How to Build Self-Awareness and Feel Empowered with Shadow Work Journa – Journaling is Self-Care LLC

How to Build Self-Awareness and Feel Empowered with Shadow Work Journaling (Journal Prompts Included)

How to Built Self-Awareness and Feel Empowered with Shadow Work Journaling (Journal Prompts Included)

Shadow work journaling is a miracle worker when you need help shifting out of repeating anxious behaviors and thought patterns, cultivating more self-awareness, and healing your inner child. 

It helps you to stop avoiding and holding onto your darker emotions in order to lovingly understand them and let them go.

I love the feelings of freedom and self-empowerment that shadow work has given me. Plus, it has improved my overall mindset and connection with myself. So, I’m really excited to give you a breakdown of what shadow work journaling is and how you can use it to improve your life.

What is Your Shadow?

Your shadow self is the darker side of your personality. It’s the side of yourself that you typically hide from others, whether it’s out of shame or fear of being judged. 

It is the thoughts and feelings you push down and hold close in order to feel safe, but the safeness you feel is false.

In truth, this is avoidant behavior that causes you to feel disconnected from yourself and others. It often causes feelings like shame, anxiety, depression, and guilt to surface. 

And when those feeling surface, we usually turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drug and alcohol use, issues with anger management, over or under eating, problems sleeping (too little or too much) and impulsive spending.

The trouble is that most of us are afraid of feeling our true feelings, including fear. But with these coping mechanisms, we aren’t solving anything. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like crying either. Nor do I enjoy thinking or talking about things that have hurt me.

But I do love taking accountability for the way I feel and choosing to be uncomfortable while I work through my issues.

I know that the reward of releasing pent up energy means that I will stop feeling stuck. Whenever I release darkness from within, I feel more confident to take up space and do what I want when I want. 

When we hide behind unhealthy coping mechanisms, we just add more problems to our plates on top of the original untouched, unaddressed, and unresolved issue. 

While it may not necessarily be polite or appropriate to let you shadow self fully express itself in social situations, you shouldn’t ignore it or set it aside either.

Spending time with your shadow can help you get to know yourself which will built more self-love, empowerment, and emotional and spiritual growth. All of these things lead to more freedom and confidence  in your life and less shrinking down to fit into society’s standards of how you “should” be.

Shadow work journaling can help you tap into what it really means to possess unconditional self-love and peace within. 

[Read: Your Guide to Starting a Solid Radical Self-Love Practice That Will Last a Lifetime]

No, you aren’t perfect. Nobody is perfect.

We all have parts of ourselves that we aren’t celebrating or proud of, but it doesn’t mean they’re “bad” or that we deserve to be tortured by our own inner critic’s loops of negative talk.

We can have more peace within, if we are willing to do the work, feel our feelings, and get uncomfortable. You are worth the freedom that comes on the other side of that.

My Inner Child Shadow Work Journaling Story

By the time I’d done shadow work journaling, I was 28 and had been in codependent, abusive, and narcissistic relationships with men, friends, and family. 

The shadow work  journaling I did helped me get to the root of these relationships, which was a belief I carried that told me I was damaged and unlovable.

The more I journaled, the more I was able to open up with myself and unpack my feelings. 

I eventually felt empowered when I learned that my feelings of not being loved and lovable came from real events within my childhood. I was also able to see a clear pattern of where I’d replayed those events in my adult relationships.

 This discovery helped me to finally feel validated and comforted when I initially felt crazy, weak, weird and overly emotional (some of the labels I was given.)  

Once you identify the source of the problem and see where it came from, it’s easier to disconnect from it and let it go. 

There’s a misconception that shadow work journaling keeps you stuck in the past or just rehashing old feelings. It doesn’t. Not when it’s done correctly.

Shadow work journaling gives you an opportunity to look at the situation as a whole so that you can choose what to do with it from there. It gives you full control to decide whether or not you want to keep your emotional baggage since you now know how it makes you feel.

If you choose to let go and go the healing route, shadow work journaling will show you its real magic. 

With the new insight and self-awareness I’d picked up, I was able to reparent and nourish my inner child. This essentially means that I gave her everything she needed to receive when she felt hurt and abandoned by her parents.

Usually, when we feel deep fear, pain, and anxiety, it comes from an old wound that we hold close within. That’s what is meant when most people refer to “the inner child.” You can call it whatever you want though.

The important thing here is to understand that you aren’t broken, but that there is a piece of you who needs some love and acknowledgement in order for you to move on. So, be gentle and nourishing, and patient.

When it came down to reparenting and nourishing my inner child, letting her know that she was seen, heard, safe, and loved was key. 

So, using phrases like “I love you and I care about your feelings” and  “I’m sorry you didn’t feel safe before, but I promise I’m here for you now” helped me feel relief and inner peace.

I got my power back. 

You will know what to say to your inner child based on what comes up during your shadow work journaling exercises.

And now, since I’ve done shadow work with this particular part of my personality, I:

  • No longer smother people that I love because I’m afraid they’ll leave me
  • Stopped allowing myself to be mistreated in relationships thinking I don’t deserve better
  • Set healthy boundaries in my relationships
  • Respect other people’s boundaries
  • Let go of toxic people with ease
  • Enjoy time alone and self-care
  • Protect my energy
  • Have a deeper appreciation for my loved ones
  • Am confident that I am a great woman with a lot to give

This is could be ridiculously even longer, but I’m not writing a book. I had to stop somewhere!

Lastly, once you’ve completed these steps, feel free to create an affirmation to really let you new beliefs sink in!

[Read: The 20 Best Affirmations for Women Plus How to Create and Use Your Own]

Journal Prompts to Help You Dive into Shadow Work

If you want to start shadow work journaling, first, dive into the mindset of self-empowerment. 

Make the decision that you are worthy of the time and energy that it will take to really dive into this habit.

Promise yourself that you will stop hiding from yourself. Make a commitment to living authentically freely no matter what.

Choose to take responsibility for the way you feel. Choose to take your power back.

Then, stick with it.

Now, here are some journal prompts to help you address the problems you’re burying deep within.

What is the negative belief, bad habit, or negative thought pattern you want to address?

How was it given to you? What situation/person made you believe it was true?

What memories do you have of it (old and new)?

How has holding onto it played out in your life?

How has holding onto it made you feel?

How has keeping it affected your behaviors and opinions of yourself and others?

Do you want to keep it?

Why are you choosing to address it today?

What makes it untrue?

What is the truth you choose to believe instead?

What does your inner child/hurt version of yourself need to hear from you?

What new thoughts and routines will you welcome into your life now?

You can use these journal prompts for any negative emotion or event you’ve been carrying with you.

If you want an in-depth example of what shadow working journaling can look like, make sure you read, “Shadow Work Journaling Techniques to Help You Shift from a Scarcity Mindset to an Abundance Mindset.”

Your shadow work journaling journey is going to return the same energy you put into it, so don't be afraid to go deep beyond your comfort zone while doing this work.

And if you have questions, let me know in the comments or DM me at the IG below. I'm happy to answer a quick question or do some one-on-one coaching if that's what you need!


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