Abha Jha (name changed on request) was only 6 years old when she first saw her parents fighting and cursing each other. Whenever it happened after that, she sought to protect her younger brother and hid in a room until the noises died down.
Jha, 45, grew up as a calm, withdrawn child and stopped expressing her emotions. This impacted her in the long run and made her reluctant to marry her own. Her divorce, in part, prompted her to seek an empathetic counselor who helps her heal the past through shadow work, an age-old therapeutic technique that is currently all the rage with millions of users on the platforms. of social media such as TikTok and Instagram.
“From around the age of 3 or 4, every experience we have impacts our life in one way or another,” explains behavioral researcher and therapist Deenaz Damania. “The more painful an experience, the greater the effort we make to drive it out of our conscious mind. But he does not forget himself. Rather, it is pushed back deep within us and added to our library of unconscious memories. As [psychoanalyst Sigmund] Freud explained that these unconscious memories continue to impact our daily lives as adults.
Identify the “shadow me”
The term shadow work was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and it’s all about recognizing the “dark side” of our personality. According to Jung: “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to recognize about himself. How can I be substantial if I don’t cast a shadow? I also have to have a dark side if I want to be whole.
The “shadow self” is the child who was hurt in their early years or who did not have the compassion or love they deserved. These types of early trauma lead to deep wounds that never fully heal and affect a person in adulthood. Shadow work helps people connect with their deepest, darkest side to recognize all of their pent-up emotions and childhood traumas, in order to heal themselves, empower themselves, and live life in. its full potential.
On the other hand, when you remove childhood trauma and injured parts of your psyche, it creates stress which can lead to serious mental health issues or addictive behavior for relief. It also shapes your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Out of the shadows
“We all have a personal relationship with shame and guilt, and this hidden association supports our pain and suffering,” says Damania. “Working behind the scenes helps people find freedom and gives them the courage and compassion to explore and expose these emotions. He teaches us that the “story of shame” can be brought out of the shadows and does not have to imprison us for life. “
Ingrid Hanlon, Writer for the Self-Esteem and Self-Improvement Blog Marguerite Garni, says, “The more you shame and blame your shadow, the less likely you are to see yourself.” The more you accept your shadow, the easier it is to grow taller. Give him your love, compassion and understanding.
Dealing with the past, recognizing toxic behaviors, and having an inner monologue are ways to help us with our interactions and personal relationships, as well as to build self-esteem and heal generational trauma.
“Low self-esteem, anxieties and false beliefs play a big role in how we see ourselves. As a therapist, it is very rewarding to help a counselor remove layers of memories laden with dust, hurt and pent-up ideas of personal insufficiency, which dictate the quality of their current life in needlessly detrimental ways ” , explains Damania. “Through therapy, people can recognize and transform emotional pain into a sense of well-being and release from the past. “
Make the shade work for you
Forgiveness is an essential part of the shadow work process, as is dealing with your inner demons. Spiritual blogger Linette Meder says the shadow is accessible through dreams and meditation or through someone’s hurtful criticism of your qualities. Usually, what we find disturbing in others is also a reflection of the part of us that is unpleasant. It is therefore important to identify the triggers: who or what makes you angry or irritating you?
Then comes working with a therapist who helps you break those patterns over and over again until the triggers stop bothering you. Getting into a meditative or theta state and accessing painful memories of the past with the help of a therapist is also helpful.
In her video on shadow work, YouTuber Keelin Moncrieff, 23, offers a list of 15 prompts that challenge thought processes from letting go of grudges to slowing down and then talking about tools to heal them.
Many practitioners of therapy keep a parallel work journal to help identify triggers and look for catharsis. Digging deep into the roots of behavioral patterns can be painful, but expressing our emotions in healthy ways, becoming more confident, and eventually being the best version of ourselves is essential.
The shadow work ultimately helps us to graciously accept that we are all so much of me in one, says Damania “to integrate them into ourselves with courage and compassion, and to treat each other with the same kindness, the same gentleness. and the same love we would with a good friend. “
Updated: November 29, 2021, 12:06 PM