Using affirmations for shadow work can be really beneficial to your practise and mindset during your journey of self-discovery.
Positive affirmations are not only confidence-building and great for feeling more positive in general, they also help sooth and comfort us during uncomfortable times. And, at times, shadow work definitely falls into that category.
What is shadow work?
Shadow work is the practise of discovering and meeting your own shadow.
Your shadow is the side of you that you keep hidden; it encompasses the traits you’ve been taught to suppress and keep, well, in the shadows.
I go into a lot more detail about where the theory of our shadow comes from and what it is in my blog post on shadow work journal prompts, which also includes – you guessed it – plenty of shadow work journal prompts to get you started on your journey. You can check it out here.
Some shadow traits you might possess are:
These traits can stem from trauma, suppressed emotions, learned behaviour from parents, and a number of other events that occurred during the early stages of your life. They can also be traits that we’ve been taught or conditioned to believe are negative and while some can be, this isn’t always the case.
By meeting our shadow, we can learn more about the person we truly are, underneath it all, and what makes us tick.
Shadow work sets us on an illuminating journey of self-discovery that can be uncomfortable and even upsetting at times, while also being the most rewarding and liberating experience many people ever go through.
(This is why I created my Shadow Work for Beginners Workbook – to help guide those who are just starting out and feeling a little confused or overwhelmed.)
It encourages us to assess why we are the way we are, how we feel about it, and decide whether this aspect of our true selves needs work.
It also teaches us forgiveness, especially towards ourselves, since we become incredibly aware of what being a human being means.
As you can imagine, it’s amazing for self-awareness and growing as a person.
If you want to get started on your shadow work journey, feel free to grab the free shadow work worksheets that I put together.
How do affirmations help with shadow work?
Affirmations are a good tool to use alongside shadow work for a few reasons.
- They improve confidence and self-esteem
- They improve our mindset overall
- They comfort and sooth us during times of stress
Repeating positive affirmations works by almost essentially rewiring your thought processes. The theory is, if you consistently repeat a statement over and over, you start to believe it to be true.
In the case of shadow work, if you repeat affirmations about being strong, healing, and growing over and over, your brain will begin to recognise what a tough cookie you are and embrace the process a little easier.
Shadow work affirmations are also a great way to bring your mind back down to earth after a particularly intense shadow work session.
They can reassure you that you’re on the right track, that you’re capable of healing, and that you’re choosing to grow from this experience.
They give you the confidence to continue with your practise; they instil a deep inner-knowing that you’re strong enough to sit with any uncomfortable feelings and move on from them in a positive, healthy way.
Plus, positive affirmations help improve our mindset and outlook in general, so using them as a tool is basically a win-win.
Powerful affirmations for shadow work
Below are some of the most powerful shadow work affirmations that I personally use to reassure and rebuild myself during and after difficult sessions.
- I am strong
- I can heal
- I choose to move forward
- I am not defined by my mistakes
- I choose to learn from my mistakes
- I am not my past
- The future is what I make of it
- I choose to live in the present
- I choose to grow as a person
- I love the person I am
- I love the person I’m becoming
- My trauma is not my fault
- I am grateful that I get to learn about who I really am
- I have to feel to heal
- I choose to confront my problems
- I am grateful for the person I am
- Facing my emotions makes me stronger
- The only person I seek validation from is myself
- I choose to grow and learn from pain
- I am worthy of respect
- I choose to release grudges
- I choose to accept my parents for who they are
- I accept my true self for who I am
- I deserve love
- I accept responsibility for my mistakes and vow to put them right
- I forgive myself for my shadow side
- I forgive others for being human
- I am the master of my own destiny; the main character of my own story
- I am in total control of who I give my energy to
- People who have been cruel to me are not worthy of my energy
- I embrace negative emotions as I see them as an opportunity to learn and grow
- I am grateful for the negative experiences that have blessed me with empathy, kindness and compassion
- I am independent and choose to remain that way no matter who comes into my life
- I choose to be positive, while acknowledging and learning from the negative
- I welcome change into my life
- While I do not deserve anything bad that’s happened to me, I can choose how I move on
- I am grateful for emotional maturity
- I choose myself every single day; I always have my own back
- When I choose to sit with uncomfortable emotions and deal with them, I thrive
- I am grateful that I can now see myself for who I am and embrace that
How to use Shadow Work Affirmations
My steps for using shadow work affirmations are:
- Choose only 1-3 affirmations that resonate with you. Only choosing a couple instead of loads helps prevent you from getting overwhelmed. Ensuring that they resonate with you will make them much more effective than repeating affirmations that don’t mean a thing to you or your shadow work.
- Rewrite the affirmations in your own ‘voice’. You might not have to do this, but I find that affirmations resonate a lot more with me if I rewrite them in exactly the same way I would speak them out loud.
- Write the affirmations in your journal before or after using a shadow work question or journal prompt. (I have a list of 60 here.)
- Once you’ve written the affirmations, repeat them in your head or out loud a few times until the intention behind them becomes solid and your confidence regarding its message grows.
- Make sure to repeat shadow work affirmations any time you’re feeling uncomfortable, stressed, or deterred by your shadow work practise. Affirmations are at their most powerful when used as a tool to combat negative self-talk or self-doubt.
A couple of bonus tips for shadow work that I swear by are:
- Meditation: Make sure you’re meditating after your practise to clear your mind and energy. Meditation can also be a useful way to access your shadow side. There are plenty of shadow work guided mediations on YouTube.
- Self-care and self-soothing: It’s important to practise self-care every day, especially if you’re doing shadow work. It helps look after your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, which is crucial. Finding healthy, positive ways to self-sooth and maintaining a consistent self-care routine should be a huge part of your shadow work journey.
If you’re just starting to dip your toes in the water when it comes to shadow work, but are feeling a little overwhelmed and lost, feel free to take a look at my Shadow Work for Beginners Workbook, which is full of information, exercises, prompts, and activities to get you started on your journey of self-discovery and growth.