Shadow Work Prompts for Relationships & Self Love

Are you struggling with relationships and self love? Practicing shadow work prompts through journaling is a powerful way to heal your trauma and identify what areas of your shadow self are causing pain. This will lead to transformation and an opening of the heart chakra. Let’s explore a little further;

    What is Your Shadow Self?

    The shadow self is all of the parts of yourself that you have kept hidden due to trauma, shame, guilt or fear. It’s the place where we store our greatest fears and deepest desires. We often repress our shadow selves because we’re too scared to confront our difficult pasts, negative qualities and bad decisions.

    Carl Jung, the renowned psychologist who coined this concept states that; “everyone carries a shadow, and a battle rages within”. The more that you repress these feelings, the darker the shadow self becomes.

    If you have battled with issues relating to relationships and self love in the past, then the odds are you have repressed trauma that is affecting your behaviour.

    What is Shadow Work?

    Shadow work is the practice of bringing awareness to all of the issues relating to your shadow self.

    This process can be quite challenging as you confront all of the conditioning that has led to your struggles with relationships and self love. In order to practice shadow work you have to question the subconscious assumptions that you have about relationships and self love.

    Why do you struggle with relationships? Where does your communication style come from? How were you loved as a child? What do you think about yourself? Why is it so hard to show yourself love?

    Delving into the repressed memories of your childhood is a powerful way to access the answers to these questions and figure out where your self-sabotaging behaviour comes from.

    Shadow Work & Childhood Programming

    The shadow self is deeply connected to childhood development. Between the ages of 0-7 the two hemispheres of the brain are firing and wiring as you absorb the conditioning from your families, friends, schooling and society like a sponge.

    As you observe the way your; guardians give and receive love, the communication between your family members, how love and forgiveness are portrayed in the content you consume and how the society you live in views and judges love and relationships, you begin to develop your personal belief systems.

    By the time you’re 8 years old your belief systems about relationships and self-love are deeply ingrained in the subconscious mind and will impact all of your decision-making into adulthood without you even realising it. 

    Childhood Programming Example

    Person A grew up with a very self indulgent dad and an anxious mother. Their dad was very confident, a work-horse and didn’t spend much time with the family. Their mom overcompensated for their dad’s absence and pandered to his needs.

    Person A felt distant from their dad and often had to beg to spend time with him. They watched as their mother gave everything to him without his acknowledgement. By observing their parents' behaviour Person A grew up with the belief that in order to receive love you had to earn it, that it wasn’t merely just given to you because you are worthy. 

    As an adult Person A struggles to hold onto relationships, communicates poorly, feels like a burden to others, is often perceived as clingy and needy and has very little self worth.

    Person A never questions the way that they act, instead they just think “this is my personality”, when in fact this is all learnt behaviour from their childhood. Shadow work is the acknowledgement and unpacking of this trauma. It’s the idea that once you recognise where your issues relating to relationships and self love come from that you can effectively work through them. 

    Shadow Work & Signs of a Blocked Heart Chakra

    Issues relating to relationships and self love are often associated with a blockage in the heart chakra. The 7 chakras are the major energy centres of the body.

    Each has a certain location on the body and is responsible for regulating a certain emotion.

    The heart chakra is located at the centre of the chest and is responsible for regulating emotion relating to love, self-worth, compassion and forgiveness. When your heart chakra is blocked you manifest symptoms in two extremes; an under-active or overactive heart chakra.

    Under-active Heart Chakra Signs

    • Depression
    • Loneliness
    • Fear of intimacy
    • Difficulty accepting love
    • Difficulty connecting with others. 
    • Emotional Isolation

    Overactive Heart Chakra Signs

    • Jealousy
    • Possessiveness
    • Clinginess
    • Difficulty forgiving 
    • Lack of compassion
    • Lack of self discipline 

    How to Practice Shadow Prompts

    Perhaps the most powerful way to practice your shadow prompts is to choose a time in your day where you can be alone and in a calm and peaceful environment. This will allow you to focus on the feelings that arise as you answer the prompts.

    Journaling is the best way to answer these questions as you’ll find that physicalising your thoughts into writing is a powerful experience. It's also beneficial as a written record for you to revisit at a later date. This will allow you to track your progress and see the benefits of your practice

    Shadow Work Prompts for Relationships & Self Love

    1. What is your first memory of feeling loved?
    2. Who in your life do you consider to be the person who has loved you unconditionally? How does this unconditional love feel? If you don’t feel as though you have this, what is the closest you’ve come to it?
    3. As a child who was your closest example of love? How did you observe this relationship growing up? Was this a healthy or unhealthy example?
    4. How did watching your family communicate and express love impact you as a child? Did you feel like you were given enough attention and nurturing? Was it too much? How do you feel that impacted you in your teen years?
    5. Describe a time that you felt hurt by someone you loved as a child? What did they do? How did it affect you? 
    6. Were you ever belittled or talked down to as a child? Were you told not to express your emotions? What was said to you and how did this affect you? 
    7. Was there a time during your childhood that you felt rejected by someone who loved you? What did they do and how did it make you feel? 
    8. What were your guardians’ beliefs about love? How did they treat themselves and others? How did this affect you?
    9. Where did your guardians place value when growing up? Do you share the same values as an adult or have you gone in the opposite direction? If so, have you gone too far in the opposite direction out of spite? Why? 
    10. What is your relationship like with family members as an adult? Why is it that way? 

    Final Thoughts 

    If you find yourself struggling with relationships and self love, shadow work prompts can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation. When you revisit the trauma from your childhood and past you can find the answers to understand where your behaviour stems from.

    Once you gain a greater awareness of your shadow self you can actively work to unearth the trauma that is holding you back which can lead to transformation and healing.

    If you’ve tried these shadow prompts and want to share your experience, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us with your story or if you have any questions.

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    Author Bio

    Just a journalist who fell into spiritual practice by accident. I wanted to share the lessons I've learnt in a cool place and write in a way that appeals to all generations. I cover all things spirituality with a special interest in pop culture trends.