What Is The Shadow Self?
Exploring What Lies Beneath The Surface
Have you ever felt like there was a part of you that you couldn’t quite understand? That no matter what you did, it seemed to be there in the back of your mind, influencing and shaping your decisions without your conscious knowledge?
If so, what you’re experiencing is what psychologists call the “shadow self.”
The shadow self refers to aspects of our personality that we bury deep down inside out of emotions like fear or shame. It consists of both negative and positive traits, fears, and desires which aren’t always easy to recognize or accept.
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is the shadow self?” and how understanding it can help us make better decisions in life.
- What Is The Shadow Self And What Causes It?
- Exploring the Effects of the Shadow Self on Our Behavior
- How Understanding Our Shadow Self Can Help Us Make Better Decisions in Life
- Steps to Uncovering Your Own Shadow Self
- Tips for Dealing with Negative Aspects of Your Shadow Self
- Wrapping Up – Taking Control of Your Own Destiny by Knowing Yourself Better
What Is The Shadow Self And What Causes It?
The shadow self is an often overlooked, yet deeply important part of our personality. It consists of aspects of ourselves that we are not consciously aware of or embarrassed to admit, such as our fears, negative traits, and desires.
However, it can also hold positive traits, such as assertiveness or a talent.
This part of us is usually buried deep within our subconscious minds, hidden from everyday awareness. The thing about this is that it can manifest itself in subtle ways in our behavior and attitude without us even realizing it.
And that can cause us some issues!
So, what causes the shadow self to develop? Generally speaking, the root cause is a combination of factors. One possible explanation is that the shadow self is an accumulation of suppressed emotions and experiences from childhood that have never been confronted or expressed.
Maybe our parents inadvertently encouraged us to repress certain aspects of ourselves as we were growing up, either indirectly through their own behaviors or directly through words or actions.
Other environmental influences such as school or peer pressure may also play a role in shaping our shadow selves over time.
Another factor could be what psychologists call “self-limiting beliefs”, or ideas we take on board as children which limit what we think we can achieve in life. These beliefs can lead us to internalize negative feelings about ourselves, which then become a part of our shadow self over time.
Speaking for myself, I picked up plenty of self-limiting beliefs while growing up on a home where substance abuse was present, such as:
“I’m not worthy.”
“I have to do it all by myself.”
“No one really likes me.”
Finally, cultural messages such as what society considers “normal” or “acceptable” may also contribute to forming this shadow side of our personality.
In any case, what all these causes have in common is that they involve repressing certain aspects of who we truly are so that other people will think more positively about us. Although this strategy may seem effective in the short term, it has long-term consequences for how we see ourselves and how much control we have over our own lives.
Exploring the Effects of the Shadow Self on Our Behavior
Exploring the effects of the self on our behavior is a crucial part of personal growth and understanding.
Again, the “shadow self” is the unconscious part of our personality that contains hidden aspects of ourselves that we may not want to acknowledge or accept
In order to gain insight into our shadow selves, it’s important to look at how it affects our behavior and attitude.
You see, the shadow self can manifest itself in many different ways, including feelings of insecurity, fear of failure, low self-esteem, perfectionism and procrastination. These symptoms are indicative of the lack of control we have over our inner lives due to not fully embracing what lies beneath the surface.
For example, feeling insecure might be a sign that we are scared to make decisions or take risks because we aren’t sure what might happen if we do.
There were plenty of times in my life where I avoided taking risks or stepping out of my comfort zone, because I was afraid of what might happen. I didn’t have much courage back then.
Our shadow selves can also show up in other ways, such as being overly critical of ourselves or others. This type of self-criticism can lead us to become rigid in our thinking or push away people who could be beneficial to us in some way. It can also cause us to be too hard on ourselves, which can then lead to feelings of guilt and low self-worth.
By taking the time to explore what lies beneath the surface and what motivates our behavior, we can start to make more informed decisions about how we live our lives and what kind of relationships we allow into it.
By doing so, we develop greater insight into why certain thoughts come up when they do and what triggers them in the first place. We also begin to gain a better understanding of what truly makes us happy versus what is simply ego driven or masking underlying fears and anxieties.
Not only does exploring the shadow self allow us greater access into what drives our behavior, but it also helps us break old patterns that no longer serve us well while creating new ones that support us on a deeper level. Becoming aware of what lies within creates an opportunity for personal growth as well as increased emotional resilience which allows us to weather life’s storms with more grace than before.
Overall, understanding the effects of the shadow self on our behavior can help set ourselves free from long held assumptions about what motivates us, while allowing for more conscious choices in every aspect of life.
Ultimately, this can enhance everything from relationships with others to professional pursuits and beyond.
How Understanding Your Shadow Self Can Help You Make Better Decisions in Life
When you can understand the question, “What is the shadow self” a bit more, you’ll be able to make better decisions in life.
Because it allows you to gain insight into what lies beneath the surface of your personality and what motivates your behavior. Essentially, you get to know the “whys” of how you’re feeling or behaving. By exploring what lies within, you can begin to identify what drives your thoughts, emotions, and reactions; thereby allowing for more conscious choices.
