Jakob Wandel

How To Embrace Your Shadow Self

If you want to fully embrace who you are, you first have to look at who you are.

You have to look at every part of you: the parts that you or others have rejected, the parts that have held you back, the parts of you that you put away into the darkness and depth of your being. Fear, shame, guilt, judgment, trauma, triggers, behavioral patterns, and projections — these are our shadow selves. There are a number of benefits to doing shadow work and many different ways you can do it. But if there’s one, true important thing, it’s to merely embrace your shadow self. Here’s how:


Take the time to reflect on and become curious about who you are at your core. Journal (either free write or with shadow work prompts) and meditate on your patterns, tendencies, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. That awareness and self-reflection can go a long way.

Identify and face the shadow

There are parts of us that we hide away: anger, jealousy, shame, hurt, insecurity. We feel better when we suppress these feelings because, if not, we look “weak.” When you’re doing shadow work, it is crucial to pay attention to these emotions that you try so hard to deny and bury. Be aware of them. Identify them and face them.

This goes for more than just emotions, but past experiences of hurt, trauma, or limiting beliefs. You have to confront these fears, these crucial memories and experiences, no matter how painful they might be.


As Rumi the poet said, “Day and night, no difference. The sun is the moon: an amalgam.” In other words, you cannot have one thing without the other. It is all the same. We all have elements of light and dark within us and shadow work is about finding balance between your light and dark sides. Accept that the shadow self is a natural part of being human. We all have shadow selves that need healing. Don’t judge yourself and don’t condemn these parts of you. Accept it.


As you dive into the depths of your shadow self, you will find that it is incredibly emotionally draining. You’re having to face the uncomfortable, scary parts of yourself, and that can really take a toll on your emotional well-being. Practice self-compassion. Be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process.

When you are putting in the work to heal your shadow self, you might find that you can’t do it alone. Consider working with a professional and get the support and guidance you need. Or find a healthy, creative way to express all that your shadow self channels. Take care of yourself along the way and remember: healing isn’t linear.