Beginning to work with your shadow self can require a little guidance. Journaling can be the first step to take for your transformation; therefore, some shadow work prompts will come in handy for going ahead on your journey.
Starting a journal is a wonderful way to create a safe space for reflection. You can see it as a sacred time to be completely vulnerable while gently honoring your shadow.
We teamed up with a journaling expert and founder of Prophsee®, Ana Juma, to bring out the best tips on how to start and advance your shadow work journaling practice.
Grab a pen and some paper, and learn how to pour more light into the dark side of your being.
What Is Shadow Work and How Can It Help?
Shadow work is simply becoming conscious of the hidden parts of your psyche. It’s bringing to light what has been repressed and denied within your personality as a whole.
When we integrate the shadow parts of ourselves, we open up to a life of authenticity. Connecting to the inner stream of creativity and enjoying higher levels of presence will be easier to access.
According to Ana, “Through shadow work, you won’t only find the lost parts of you that you believe to be undesirable or shameful, but also your most brilliant, intimate, wild dreams and wishes.
Journaling works like a magnet that pulls the subconscious mind to the white pages, a place of awareness you can work with.”
Learn more about shadow work in our handy guide.
How to Start Shadow Work Journaling?
After years of journaling experience, Ana shared with us the best tips on how to use your shadow work journal as a tool for personal growth.
“The most important tip to start shadow work journaling is to give yourself permission to shed light on what you’re resistant to bringing to the surface.
You do this by finding the courage to be completely honest and vulnerable with yourself in your writings. Shadow work isn’t an easy task—it will lift the veil over parts of you that would be more comfortable to keep under the shadows of your awareness.
It will stir up memories and emotions that invite you to change, and change is scary. But the point here is to not let anyone’s judgment (or your own) hold you back from expressing the fullness of who you are.
Remember that a journal will always be a loyal mirror: the more you give, the more you receive. Start small and be intentional about this special moment between you and your journal.
By putting pen to paper, allow yourself to be both the listener and the speaker, the hurt and the healer, the writer and the story.”
Shadow Work Prompts for Beginners
The shadow is the energy that fuels the fire of awakening.— Charlie Morley, bestselling author, and teacher of lucid dreaming, trainer of Mindvalley’s Experience Lucid Dreaming Quest
Patience and gentleness are key components of shadow work. Consider these questions for starting up:
1. Which parts of myself do I judge?
2. What do I dislike about others?
3. What do I admire most about others?
4. When do I feel triggered?
5. Where is this trigger coming from?
6. Where in the past have I felt similarly? In time, you’ll begin to see patterns in your thinking and behavior that lead to the core wound.
7. What are the emotions I find difficult to let myself feel?
8. Where in my body do I feel these emotions?
9. What do I do to cope with difficult emotions?
10. Are these coping mechanisms benefiting me?
11. What feeling do I want to achieve through this coping mechanism?
12. Which emotions were invalidated during my childhood?
13. Do I reject any traits that I see in my parents?
14. What would I change about my parents?
15. Are these things similar to what I’d change about myself?
Shadow Work Prompts for Self-Awareness
The only relationship we’ll certainly have for the rest of our lives is with ourselves. And somehow, we spend the littlest amount of time nurturing this connection, to the point where we might not be aware of who we truly are.
16. Which sides of yourself do you show when you’re most comfortable with someone?
17. Which sides of yourself do you tend to mask?
18. What do people assume about you that feels hurtful?
19. What do you wish people saw in you?
20. Is there something about yourself that you expressed more as a child than you do now?
21. How would you feel about embodying more of that now, as an adult?
22. What does love mean to you?
23. What does hate mean to you?
24. Which topics do you think about every day?
25. How does the narrative you tell about yourself sound?
26. Is there anything you would like to change about the stories you’re telling yourself about who you are?
27. What choices brought you happiness before?
28. What choices brought you sadness and discontent before?
29. When do you feel the most grateful?
30. When do you feel the most alive?
Shadow Work Prompts for Relationships
Our intimate relationships are known to be the best mirrors for our light and shadow. When we approach them with awareness, we might find fascinating insights into our subconscious minds.
31. When I’m feeling hurt by my partner’s words, do these words sound familiar?
32. Do I say the same things to criticize my parents?
33. Did my parents have similar criticism toward each other?
34. Has anyone else in my family been hurt in the same way?
35. Is my experience with my partner mirroring how my parents made me feel as a child?
36. Where do I compromise my authentic self to please my partner?
37. Do I judge in others what my partner is judging about me?
38. If my partner is being disrespectful, when do I not show respect to myself?
39. What do I need the most from my partner?
40. Are these needs similar to what I didn’t receive during my childhood?
41. Am I looking to find in my partner the qualities that I would like to have?
42. How is this relationship helping me grow as a person?
43. What can I do to meet my needs before asking my partner to meet them?
44. What are the best aspects of my relationship?
45. Am I showing up as my best self before asking my partner to do this?
Shadow Work Prompts for Healing
Healing indeed comes in waves. However, at its very core, healing is simply becoming aware, little by little, of every aspect that has been rejected before.
This 2013 study has shown that acceptance will end up transforming the parts of yourself that you were trying to change and deny. So as you would have a face-to-face conversation, meet up with one of these ‘undesirable’ parts and ask:
46. Why do you show up in my life?
47. What is the role you played in my inner system?
48. When do you get triggered the most?
49. Are you happy doing this role, or would you rather do something else?
50. How old do you think I am?
51. What would you need from me to make you feel a little better?
52. What’s making your existence more difficult?
53. When was the first time you showed up?
54. What kind of words are you saying to yourself?
55. What are you most afraid is going to happen if you stop doing what you’re doing right now?
56. Do you feel appreciated for your work?
57. Do you feel stuck in a specific moment in time? Could you show me this moment?
58. What and who are you trying to protect?
59. Do you imagine yourself doing something else?
60. Are you happy?
Shadow Work Prompts for Designing the Life You Want
The great news is that by working with your shadow, you create the opportunity to choose with awareness of how to design your best life. Start by reflecting on these shadow work journal prompts.
61. If money wasn’t a problem, what would you choose to do?
62. What does your life look like when you’re daydreaming?
63. What does the ideal version of yourself look like?
64. Which qualities does this person embody?
65. What are his or her daily habits?
66. What kind of people is he or she surrounded by?
67. Which skills does this person have?
68. How are they showing up in the world?
69. How are they dressed?
70. What are their core values?
71. How do they behave with other people?
72. How does this person think about themselves?
73. What reactions do they have when they get triggered?
74. How do they manage fear?
75. What passions do they have?
Step Into Your Greatness
The practice of journaling has significantly shaped the person I am today. First and foremost, journaling was the foundation for developing a healthy, thriving relationship with myself.
Through this self-discovery and self-creation journey, journaling has helped me gain mental clarity, give voice to my deepest desires and secret truths, and the confidence to transform life’s adversities into meaning and purpose.— Ana Juma, Founder of Prophsee®
Once you’ve journaled your way through these shadow work prompts and you’re looking to reach a new depth of working with your shadow, here at Mindvalley, you can find suitable guidance for your needs.
Connecting to your shadow self can now become a fascinating journey of self-discovery. We hope you’ll enjoy every moment of it. Welcome in.