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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

#ShadowWork 👁️How deeply do you know yourself?




💭 Shadow Work is a healing practice focused on facing the unconscious, repressed parts of ourselves, including our insecurities, fears, and anxieties, as part as our #Healing and #Growth journeys…


💔 …and it’s not for the faint of heart! We humans often fear our ‘shadows’ for a reason. The feelings that we keep in our ‘shadows’ are things that hurt. Shadow Work feels unnatural and uncomfortable, because we, naturally, do not want to feel pain.


🤗 But though avoiding our ‘shadows’ might help us avoid discomfort in the short-term, neglecting our ‘shadows’ for too long will always result in negative effects on ourselves - and those around us. 


👻 Imagine your ‘shadow’ as the most injured, traumatised, hurt version of you. Though it might be difficult to be around, it deserves love, care, and patience, just like the happier versions of you do. Neglect has made it bitter and cold. If it is neglected for too long, it reaches capacity, and can lead to stressful consequences for both yourself as well as other people around you. For example, an individual who has neglected their shadow for a long time and avoided introspection might be more likely to have issues in their relationships with others, be more prone to lying to themselves and others, have heightened anxiety, treat others unkindly, and exhibit severely low levels of self esteem (and/or resort to the opposite extreme, exhibiting a very large ego). The saying goes that ‘hurt people hurt people,’ and this might be one reason why. But if, and when, you dare to get to know your shadow, it gradually becomes friendlier, warmer, and easier to be around. 


🧘‍♀️Like all the other parts of us, our ‘shadows’ are part of us, and have made us all into the beautiful, interesting humans we all are today. Thus, our goal is not to kill our ‘shadows,’ but make peace with them. We mentioned ‘exposure therapy’ in last week’s #SelfCare post; Shadow Work is a powerful form of ‘exposure therapy’ where one exposes themselves more frequently and fearlessly to their shadow. The more familiar we can become with our ‘shadows,’ the less intimidated we become. 


❣️Feeling ready to face your ‘shadows?’ These are some of the known benefits of doing shadow work:

  • Heal your relationships with others

  • Improve your relationships with others

  • Become more open to giving and receiving love

  • Become less fearful about relationships and ‘putting yourself out there’

  • Decrease the power that your triggers have over you. Especially for those of us with many layers of trauma (for intersectionally marginalised peoples, there are often many layers to get through), your triggers can be debilitating. They can even drive you to hate yourself, as well as the world - and this is not healthy! When you are ready to do it, shadow work can powerfully help you disempower your triggers. Your triggers might never go away, but with sustained work to face them, you become more and more powerful in managing them.

  • Improve your compassion for others, and your capacity to help others.

  • Accepting yourself more, and thus giving yourself the capacity to love yourself more

  • Being self aware while also being self-accepting and self-loving is a recipe for being a more balanced individual, who is able to both forgive yourself and hold yourself accountable. People who possess these qualities tend to be more resilient, and have more overall happiness.

  • Overcome self-sabotaging behaviour

  • Improve your overall mental health

  • Learn things about yourself you never knew before, and unlock your highest potential!


🔏So this weekend, introspect with us and our Shadow Work journaling prompts! The reassuring part about choosing to do Shadow Work through journaling and introspection is that nobody needs to know you are doing it, and you have the liberty to be as honest and vulnerable as you want with yourself. It is a deeply personal experience, and since you know yourself better than anyone else in this world, you can trust you to appreciate your honesty.


📝The following are our journaling prompts for this topic:

1: Prepare yourself for shadow work

  • Stay focused on your healing goals; the more you focus, the more effective the process will be. 

  • Be kind and patient with yourself. Shadow work takes time. 

  • Allow your body to feel intense emotions; crying is a sign of healing! Reflect  on your progress. 

  • Take breaks if you need.


2: Identifying your triggers and patterns of behaviour

Think  about what triggers you. Write them down. Take your time and take breaks if needed. Reflect; when you get triggered, where do you feel it in your body? How do you feel?


3: Facing your past

Think about your most emotional memories - especially your childhood ones. How does it feel to think about them? Could any of the things you think of be explanations for the triggers, habits, projections, and other behaviours? Do you feel controlled by these memories and the emotions they bring? If so, how can you reclaim your power over these painful memories?


4: Affirmations and aftercare

  • Affirm yourself! Write this down (in your own words if you want), and read it out loud:

  • “I am human, and my story has made me who I am. I thank my memories for making me into who I am; at the same time, I will no longer let my past control me I am working on myself at my own pace to heal. I deserve validation, patience, and love from others and myself.”


🪽In freeing our ‘shadows’, we liberate ourselves - and in freeing ourselves, we move forward in our fight for collective freedom.


#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings 



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