While you try to get to know your shadow self when you're not focused in yourself, you won't go very far. The shadow signifies a collection of diverse components of your psyche that are concealed. You can only learn about these components if you start from the center. If one of these components gets "mixed" with you, the process will be hijacked. For example, if you mix arrogance with power, you'll have an arrogant person who feels powerful.
Your shadow self is like an unseen force that lives within you. It is made up of all those parts of your personality that you don't want to admit exist - those qualities and feelings that you suppress because they're unacceptable to the person you wish to be.
Although it's true that we mostly see what we look for, it's also true that we can learn important things about ourselves by paying attention to what we ignore. Your shadow self is there whether you notice it or not - it's part of your unconscious mind. By becoming aware of this part of yourself, you can begin to understand it better. Then you can work with it rather than against it.
The first step toward understanding your shadow self is awareness. Become aware of how you're feeling right now. Are you angry? Frustrated? Lonely? Accept these feelings as natural responses to circumstances over which you have no control. Don't fight them; instead, let them pass through you like clouds in a windy sky.
The "shadow" is the aspect of your personality that comprises all of the aspects of yourself that you don't like to confess to yourself. It is first an unconscious aspect. We can only detect our shadow if we make an effort to become self-aware. Although many people believe the shadow is "negative," this is not the case. The shadow is simply the part of us that is unaware of itself.
Our shadow traits are the things about ourselves that we dislike but cannot deny. They are the qualities in us that cause us pain and that we wish weren't there. Our shadow traits are what divide us from ourselves. Without knowing it, we carry these traits with us at all times. Even when we aren't aware of them, they influence our behavior toward others and how we feel about ourselves.
People tend to have between three and seven main shadow traits. This doesn't mean that we are totally defined by these traits, but rather that they are the basis upon which we build ourselves.
Some examples of shadow traits are: aggressiveness, ambition, anger, arrogance, avarice (desire for wealth), deceit, envy, gluttony, guilt, humility, insecurity, jealousy, lust, manipulation, pride, revenge, selfishness, sloth, stupidity, and weakness.
It's helpful to think of the shadow as another dimension of ourselves that is hidden even from ourselves.
The shadow is rather what you believe to be dark and weak in yourself, and hence must be buried and rejected.
Through understanding ourselves better we come to know our shadows more clearly. Only then can we begin to heal them.
Becoming aware of your shadow means becoming conscious of your own darkness as well as your strengths and weaknesses. It means being willing to look at all aspects of yourself, good and bad, and learning from each one.
Our shadows are merely reflections of the same qualities in others. They are also related to our ego needs and fears. The less we have felt and seen in our lives, the more we need to hide away and guard against exposure, especially when it comes to feelings.
So awareness of one's shadow means becoming conscious of one's own darkness as well as one's strengths and weaknesses. It also means being willing to look at all aspects of oneself, good and bad, and learning from each one.
However, this is dependent on your own life perspective and level of self-esteem. If you believe there is value in yourself, then your shadow is actually your soul expressing itself through pain and darkness.
In terms of psychology, the shadow is any emotion or impulse that you have denied, suppressed, or otherwise abandoned as part of an attempt to fit into society or satisfy some other ego ideal. These things include violent fantasies, sexual desires, negative emotions such as hatred or envy, but also less obvious items such as a need for symmetry or pattern in life.
In psychotherapy, it is common to find progress made during the treatment process by looking at changes that occur within the shadow realm. For example, if a patient has been working on overcoming feelings of jealousy and found that they were able to do so, then the therapist would say that they had worked through some aspect of the shadow of greed. Similarly, if a patient has been able to recognize and accept their jealous impulses but has failed to take any action on them, then they have not truly dealt with this aspect of themselves.
In philosophy, the shadow is the part of our personality that is hidden from view because it is considered shameful or evil.
Embracing our shadow selves may lead to a better knowledge of our entire selves by assisting us in understanding, controlling, and integrating them. Because by shining a light on our shadow, we become aware of the unconscious and give ourselves the power of conscious choice.
The shadow is our dark side that shows up when our defenses are down or we lack self-trust. It is composed of all those things about us that we do not like about ourselves: the negative traits, behaviors, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts that result from the impact of our past experiences and relationships on our mind and body. The shadow is what we fear most about ourselves because it represents the parts of us that are weak and vulnerable.
When we face our shadow, we are forced to look at parts of ourselves that we would rather ignore or forget about. This can be extremely painful; however, it is also an important process that leads to personal growth and development. By exploring our shadows, we can gain new insights into ourselves that help us move forward with our lives.
It means being willing to look at, acknowledge, and accept who we are and all that we are not happy with about ourselves. That way, we can make changes where needed!
Working with your shadow is difficult due to conditioning since what you discover does not suit the identity you have established for yourself. Limiting beliefs are the result of training, and they nourish your ego while making you uncomfortable while working with your shadow.
Your shadow is the part of you that is lacking in self-love. It is the part of you that needs protection as it is vulnerable and could use your love to grow into its best version. Your shadow is also the part of you that is most likely to cause harm if left unattended because it is suffering from inside out.
So why is working with your shadow so hard? Because it makes you face things about yourself that you would rather ignore. It shows you where you have failed to love yourself and where you have allowed others to treat you badly. It can be extremely painful to admit that parts of your own personality are negative or wrong, but only you can free yourself from this pain. Only you can find peace within yourself by facing your fears and learning from your mistakes.
The work isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be hard either. As long as you aren't doing it alone, then someone else has done it before you. There are many people who have gone through something similar to what you are going through now, and they are willing to help. You just have to ask for it.