First choose what, or who, ‘it’ is going to be in this exercise. Keep in mind that for this particular technique it’s easiest to work with another person with whom you have a troubled connection, perhaps a friend, colleague, spouse or relative for example. You might be rankled simply by being in the company of this person, or perhaps you feel intimidated by them. Alternatively you may be infatuated or jealous of them. Whatever your reasons, whether positive or negative, the objective is to choose somebody with whom you have a strong emotional resonance and an intense relationship. 3. Face it Picture the person you chose in your mind’s eye. Really try to conjure up their appearance, and then zone in on the feelings that evokes in you. You can do this next bit verbally, or you can return to tried and true journaling. Using third person pronouns (s/he, they), describe the traits and qualities that most irritate, fascinate, or attract you. Don’t overthink this, just feel it and then either say or write it – there’s no need to censor yourself, this is completely private and nobody is judging. 2. Talk to it Now, communicate with the person directly, as though they were in front of you. Use second person language this time (you). Again, you can speak or write, whichever you’re most comfortable with. Tell this person the things you need to say to them, how they make you feel. Ask questions such as: ? - Do you know you make me feel this way?
? - Why do you behave that way towards me?
? - What do you want from me?
? - What do you want me to understand?
Now imagine their answers to these questions, and either say them out loud, or write them in your journal. Have a ‘conversation’ if you feel you have more to say in response. Shadow Work Exercises Pin 1. Be it If you feel uncomfortable then that’s no surprise – the theory is that these traits are the very ones you’ve been repressing or denying in yourself. This step may feel awkward. Become the person you’ve been in dialogue with. Embody their persona. Take on the traits you identified and described earlier as your own; use first person language this time (I, me), and make ‘I am’ statements: I am angry I am hurt I am frightened I am jealous I am vain If you feel uncomfortable then that’s no surprise – the theory is that these traits are the very ones you’ve been repressing or denying in yourself. The value in this technique is that you should be able to unify your unconscious shadow with your conscious self, thereby reaching a sense of harmony and peace. The final step in this process is to acknowledge that you possess these qualities inside of you, and to actively begin to notice them. Reject feelings of guilt or shame, that’s not the purpose of this exercise. Simply recognise that these traits exist in you, and accept them as part of you, with compassion. Try also to extend the same compassion to the person you were focusing on. Remember, your choices are half chance, and so are everybody else’s. The value in this technique is that you should be able to unify your unconscious shadow with your conscious self, thereby reaching a sense of harmony and peace.