You may or may not have seen shadow work prompts floating around social media feeds. Ever wonder why there is so much pressure? Well, it can be because this powerful tool may be the key to the unconditional self-love we are collectively seeking.
We may all know and feel that we’re supposed to love ourselves, but how many of us can say that we genuinely do?
For most black women, the self-love struggle is real. For a long time, society taught us to dislike and hide what makes us the magical women that we are. Throw initial core trauma, family, childhood, and relationship trauma into the mix, and our ability to love ourselves can become much more challenging.
Self-Love Through Shadow Work
Becoming more self-aware with spiritual practices such as journaling, meditation, and positive affirmations can allow more room for self-love. If you want to take your self-awareness to another level and get to the root cause of your self-love struggles, shadow work may be the best way.
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The Psychological Logic of Shadow Work
Shadow work is a concept created by depth psychologist Carl Jung who believes that your shadow is the unconscious self that you aren’t aware of. Your unconscious mind happens to have a significant influence on the way you act, react, experience, interpret, and remember your world and the people in it.
This Socratic approach is the act of uncovering your unconscious shadow self and bringing it to your conscious awareness. In other words, you’re bringing everything in your life, good and bad, to the forefront to know yourself on a soul level and better understand who you are as a human being.
The process of shadow work exposes the hidden parts of ourselves that we have rejected as well as the desires of our inner child. The main goal of shadow work is to acknowledge these parts of ourselves to accept and integrate them into our lives, heal them, and work towards emotional healing to become our most authentic selves.
For more on shadow work, and the varying shadow parts, visit: A Complete Guide to Shadow Work
How Can Shadow Work Benefits You?
There are many benefits to shadow work. Here are a few positive aspects:
- Helps with personal growth
- Brings light to unresolved emotions.
- Allows you to come to terms with past experiences and move forward with love.
- Help you gracefully merge into your true self.
- Allows you to have more control over your story and your life.
- Feel more balanced and connected to your mind, body, and higher self.
- It helps you avoid toxic traits, cycles, harmful patterns, and behaviors.
Things to Keep in Mind While Doing Shadow Work for Self-Love
The biggest misconception about shadow work is that it is a simple approach to healing. In reality, it can be emotionally difficult and uncover your dark side. Here are some things to be aware of for the best results:
- Avoid doing shadow work when you aren’t in a good place mentally (overwhelmed, sad, angry, depressed, or anxious).
- Shadow work is best done when you are ready to heal your inner self and propel your life forward. Otherwise, you run the risk of worsening health issues, reliving past traumas, and re-victimizing yourself.
- If you feel yourself going into a dark place while doing shadow work, STOP. Consult your mental health provider, practice grounding exercises, or do an intellectual activity.
- It helps to create a safe space while doing shadow work. Lead or follow up with a grounding practice, meditation, or prayer.
- Don’t power through your shadow work. Sit with it and keep an open mind. Take as much time as you need to process and/or reflect on what is revealed to you.
- The most important thing is to be patient with yourself. You won’t reach emotional mastery overnight. Remember that self-love is not a destination, it’s a journey.
I have provided a list of 35 shadow work prompts for self-love to assist you in your journey of self-discovery. Grab your journals, get ready to flex your emotional muscle, and let’s get to work!
Shadow work Journal Prompts for Self-love
Shadow work journal questions for beginners:
1. What is my relationship like with myself? What can I do to make it better?
2. What does happiness mean to me?
3. Write a love letter to yourself, showing appreciation and admiration for the things you love about yourself.
4. Have you ever felt embarrassed about who you are? Why or why not?
5. What is my life’s purpose? What is keeping me back from walking on that path?
6. How do you show love to others? Do you show yourself the same type of love? Why or why not?
7. When have you been too hard on yourself? How could you have shown yourself more compassion for a more positive impact?
8. What are you afraid someone might judge you for? Does that fear ever prevent you from pursuing things that you want?
9. What character traits make you feel most confident about yourself?
10. What is your biggest regret? Why?
Shadow work exercises for when you have little time:
1. What are 3 ways you can love yourself better daily?
2. List one negative thing you tell yourself. Next, rewrite that negative thing into a positive thing. Cross out the negative so that only the good things remain.
3. Do you put yourself first, or do you neglect your needs for others? What bad thing would happen if you put your needs first?
4. What words do you need to hear right now to believe that you are worthy of love? Repeat them to yourself out loud.
5. Write down 10 things that make you feel good about yourself and why.
More Shadow Work Prompts for Self-Love and Self-Discovery
1. What emotions come up when you compare yourself to others?
2. Write about a situation that made you feel unworthy. Be specific about what brought about those uncomfortable feelings.
3. Recall a situation that made you feel loved and/or appreciated. How can you implement those things into your daily life?
4. Think of a time(s) when you needed someone to support you and they didn’t, how can you offer that support to yourself?
5. What emotions are you uncomfortable expressing or seeing other people express? Who or what taught you that it wasn’t ok or safe to express those emotions?
6. What situations bring out your negative traits? What parts of you want to be protected during these times?
7. Are there any relationships in your life where you know that person is doing more harm than good? (e.g. family members or friends ). What are you afraid would happen if you ended that relationship? Are there any reasons why you feel you aren’t worthy of a better relationship?
8. Do you link your value as a person to your achievements? What is the worst thing that can happen if you don’t achieve the things others say you should, would you still feel worthy of love and happiness? Why or why not?
9. What negative traits and patterns keep repeating in your life? For each negative pattern write about when or where you think it started. Then, assess what events or negative emotions trigger this pattern. Lastly, list different ways to break this pattern or avoid your trigger.
10. What is something that if other people found out about you would have a negative impact, make you feel guilt or shame?
Deeper Self-Love Shadow Work Prompts:
1. Write down how you believe other people see you, positive or negative. Are you a good person? Follow that with why you think people see you this way. Lastly, write whether you believe this is how others see you or if this is how you see yourself.
2. In your personal experiences, have you sacrificed who you were for somebody else?
3. When was the last time you truly felt comfortable in your own body? What event(s) happened in your life that made you begin to feel uncomfortable?
4. Imagine the best version of yourself that constantly practices self-love. What would you look like? What is your life like? How would you act?
5. What are some things you haven’t forgiven yourself for? Why?
6. What do you feel most insecure about? How can you understand and love what you are insecure about?
7. Pick a core belief you have about yourself. When is the first time you remember telling yourself this? Where do you believe this belief comes from? Is this negative belief hindering your inner healing?
8. What is your biggest struggle in loving yourself? Why has this been a struggle for you?
9. Do you have parts of yourself you have to hide to feel loved and/or accepted by others? How do you feel when you hide those qualities?
10. At what age did you first start to speak negatively to yourself? Write a letter to your younger self showing compassion and love for the things you spoke negatively about.
Level Up Your Self-Love Journey With Shadow Work
First, shadow work can be done without a therapist. However, I always recommend seeking professional help when confronting your shadow side, past triggers, and deep trauma.
Try different methods. You can do a little shadow work a day, to discover what works for you.
One of the things I love the most about shadow work is that it’s a great way to turn your hindering shadow traits into ones that support your personal development and self-discovery.
If you are a black woman or girl looking to love yourself more, shadow work is a powerful way to elevate your self-love journey.
Be safe, happy, and healed!
Want to learn more about self-love to raise your self-esteem? Check out this article:
3 Self-love Habits That Changed my Life
Why You Should Talk To Yourself Like Someone You Love
Have some shadow work questions or self-love journal prompts you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section.