What Is Shadow Work and How to Do It – The Complete Guide

By Tiffiny J. Fambro | Uncategorized

Feb 05

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Coming out of a divorce can leave you with feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation. One way to start on the healing journey is through shadow work. Shadow work is one way to start getting clear on who you are, who you want to be, and how to begin clearing the past in order to move forward.

What Is Shadow Work?

The concept of the shadow self was coined by world-known psychiatrist Carl Jung (yoog). His theory was that we as humans all have different psychological parts to ourselves and one of those parts is the shadow self.

The shadow self is the part of you that you believe is negative or perceive as a bad trait. It is the part of you that you don’t want to acknowledge, or have feelings of shame around and try to reject.

For example, jealousy may be a part of your shadow self. Anger, rage, or resentment may also be a part of your shadow self.

Other forms of the shadow could be around concepts that you were told as a child were bad. For example, if you were told as a child that all things dealing with sex were bad then your shadow may be your repressed sexuality or sexual desires.

Anything that you felt you had to suppress, squash down or were told was bad could be a part of your shadow self. This can include any childhood trauma you may have experienced.

Why You Need to Acknowledge your Shadow

Your shadow is a part of you. When you try to ignore or suppress any parts of you as an individual, it will not feel good. Ignoring your shadow self can result in:

  • Dysfunctional maladaptive behavior patterns such as avoidance, withdrawal, and passive aggression
  • Addictions such as drug, alcohol, food, or shopping addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional issues such as deep sadness, rage, anger, or depression
  • Anxiety, self-sabotaging behavior, and a lot of negative beliefs about yourself
  • Physical illness or pain
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-inflicted injury

The impact of repressing your shadow self will come out in one way or another unless you are willing to do shadow work.

How to Do Shadow Work

There are a number of ways to do shadow work but here are a few steps to help you get started.

Get a Shadow Work Journal

If you don’t know what to journal about, start with negative emotions. For example, a few prompts that you can start with are:

  • What are you angry about?
  • What are you sad about?
  • What do you really feel?
  • What were you told was bad in childhood?
  • What do you think about that you have never told anyone?

Make a list, go through the list, and ask yourself, “what do I think about this now?” The idea of the shadow journal is to explore the parts of you that you don’t want to talk about. You can also write about your triggers, what triggers you, and explore the reasons why.

Remember, no one is going to read this. It’s not meant to be shared, and it’s okay to write out what you perceive as “dark thoughts”.

Talk to a Therapist or a Coach

If you have been taught since childhood to close up and not express your true self, you may need someone to support you as you pull out those emotions. You may not even know the words to say how you feel because you were never given permission to emote. Having someone to guide you as you go through that process is critical – especially if you have gone through childhood trauma.

Online-Therapy.com has been helpful for many people dealing with stress. Whether you feel like you are just going through a temporary ordeal or a chronic depression, online-therapy.com can connect you to a professional wherever you are in the world.

Stop Shaming Yourself

Start working on mentally accepting all of you without shame, and understand that you have a right to your own emotions. You are a human being and as humans, we have a wide range of different feelings and thoughts, and that’s okay. Give yourself the grace and the space to acknowledge your emotions. Sit in the feeling or thought, have compassion for yourself, and be gentle with yourself.

This may include affirming your shadow self when you have a negative thought.

For example, say to yourself:

  • “I am not a bad person for feeling my emotions.”
  • “I am working to love and accept you (or myself or me).”
  • “You (shadow) deserve to be acknowledged and expressed.”


Shadow work is a technique that can be used as one of many ways to heal and work on becoming a better version of yourself after divorce. It is one resource that can be put in the CCC toolbox and used when needed to continue self-improvement.

Ready to start the process of gaining more clarity, confidence, and courage? Start here:

  1. Download my Free 5-Day Mindset Detox Workbook: Click Here
  2. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to learn how to reinvent, redefine and thrive after divorce: Click Here

Don’t let more time pass by, reclaim your life today!

About the Author

Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love

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