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Shadow Work: The Shitty Side Of Trauma Healing

For the most part, it’s easy to stand in the light. Folks are delighted to bask in our bright likeness, our deeds and the goodness that we are. In this, we gain a sense of value, admiration and validation. However, just as we experience life in the light, there is also darkness. When we’ve been hurt, abused or neglected, most times it’s easy to identify the outer source of our suffering. We can point out the people, places and things that caused us harm. This can lead to where we learn to hate and despise anyone or anything that reminds us of our trauma and pain. As much as we may want to seek vengeance, there is no guarantee that it will happen. Wishing another harm or setting out to punish them may feel good and justifiable, but it doesn't heal us. We can, however, address our pain and choose to begin to heal from the damage that has impacted us. When we decide to become more aware of our full self, the parts of ourselves that we hide in darkness, shadow work begins. This is going beyond who or what traumatized us and requires us to deal with and heal who and what we have become as a result of it. When doing shadow work, we are facing the inner parts of us where fear, uncertainty, inadequacy, anger, disappointment, resentment, guilt and shame dwell. It can feel embarrassing and overwhelming the closer we look at our choices, behaviors and reactions rooted in our shadow. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear, see and know the real from the unreal while facing our dark side. These are often places we didn’t know existed— navigating and finding our way through it can be terrifying. To protect ourselves from experiencing pain again, we may feel worried and regress to what is familiar. Rage, confusion and impulsiveness can lead us to return to frantic old behaviors that don’t serve us well. When this occurs our ability to communicate and function may be limited. We may become paranoid, defensive or shut down altogether to protect ourselves from what we perceive as a threat or wrongdoing. Oftentimes we react out of the urgency of fear and before we know it— valuable opportunities that can help us learn how to bring darkness to light can be contorted into a debilitating battle that leaves us seething in worry and pain. When doing shadow work, just like intense physical workouts, there are aches and pains beyond belief. If we want the results we must learn the difference between the pain of trauma and the pain of healing and growth. There’s always room to meditate and pray. To recollect our senses, rebalance and reconsider our perspective. There is space to change our hearts and minds, to see that the universe awaits us and presents us with opportunities to learn and grow with a new perspective. These opportunities may not always feel the best, but with forgiving ourselves, open-mindedness and honesty- we can push past our fears and overcome them with bravery. The idea is to learn how to dismiss operating out of fear, to fully know who we are and to see that our triggers don’t have to be a reason to fling into fight or flight. The goal is to tap into our higher self and navigate through difficulty with mental and emotional intelligence for the best outcome. This can help us to problem solve in the face of personal adversity. When doing this work our safety and protection come from standing in truth, justice and righteousness. It’s impossible to expect others to make us feel safe 100% of the time, that’s a lot of power to give other people. We can, however, do the best we can to use safety awareness and crisis prevention, when it comes to the people, places and things we engage. Some circumstances are out of our control and it’s great to have a hero save or avenge for us but in general, safeguarding is our personal responsibility. Any healing required after experiencing trauma is ultimately an inside job. When we do our shadow work, we no longer need outside validation or approval, as we discover a pure sense of clarity and dignity for ourselves along the journey. The introspective process of shadow work requires a lot of patience, honesty and the ability to shift from an experience of victimhood onto a journey towards victory. This is where we gain the ability to embrace our full self with a level of mental, emotional and spiritual ascension. This is where we begin to trust ourselves and our ability to overcome challenges with a divine sense of direction, peace and self-love. When we honestly know, heal and honor our full self, there is no space for worry, guilt or shame— because we are in full alignment with the truth, and this, sets us free.

...and remember, we talk about this SHIT, because we've got Some Healing In There.

-Miss Marianna #ownyourshit

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