woman walking with shadow

How Shadow Work Can Help You On Your Spiritual Journey

Shadow work is a practice that I have been exposed to for most of my life but have just barely taken seriously in my adult years. I remember sitting with an astrologer and learning about the moon phases, wanting to know what my future life course was going to look like. She asked me some very eye-opening questions: “If money wasn’t a factor, who would you like to be? What would you want to do in life if you could do it for the rest of your life?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer at the time. I needed to do shadowing to look outside of my career-oriented bubble.

What Is Shadow Work?

Shadow work is about discovering your own personality traits, beliefs, ideologies, healing mechanisms, and purpose. If you’re feeling a sense of hopelessness and are unsure of where your life is heading, put in the work. It’s time to discover why certain life events or obstacles seem next to impossible to overcome.

Finding What Makes You Happy

In your day-to-day life or even in your pastime, there should be activities that you enjoy taking part in. I am going to go a step further and say that these activities should be healthy activities that you take part in. Activities like binge drinking, drugs, and other harmful activities should not make you feel happy.

While shadowing, I discovered that I get very tense and one-track-minded, so one of my assignments was to get involved in dance or body movement that is fun and energizing. I love food, so I started cooking new recipes. Some of them were yummy, some were kind of bad. Trust me, some of them were BAD. But at least I was doing what made me happy, and following certain recipes eventually became easier.

Discovering Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Surprisingly, even full-grown adults do not know their own strengths and weaknesses. They know they can perform certain duties, and others they cannot; however, they have not pieced together an understanding of their own skills and capabilities. Their jobs are tedious and unfulfilling. Everything is simply by books, performing day-to-day tasks. They are every sad song out there that can be played about being discontent with life. As a result, it can be hard to advance into a new career or business.

From a mental standpoint, how we cope with certain life traumas can be an outward sign of our strengths and weaknesses. Not to say that people who do not cope with trauma in calming ways are weak, but how we’re able to recover determines how most situations will play out. For example, I know siblings who suffer the same trauma but have two separate outcomes. One of them is well-accomplished, snooty, cavalier, and uncompassionate. The other is warm, generous, kind-hearted, in poverty, and addicted to drugs. The well-accomplished one has always had a well-accomplished partner, while the less accomplished one has always suffered from domestic abuse at the hands of someone who does not carry their own weight. Do you see how they both have strengths and weaknesses? But also, notice they use them in different ways and not all of them are beneficial to becoming their better selves.

How Do You Deal With Bad News?

I have found that some of the warmest and kindest people you’ll ever meet are very expressive, and not always in a way that is socially or emotionally acceptable to many people. The same people who will give you the shirt off their backs will curse you to “high heavens.” However, these are the same people who may have issues maintaining healthy relationships with people who have a conventional mindset when it comes to how they view “nice people.”

Everyone has their own personality, but our attitude accounts for a lot. It determines how successful we are in conveying our message. No one can get through to everyone. But, building an understanding with the other person can prevent a lot of heartache and headache. Ask yourself this question, “Will my message be received in the way that I intend it?” Remember, you don’t have to completely change your personality to be heard and understood.

Sometimes it’s good to show you’re upset, fed up, and not taking any more junk from the other person or situation.

How Was Your Childhood?

When people say, “I wish I were a kid again,” they may have had a happy childhood free of permanent trauma and adult responsibilities. However, this is not the case for many people. But then again, trauma comes in different forms. It doesn’t always have to be physical abuse, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be overt mental abuse. It can be any lifestyle behavior that prevents you from being able to fully develop into a healthy, productive, compassionate, and positive human being.

Think beyond the surface with this question. I had a man tell me that when he was growing up, his parents were not wise with money and never felt the need to invest in long-term pursuits. His father was always giving large sums of money to their church and they were always late on their rent. He is the youngest, so his older brothers and sisters would leave him at home while they went to play with their friends. He grew up, but had a series of legal issues. After resolving these issues, he decided to learn about the stock market and grow his investments. He became antisocial and now separates himself from people who he doesn’t feel are interested in investing in the same manner that he is. He is extremely critical of people with financial hardships. This came from the trauma of feeling instability in his household and neglect as a child. He has built a belief system that may never change.

How Are You Tackling Your Biggest Obstacles?

I have been through it without looking like I have been through it. This is partly because I decide which battles are worth fighting and which ones I will let slide. You cannot lose in all aspects of your life and expect to survive the turmoil. What I mean is, if you’re not where you want to be in your professional life, you work on your spiritual growth and personal relationships. If you’re not winning in your personal relationships, you work on growth and development outside of that. One thing that you never lose focus of is your spiritual growth, that is king or queen.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ― Maya Angelou

About the author
I'm a diversity and motivational writer. Follow Charonda on Instagram or read more articles from Charonda on Thought Catalog.

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