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Shadow Work

From the time we’re children, we’re taught to be afraid of the dark. Monsters under the bed, in the closet, hiding in the shadows. Darkness has been associated with monsters and evil for far too long. And what is a monster? A monster is what does not fit into normative society. The bits and pieces of ourselves that stand out too much and cause discomfort to varying degrees.

When we apply this to self-exploration, it’s no wonder we continue to hide the parts of ourselves that society has deemed unacceptable. The parts of ourselves that we don’t want to look at for one reason or another. We’ve learned to tuck them away and pretend they don’t exist. What happens what something is neglected over long periods of time? It festers and lashes out.

What if our shadow self, our monsters, are just aspects of ourselves that are yearning to be seen and held? The monster that shows up as defensive jealously might just be a survival mechanism for a wound that wasn’t given the love that was needed. The blind rage that could kill a person and not even realize it could be a result of neglected hurt. The addict, in whatever way it shows up, perhaps comes from a place of hopelessness because they were never truly seen.

What would happen if you changed your approach to your own monsters? Instead of shoving them under your bed, invite them out with empathy and curiosity. Ask yourself: Why are they showing up this particular way? What is underneath the lashing out? What are they yearning for? Could it be a possibility that, when nurtured, your monsters are one of your strengths instead of a weakness?

When you start approaching your shadow self from a place of understanding and compassion, you are better able to integrate those aspects. This, in turn, makes it possible for long lasting transformation to take place and deep embodiment of your whole self.

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