As a child, I could not stand Snow White. She made me so angry. It makes sense as an empath why Snow White would be my shadow.
Your turn, take a moment, think of the person or persons who really get under your skin, that person who makes you want to scream, scratch your eyes out, yell and throw a fit. Those people that you can’t stand. The person you thought of is actually a reflection of you. This person is a representation of your shadow. See, I didn’t like Snow White because she could be innocent, and as an empath I felt everything, I would have liked to not feel so much.
I believe Debbie Ford has the best definition of shadow, she said,
“The shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world and the faces we don’t want to show ourselves. Most of us expend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of or control these unwanted aspects of ourselves. We hope that by hiding or fixing our "bad qualities" we will have the peace, success and happiness we desire. Most of us are convinced that we are flawed and inadequate so we become masters of disguise, and go to great lengths to hide our bad qualities from those around us – even from ourselves.”
It’s normal to be scared of that which we push away. However, pushing away your shadow can cause more distress and unbalance. By embracing your shadow, those pieces of you, you don’t like, are ashamed of, afraid of, you are giving yourself permission to be you. Your shadow can teach you, you just have to be willing to learn.
As empath, we often pick up on other’s shadows. They get clouded into our own shadow. Doing shadow work, can open the empath up to a deeper understanding of their gifts and feelings of others they pick up on.
I love shadow work, it’s a journey, an adventure. When you do shadow work, you are healing yourself, incorporating all of you. So you can be the amazing you that you are.
Here are few ways you can start to work with your shadow. (click here for the PDF version) And, shadow work doesn’t have to be scary or painful. It can be enlightening and fun.
1. Collage your fears, your insecurities, the pieces of you, you run from. Make a collage of everything you hate.
2. Personify your shadow. What if your shadow was an animal, what animal would it be, how many different animals? What if your shadow was a person? Who would it be and how many different people would there be? What if your shadow was a goddess or superhero/villain? It’s normal to have more than one representation of your shadow. Because there are several aspects to your shadow, different fears, insecurities, pieces that you push away and deny.
3. Ask yourself what are you running from, hiding from and what is its message? What does this aspect of you want? If you could have a conversation with your shadow or those pieces that you hide from and run from, or with the animals or people you identified above what would they say to you?
4. How can you use your shadow’s message to grow and heal?
Our shadows are part of our path to wholeness. The shadow reminds us of our humanness, the good and bad. The ebb and flow of life, balance and harmony. Isn’t it time you loved and embraced all of you?