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Shadow Work from Psychological and Spiritual perspective

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Usually, when we speak about the shadow, people can sometimes get terrified because they immediately connect the term shadow with something evil. The term shadow work scares people. They imagine a demon, ghost, or something terrible when they first hear it. But the shadow is not a ghost or any evil being. So what are the shadow and shadow work?

Let's describe the shadow and shadow work from a psychological and a spiritual perspective.

Shadow Work from a psychological perspective

From a psychological perspective, the "shadow" and "shadow work" is unconscious or disowned part of your personality. Psychologist Carl Young was the first person who brought these two terms into the Western world. He claims that the shadow is born in childhood and is a byproduct of specific interactions you experience with your family. According to Young, when your parents start projecting their beliefs onto you at a very young age, that's where the shadow is born.

Here is an example:

Imagine that you're a sensitive little child. You are emotional, and you start to cry easily. When you cry, your parents come along and start saying to you: "stop crying; you are like a baby." Once parents project these beliefs onto the child, the kid sees that his sensitive side is not accepted. The day that that little child hides his sensitive side is when his shadow is born, according to Young.

Once a sensitive child starts suppressing "unwanted" parts of him, he will continue doing this process throughout his life, depending on what projections are onto him. That's the beginning of his shadow that will keep growing and growing as the child does not accept specific parts of himself. So from a psychological perspective, the shadow is something like an unconscious part or disowned part of your personality born in childhood.

Although the terms "Shadow" and "Shadow work" were brought into the Western world by psychology and Carl Young, the shadow has been known for thousands of years. Shamans are well-known healers that are experts in shadow work. So the problem of the shadow was here long before Young brought it into the mainstream Western world. Shimano cultures have been working with it for thousands of years.

Shadow Work from a spiritual perspective

From a spiritual perspective, the shadow is any part of you that you do not see, acknowledge or accept in yourself. So the shadow is not just something that exists in your psyche. Elements of shadow can exist outside of the mind. And this is important to keep in mind because if you're trying to heal something only from your mind, you will never achieve success. To fully heal, we have to understand that it's not just a mind phenomenon, it's multifaceted, and it's present in various parts of you.

Let's take the example of the little child, this sensitive little boy or girl whose parents were blaming for crying. The child began to create his shadow by pushing away certain unacceptable parts of him outside of him. What do you think the child is going to do on a spiritual level?

The child will shut down the part of him that makes him sensitive in the first place. And that is his heart chakra. He will lock his heart chakra in response to being criticized for being sensitive. So as you can see, the shadow is not just in his thoughts.

And here's another difference between psychological and spiritual perspectives on the shadow. From a psychological perspective, your shadow is born in your childhood, but from a spiritual perspective, it can be born in past lives. The parts of your shadow that you carry today can come from past lives, not just from this childhood. Your soul comes to earth to experience human life many times.

Why do I need to know why it is essential to know that my shadow comes from past lives and not just this childhood? If you study the shadow from a one-lifetime perspective, you can't work through it, and you can't heal. If you think your shadow is only coming from this childhood, you will miss pieces of it. And whatever you miss, you can't integrate.

You need to remember that your shadow contains both positive and negative qualities. Although the shadow's negative aspects usually bother us and affect our lives the most, the shadow isn't just negative. Because we focus more on the negative side of the shadow, we often don't discuss its positive attributes. Your shadow contains many untapped potential gifts and talents you have not yet discovered.

Now that you know what the shadow is and that there's nothing to be afraid of, the next question is, why should I even care about the shadow?

Shadow can affect your behavior and your life experiences. When someone with an opened third eye and psychic gifts looks at a person's shadow, it almost looks like a separate entity. So it's almost like you are fragmented, and it's almost like two different people are operating inside of you.

You don't have to use psychic abilities to spot the shadow. Have you ever met someone so kind and gentle, but then with a snap of the finger, that person turns into a devil? What happened to this peaceful, thoughtful person? How did they turn into a demon in the next minute? A powerful shadow can turn your life upside down, causing chaos. The reason is that the shadow takes control when that person is triggered. The shadow often affects the relationships and can potentially destroy them.

When that shadow operates as a separate entity, it looks like it has its own energy field. Because we live in an energy-based universe, your shadow, by its own vibration, will start attracting similar energy. Your shadow will start drawing experiences that resonate with the vibration of the shadow. Your shadow is going to attract all kinds of drama and all kinds of painful experiences.

Never underestimate your shadow and the power of shadow work. It's a powerful healing method that will help you to heal, accept, and find your hidden gifts.

Learn more about Shadow Work:

7 Shadow Work Exercises to Heal Your Inner Child & Embrace Your Shadow

Shadow work: Healing Crystals for Shadow Work

Higher Self vs Shadow Work: Discover two different sides of your personality

Shadow work: Healing Crystals for Shadow Work

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