Shadows are the hidden parts of the personality that people prefer not to be. Revealing, accepting, and integrating these with shadow work leads to emotional balance, freedom, and unlocking of energy and potential. In this post, I’ll show you my 3 favorite books, which are dedicated to shadow work and will help you to discover and embrace your most authentic self.
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WHAT IS SHADOW WORK?
Shadow work is largely based on the assumptions of C.G. Jung.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) was a swiss psychiatrist who changed our view of the human psyche or personality in a long-lasting way.
Central to shadow work is for us Jung’s emphasis on healing through experience and his terminology of the word shadow, which he describes as the hidden side of the human psyche.
WAYS TO REVEAL OUR SHADOWS
By becoming aware of the following, among many other things, we can reveal our shadows:
- We react very violently or even irrationally to some people because they represent qualities that we try to suppress within us.
- We make others into stars or idols because they represent the qualities we have sworn off out of false modesty.
- We blame other persons for our own situation.
- We keep doing certain things without intention as if they were not under our control.
Shadows are the parts of our personality that we suppress or reject.
They are parts of our personality that we do not want to show because of fear or shame.
Your Shadow is a dark omen, a powerful teacher that reveals to you the places in your life where you are energetically blocked. When you continue to ignore these signs, you perpetuate the cycle of your suffering.Mateo Sol
Simplified: As soon as we banish aspects from our consciousness, they become our shadows.
We have stuffed these parts – they can be positive or negative – into a “bag” deep inside of us.
EXAMPLE OF A SHADOW
Let’s take the example of a young girl, who got the feeling from her parents that her opinion does not count or is unimportant.
The girl learns to better stay quiet so that her parents don’t continue to criticize her.
This behavioral trait follows her through her adolescence and continues in her adulthood.
She prefers to remain calm and adapted and rarely has the courage to say anything, especially in situations where she interacts with her boss or other superior persons.
(Many people who suffer from extreme shyness have made similar experiences.)
Often we unconsciously spend so much time and energy to keep things hidden in the bag that we no longer have the strength to live our life to its fullest potential.
In shadow work, we find it appropriate and useful to have a “shadow bag” and to store some shadows in it.
But when the weight of the bag pulls us down, when it prevents us from being who we actually and really want to be, then it is time to take action.
The girl from the example may never have the courage to express her own opinion, which will constrain her for the rest of her life.
Our shadows are like hidden treasures, filled with unknown creative, useful energy, that we simply don’t use.
Often, the long-suppressed feelings of anger and grief come out in our relationships or at work – then when we can’t hide them anymore.
Shadow work offers a space in which we take the shadows out of the bag carefully, safely, and according to our own decision.
When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them.Allan Lokos
As a masters psychology student, I’ve been always fascinated by the facets that lie deep down inside of me and I’ve spend hours and hours reading psychological and spiritual literature and reflecting – getting closer to find “myself”.
I strongly recommend the following 3 books for shadow work, that will help you on your own journey to your most authentic self.
THE 3 BEST BOOKS FOR SHADOW WORK
“Owning Your Own Shadow” by Robert A. Johnson
Johnson presents in his book difficult psychological concepts in an easy to understand way and depicts them in situations, most people could relate to.
The author shows impressively how denying our dark sides, such as jealousy, anger, etc, keeps us from realizing our positive qualities, such as our talents.
You’ll learn what shadows are, where they originate from, and how they influence your daily life.
I highly recommend this book for people, who are new to shadow work and want to examine the positive and negative sides of their shadows.
“Meeting The Shadow – The Hidden Power Of The Dark Side Of Human Nature” by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams
“Meeting The Shadow – The Hidden Power Of The Dark Side Of Human Nature” is certainly one of the best books for shadow work out there with its 65 articles, that cover topics like sexuality, psychotherapy, new age, and many more.
This book is absolutely mind-blowing and life-changing – you will not be the same after having read it.
It is a fascinating perspective into the parts of ourselves that we suppress and passively perceive through others without being aware that the qualities of others that we desire are actually our own.
We disown them only out of shame or because of our parenting.
This book explains how to embrace and access all parts of yourself by balancing the dark and the light.
As a result, this can unlock a window of strength, self-confidence, sexuality, and creativity that you did not know you had, or that you knew you had, but did not know how to embrace and realize.
“Goldmining the Shadows” by
“Goldmining the Shadows”, the third out of the best books for shadow work has quickly become one of my few favorites.
This book helps you to get through the healing of the wounded inner child that keeps old, neglected traumas deep down inside you.
“Goldmining the Shadows” enables you to access aspects of your personality that weren’t accepted by your parents and your culture.
It assists to take an honest look into the mirror and to recognize which shadows are following you and where they came from.
This book has personally opened my eyes, in a way that few books have managed to do.
I also began to see my family and friends in a way that made me truly understand why they are the way they are.
I hope you liked my collection of the 3 best books for shadow work!
Comment down below if you have questions about shadow work or if you have another must-read!
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