7 Concrete Signs Your Shadow Work Is Actually Working

We all hide away parts of ourselves. We bury our doubts, fears, anxieties, shame, traumas. We reject these parts of ourselves because they threaten the way we present ourselves to the world. According to Carl Jung, these dark and deeply emotional sides to our personalities are known as the Shadow Self.

It’s important for us to shed light on our Shadow Self in order to find healing and peace with who we are. In order to do that, you have to do Shadow Work. Shadow Work is a deeply personal and introspective process. There are a number of healing benefits to shadow work: deeper self-acceptance and self-love, discovery of hidden talents and a greater purpose, and more compassion for others.

You can practice Shadow Work through therapy, journaling, meditating, and speaking words of affirmation to yourself. While this work is uncomfortable and scary, it’s still incredibly important. It’s a great way to see the parts of yourself not as “bad” or “flawed” but simply just a part of who you are. Shadow Work is a healing practice to help you no longer be held back by yourself.

Here are some signs that the Shadow Work you’ve been doing is working:

Increased Self-Awareness

When you start to embrace your shadow self, you will become more self-reflective, self-compassionate, and more accepting of who you are. Not only are you more aware of your thought patterns, your behavioral tendencies, and your emotional triggers, but you’re also capable of working through any problem areas. You’re aware that the parts of your Shadow Self are not meant to be denied and instead, seen as valid parts of your personality.

Acceptance and Resilience of Emotions

Shadow Work invites you to look at your “negative” emotions without judgment or suppression. These “negative” emotions are anger, sadness, fear, and shame. You accept that these emotions are not “bad” or “flaws” but rather just a part of who you are, period. You accept the fact that these are your emotions. You no longer project your insecurities, fears, and unresolved issues onto others. You take responsibility for them. You develop coping mechanisms for them too, so when challenging situations come up, you know how to handle them with composure and ease.

Improved Relationships

As you become more understanding and empathetic towards yourself, you will also become more understanding and empathetic towards others, too. You will recognize that everyone is struggling with something, everyone is dealing with their own shadow selves. By acknowledging and accepting this, you will ultimately develop better and even healthier relationships with others.

Release of Repressed Memories

Shadow Work uproots a lot of repressed memories and trauma and doing that work is incredibly difficult. If you want to heal, you first have to admit you’re hurting in the first place. Instead of suppressing and ignoring your trauma, you are now finally acknowledging it, processing it, and working towards healing from it. Healing from trauma is exhausting and difficult, but it’s important nonetheless.

Healthy Boundaries

As mentioned before, you will start to develop healthier and better relationships with others. While you are becoming more compassionate and understanding of others and yourself, you are realizing one of the kindest things you can do is to set healthy boundaries. Sometimes we really don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to listen to our friends and family complain about something. And that’s okay. As you’re doing the Shadow Work, you will learn how to set healthy boundaries with your loved ones.

Less Self-Sabotage

You look at your fear, anger, shame, and sadness as flaws and keep yourself from opportunities and experiences because of it. That is self-sabotage. As you do the Shadow Work–most likely through journaling and therapy–you become aware of this behavioral tendency and destructive pattern and work to diminish it.

Authenticity and Wholeness

Shadow Work invites you to accept yourself. It shows you how you can fully express your thoughts, feelings, and desires openly and honestly. It shows you how to become more authentic and true to yourself, and ultimately, this leads you to a feeling of wholeness. You are who you are–you accept it and that’s that.