At immoderate constituent successful our childhood, we larn that surviving successful a nine means controlling definite emotions. We suppress, successful particular, emotions we see to beryllium “negative”—fear, anger, jealousy, selfishness—for a fig of reasons, not the slightest of which is that we see them shameful. However suppressed these antagonistic emotions are, they are inactive there, creating what the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called a “shadow self,” implicit with “shadow emotions.”
Although we whitethorn not like our shadiness emotions, it is important to admit and admit them, arsenic they often incorporate important accusation astir our lives. As Claire Nicogossian, a objective scientist and writer of the publication Mama, You Are Enough: How to Create Calm, Joy And Confidence In The Chaos of Motherhood, recently wrote successful an article for MindBodyGreen, “Emotional experiences amusement america what we request to wage attraction to successful our lives, wrong ourselves, our relationships, oregon our experiences.”
This includes emotions we see positive, specified arsenic joy, happiness and gratitude, but it besides includes emotions we see negative, specified arsenic fear, shame, guilt, and anger.
As Nicogossian notes successful her article, emotions are neither bully nor bad, but alternatively information points astir our lives and experiences. It’s important to wage attraction to them, successful bid to summation an knowing of what we need.
Making consciousness of our shadiness emotions is sometimes called “shadow work.” As Danielle Massi, a licensed household and matrimony therapist and owner/founder of the Wellness Collective, told Self earlier this year, “Shadow enactment is each astir the unconscious mind, which consists of the things that we repress and fell from ourselves.”
When it comes to knowing our shadiness emotions, Nicogossian writes that if they are “not paid attraction to oregon managed, they get louder and much aggravated until we’re forced to woody with our affectional experiences.”
Doing shadiness enactment consists of taking the clip to truly analyse and statement your affectional experiences. This involves identifying what you are feeling, successful a mode that delves heavy into the specifics. For example, if you are feeling grief, what does that grief look like? Is your grief owed to a circumstantial event, oregon is it mixed up with different things that person happened to you successful the past? What is the crushed for your grief, and why?
Once you person identified and labeled your emotions, it’s important to instrumentality the clip to wage adjacent attraction to your thoughts surrounding these emotions. If your superior emotion is grief owed to loss, what are your thoughts surrounding that loss? Are you blaming yourself for not being stronger? Are you doubting the validity of your emotions? Are you fixating connected however this nonaccomplishment relates to akin losses you’ve had successful the past? Are you feeling disquieted oregon insecure? Or are you aggravated astir the loss?
All of these are feelings that tin evoke a consciousness of shame oregon guilt, truthful our instinct whitethorn beryllium to suppress them. However, suspending judgement astir our shadiness emotions successful bid to amended recognize them is captious for our ain good.
As Nicogossian points out, if our shadiness emotions are “not paid attraction to oregon managed, they get louder and much aggravated until we’re forced to woody with our affectional experiences.”
Put different way, our shadiness emotions simply are what they are. As important arsenic it is to recognize them, we don’t request to enactment connected them, and they don’t specify us.
Ultimately, identifying your shadiness emotions is simply a mode of knowing yourself, which tin amended your beingness successful a fig of ways. One payment includes being capable to tap into your intuition, arsenic doing truthful requires listening to each your thoughts and emotions, bully and bad. Plus, we tin lone face and woody with the emotions we are consenting to face.
Another vantage of doing shadiness enactment is that sometimes the emotions and thoughts we believe are shameful truly aren’t. This is particularly existent for radical who are struggling with low-self esteem and whitethorn beryllium suppressing thoughts and emotions that are really good. Doing shadiness enactment is simply a mode of reclaiming immoderate of your gifts, and processing a steadfast consciousness of aforesaid on the way.