Ask it questions and allow it to answer. Write down the messages in your journal and highlight any truths that are revealed. Maybe your shadow is telling you that it’s time to stop putting yourself down in front of your friends or that you need some time alone on the weekend?
Make some space to start a dialogue with your shadow. Once it is heard and acknowledged it won’t run riot in your life.
Move your body
Sometimes all that’s needed to shift shadow emotions is to move through them.
Yoga and dance are both great ways to allow your negative feelings to dissolve because they encourage acceptance of the emotions whilst also encouraging them to move on.
Think about a type of movement that is fun for you. It could be blasting your favourite song and dancing around the living room or surfing with a friend.
Fun movement is a sure-fire way to allow your body to process negative feelings in a healthy way – a great reason to get off the couch.
Shower your shadow with kindness
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: kindness begins with SELF-compassion.
Next time you find yourself in a foul mood or overwhelmed with anxiety or shame, try showering yourself with deep kindness. Notice your self-talk. Is it judgemental or loving? Can you develop a new voice that whispers things like: “You’re doing so well” or “Let’s try this again”, in the same way you would lovingly encourage a child?
Once you’ve learned to accept your shadow side as a necessary part of you (who won’t be leaving anytime soon!), you become practised at soothing your own hurt feelings and understanding your past wounding. Even if it feels weird at first, practise saying to yourself, “I see that you’re scared/hurt/anxious and I’m here for you. This too, shall pass.”
Kindness is a habit that can be learned, and treating yourself with compassion when you’re at your lowest is the best way to practise it.
Accept that shadow is a life-long practice, not a quick-fix
Shadow work isn’t something you just tick off on your to-do list. It is cyclical and invites you to pay attention to how you’re feeling in each moment. While it’s work that will never be done, shadow work is also a way of life that can become seamless and beautiful, and, more than anything, empowering.
The more you practise recognising your shadow as it arises, and move through the steps of integrating this long-denied part of yourself, the less havoc it will create in your life.
Self-knowledge is power.
Geordie Bull is a relationship coach + NLP practitioner who helps women with relationship and parenting issues, confidence and self- worth. She is also a journalist and blogger who writes regularly on the topics of emotional wellbeing, parenting and motherhood on her blog at www.geordiebull.com.au.