? What are their values? Do you agree with them? Why?
- Why do you feel the need to be perfect? Describe a time from your childhood when you made a mistake. How did your parents react? How did this make you feel?
- Describe your relationship with your parents. you siblings. How has it changed since you were a child? Why?
- How do you process negative emotions? How did you express negative feelings as a child? What about now? What changed?
- What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone else?
- What’s the biggest promise someone else has broken? the biggest promise you’ve ever broken? How did that make you feel?
- What was the last argument you had? What emotions came out? How did you handle it?
- How often do you forgive yourself? Is this something you struggle with? Why?
- Do you forgive others easily? Easier than yourself?
- What emotions make you feel the most uncomfortable? Which emotions do you try to avoid? Why?
- Does anyone in your life (either past or present) downplay your emotions? What do they do? How does that make you feel?
- Write about a time when you used your intelligence in a negative way. What did that teach you?
- How do you feel when someone praises you?
- How do you feel when someone insults you?
- What was the last thing that made you really angry? When have you been the angriest in your life thus far? Why were you angry? What did you do about it?
- What have been some of your biggest failures in life? How did that make you feel?
- Are you kind to yourself? Are you your biggest critic? Why?
- Describe your biggest regret.
- What is perfectionism to you? Is it actually attainable?
- Have you ever felt abandoned by someone you loved? Describe a time and the emotions you felt.
- Describe a time when you felt alone. Why?
- What triggers negative emotions in you? Why?
- What scares you the most? Write out worst-case scenarios. Why is this so bad?
- Describe your healthiest relationship. How do they make you feel?
- Describe your unhealthiest relationship. How do they make you feel? What are some of the toxic traits of that relationship?
- Who are you jealous of? Why? What traits of theirs do you admire? What do they have that you don’t?
- Do you ask for help? If not, why?
- What makes you anxious? Why?
Here is what you should take away from these shadow work prompts.
Remember these shadow work questions are starting points and a good first step to positive change. To really come to terms with your shadow self, you’re going to have to dive deep into it. That’s how shadow work is done.
Keep asking why until you’ve unearthed the true reason. None of this surface stuff. That’s not where your shadow hangs out.
Go at your own pace, and go as deep as you can. You’ll be so much happier because of it!
If you aren’t going to take the time to go deep and really answer the questions then there is no point. You can use these questions as jumping off points to get your own ideas flowing, though.
Use the answers you’ve come up with to help guide your hand. Since this is all about self-love and building confidence, think about what the answers say about you. What do your answers say about who you are? How can that be used to help you build self-love and confidence?
When the final answer is written, there’s no going back. If you’re unhappy with something, don’t worry. The point of shadow work isn’t to erase the past; it’s to change how we go forward.
Finding the root cause of our issues is what really allows us to grow. There are gems hidden in every shadow work prompt that will help you get there. You just have to answer the questions and let the gems be revealed.
If you’re still struggling with negative emotions after practicing shadow work exercises, it may be beneficial to get professional help. A therapist can ask the right questions for your situation and has other tools to help you accept this part of your personality.
Shadow work is a powerful way to build self-love and confidence. By exploring your shadows with these journal questions, you can learn more about your true self and how you interact with the world around you.
These journal prompts are just starting points; to really come to terms with our shadow selves, we need to dive deep into them. The answers we find can help us grow in ways we never thought possible. So go at your own pace, and remember that the point of shadow work is to change how you go forward in your daily life.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried shadow work before. Did you discover anything surprising?
Until next time,
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