You can also start to make decisions that are more aligned with what truly matters to you versus what is simply masking underlying fears and anxieties. Once you gain insight into the root cause of what drives your choices, it allows for greater autonomy over what happens next; thereby allowing for more meaningful interactions
Uncovering your own shadow self can be a daunting task. However, with dedication and patience it is possible to gain greater insight into what lies beneath the surface of your personality and what motivates your behavior. Here are a few steps that can help you uncover your own shadow self:
Steps to Uncovering Your Own Shadow Self
1. Identify what makes you feel uncomfortable.
The first step towards understanding what lies within your shadow self is to identify what makes you feel uncomfortable or triggered. Take a few moments to really think about what thoughts, feelings, or emotions make you feel uneasy and what situations bring up these reactions in the first place.
2. Write down what comes up.
Once you have identified what makes you feel uncomfortable or triggered, take a few moments to write down what comes up. Make sure to be as detailed as possible and don’t be afraid to explore what lies beneath the surface. Writing down what comes up can help you gain greater clarity into what is motivating your behavior and what needs to change in order to gain greater autonomy over what happens next.
This is one reason journaling and guided journaling is so helpful. Putting on paper the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can help you pinpoint the “shadows” that are arising in order to be seen, heard, healed, and integrated.
For more information on tracking and healing emotional triggers, check out our guided journal:
Shadow Work: Tracking & Healing Emotional Triggers Mindfully
3. Find strategies to cope with what comes up.
Once you have identified what lies beneath the surface, it’s important to find effective coping strategies in order to manage what comes up. This could involve speaking to a trusted friend or family member, seeking professional help if needed, journaling, or even taking part in activities that help you express what comes up in a healthy manner.
By understanding what lies within your shadow self, it allows you to have more control over your life. This can help you have more meaningful interactions with others and make better decisions in life.
Exploring what lies beneath the surface can be challenging, but with dedication and patience it is possible to gain greater insight into what truly motivates you and what needs to change.
Tips for Dealing with Negative Aspects of Your Shadow Self
When we explore what lies beneath the surface of our personalities, we may come across aspects that make us feel uncomfortable. These are often considered to be negative traits, fears, and desires that we would rather not acknowledge or accept. While it can be a daunting task to come to terms with what lies within our shadow self, gaining insight into what drives our behavior and what needs to change can help us make better decisions in life.
Here are few tips that can help you effectively manage the negative aspects of your shadow self:
1. Speak to a trusted friend or family member
Maintaining supportive relationships with friends and family members is an important part of managing any negative aspects of your shadow self. Talking to someone you trust can help you gain greater insight into what is causing the uncomfortable feelings and what needs to change in order for you to take back control of your life.
2. Seek Professional Help if Needed
If the negative aspects of your shadow self are severely affecting your emotional wellbeing, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. This could involve talking to a psychologist or counselor who can provide you with support and guidance on how to effectively manage what lies beneath the surface.
It really helped me to see a trauma therapist, and somatic experiencing practitioner. Somatic simply means body, and these practitioners are really great at helping you heal old wounds. Mine really helped me get back in touch with my body, as I’d been disconnected for many years. I tended to shut off from my emotions, or repress them, rather than cope with them in a healthy way.
3. Practice Mindfulness and Take Part in Relaxing Activities
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for becoming aware of what lies within our shadow selves and what drives our behavior. Taking part in activities such as yoga, meditation, dancing, and sports can help you express what comes up in a healthy manner while also providing an outlet for your emotions.
Conclusion: What is the Shadow Self?
Hopefully, you understand the topic, “What is the shadow self” much more. In conclusion, the shadow self is an important part of our personality that can have both positive and negative effects on our behavior and attitude.
By exploring what lies within our shadow selves, or what we call shadow work, we can gain a greater understanding of what’s going on under the surface and face, feel, deal, and heal.
This may feel challenging at times, but with dedication and patience, it is possible to heal and integrate shadows so we can live a more peaceful and happier life.
Ready to explore what lies beneath the surface? Take your first steps doing shadow work with our Shadow Work Guided Journals.
Rediscovering Sacredness Guided Journals
Here at Rediscovering Sacredness, we provide people with the tools and resources they need to better their mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Our guided journals and useful guides are designed to help you work through your problems and grow in a safe, healthy way. We believe that everyone has the potential for greatness, and we are here to help you find it. With our products, you can regain control of your life and reclaim your happiness.
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Inner Healing Shadow Work eCourse
In this course, we will delve into the “shadow” aspect of your psyche, or the unconscious parts of yourself. We will work to improve our understanding of emotions, open our hearts, learn to regulate an anxious nervous system, and awaken to a deeper sense of spirituality. Through this process, we will aim to tear down any walls we have built around our hearts and embrace a greater sense of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
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Rediscovering Sacredness offers helpful resources & guides to help you identify and heal your inner wounds. Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, there’s hope for emotional healing, growth, and spiritual awakening. We focus on digging deep, doing the inner healing work, shadow work, ancient wisdom techniques & rituals to assist you live the kind of life you were meant to.