30 Shadow Work Prompts – What is Shadow Work + How to Do it

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by Sil Pancho

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09.17.2021


You may be wondering, “What is shadow work?” and how to do it. These 30 shadow work prompts, or journal questions, are a powerful tool to get to know yourself better, grow, and heal. 

A woman's hand writes in a journal. Text overlay reads, "30 great shadow work prompts for growth and healing"

As you explore your spirituality and embark upon a journey of self-discovery and improvement you will undoubtedly come across methods and techniques that aim to nurture and help you become the best version of yourself. Amongst the many contenders is a mindful practice called shadow work that is centered around self-analytical exercises.

The term ‘shadow work’ was coined by renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. As more people become aware of their ‘shadow’ and work to address their ego it has opened up the conversation of how we can effectively do shadow work. 

If you’re on a path of enlightenment then shadow work prompts will help you to release what no longer serves you and unveil the secrets that lie within.  

What is Shadow Work?

Shadow work involves unearthing the hidden and suppressed aspects of yourself otherwise known as the shadow. It is the practice of introspection whereby you work through the darker, hidden parts of yourself. These repressed and rejected aspects of your being are what we are most ashamed about and avoided dealing with. 

Though it may sound terrible, everyone has a shadow side. Acknowledging that it exists comes from a place of strength, it is important to notice and recognize self-sabotaging behavior and habits that could potentially hold you back.

By bringing your unconscious into your consciousness you can address your insecurities, regrets, negative impulses, and any past pain that you have concealed from the outer world and your inner self. As your truth rises to the surface you will come face to face with what you have previously buried. 

Gradually, by implementing shadow work you will be able to heal and transform your life. You will develop a strong sense of self-awareness and compassion for the person you used to be. This practice will make you more loving and kinder toward yourself. 

Every dark moment in your life is a valuable lesson that will further your personal development. It is tough, taxing, and will challenge you in ways you’ve never known. Despite how difficult it can be it is incredibly rewarding and will elevate your consciousness, transcending you to new levels of wisdom. 

A woman sits facing away toward the ocean at sunset meditating.

How to Do Shadow Work

There are a variety of ways that you can practice shadow work, the key is to find a system that works for you. With an open mind and a view to see through your personal development, you will discover a process that feels right to you. Here are some of the most common ways of practicing shadow work:

Emotional Inquiry

The Socratic approach of exploring your emotions is an effective method of shadow work. By listening to your thoughts and processing your feelings in a raw and unfiltered way you will spark an inner dialogue that forces you to address the most intimate parts of your psyche. Start by being aware of your reactions and process your feelings. By being observant you can understand your behavior and connect it to historical events from your past. 

Meditation

With meditation, you can penetrate and bypass your inner hidden layers. The deeper you go the more that you will uncover your subconscious. By just being and practicing mindfulness you will find the answers that you wish to seek. It is a powerful and constructive way of dealing with your shadow that promotes healing and soulful reflection. Crystals and assessing your chakras can be great tools in meditation. 

Journaling

Last, but certainly not least, journaling is one of the most popular shadow work techniques. By using prompts you record your thoughts and feelings and tap into your subconscious. These questions are designed to make you challenge yourself and illuminate the darkest crevices of your mind.

As you confront your shadow you will slowly but surely align with your higher self. It is a self-diagnosis tool that awakens and educates you on a deep and personal level. As you write out your responses to the prompts it is important to allow your thoughts and feelings to pour out onto the pages of your journal without judgment. Through journaling, you can be free and as open as you possibly can be. Journaling is one of our top New Moon Rituals

A beautiful photo of a journal with a pen on a wooden desk with a jar of purple flowers in the background. Text overlay reads, "how to do shadow work."

Shadow Work Prompts for Journaling – 30 Questions 

These challenging journal prompts and questions will reveal your truths and help you to promote deep healing from within. You can use them in any way that you see fit. If you feel inclined to use one prompt a day then go with your instincts and follow the guidance from the Divine. 

  1. What are your triggers and what caused them?
  2. Is there anyone you hold a grudge against? If so, what is holding you back from letting go and moving on?
  3. Do you feel misunderstood? If yes, what misconceptions do people have of you?
  4. What do you dislike about yourself most?
  5. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done and why did you do it?
  6. Are you happy with where you are in your life? Is there anything that you can do to improve it? 
  7. Was your childhood negative or positive? Outline the most prominent memories that you have of your younger years.
  8. What is your relationship like with your family? Has your connection strengthened since you were a child or has it gotten worse?
  9. What are your parent’s best and worst personality traits? Do you see any of them within yourself?
  10. Who are you closest to in your life and do they positively reflect who you are? Are you holding on to people that don’t deserve your time and affections? Are you honestly happy in your relationships?
  11. Are you comfortable in your skin? If there is something that you would like to change about yourself, what is it and why?
  12. Do you lie to yourself to avoid addressing your fears?
  13. What characteristics and traits do you dislike in others?
  14. When are you hardest on yourself and why?
  15. What emotions do you tend to avoid?
  16. Do you enforce boundaries with others or are you the type to let people cross lines?
  17. How did you deal with trauma in the past and what do you do to combat it in the present?
  18. Are you 100% yourself around others? Do you put on a persona or mask to blend into the crowd? Do you know who you are?
  19. Do you forgive yourself when you have done something wrong? When you make mistakes can you move on from them or do they continue to hurt you?
  20.  What are your toxic traits?
  21. Are you happy to be alone in your own company? Do you use other people to fill a void?
  22.  Do you respond well to constructive criticism? Are you over-sensitive to any form of feedback?
  23.  Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable in your romantic relationships? Do you put up walls around yourself and your partner or are you completely open?
  24. Do you accept yourself as you are?
  25.  What is your deepest, darkest fear?
  26. Is there anyone in your life that you are competitive with? If yes, what caused this rivalry?
  27. Do you feel as though people respect you?
  28. What is your biggest regret and why?
  29. Do you have any unhealthy attachments or habits? What are you doing to curb them and why have you continued to entertain them?
  30. Do you practice self-care? Is there more that you could be doing for your wellbeing?

Final Thoughts 

With consistent effort and courage, shadow work can help you to work through your issues and understand the person that you are. It can help you to move forward with an enhanced awareness that teaches you to deal with your problems. Through pain and discomfort lies an incredible being that deserves every blessing that life has to offer, recognise that person within yourself and choose self-love in everything that you do.

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.” 

– Carl Jung

  



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