What Is Shadow Work? How To Do It + 3 Starter Exercises

The reason you reject these aspects of your personality stems back to your childhood.

When we’re young, we depend on our parents or main caregivers for survival. As a result, we become very attached to them and their way of doing things. So, say a caretaker scolds you for being outspoken, there’s a chance that you won’t feel safe speaking your mind from that point on, even as an adult.

“Because what it means to you is, the person I need to love me to survive won’t love me if I do this thing,” Swart says. That message becomes internalized—buried within your subconscious—and can therefore become a trigger for you for seemingly no reason.

In this example, if one of your shadows is around speaking your truth, it might bother you to see other people doing so. Every time somebody is outspoken around you, it might bring up unexplainable feelings of anger and resentment, since you have been programmed to believe that speaking up is not a safe thing for you to do.

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