How to Claim Your Authenticity Through Shadow Work!

Updated: July 6, 2021

Shadow work is the process of looking at the wounded parts of ourselves with compassion, love, and understanding so we can transform them. So those parts of us no longer keep us stuck or in pain. 

When you do your shadow work, you set yourself free from the parts of you that have been hidden or that you’ve refused to look at. And as a result, you become more authentically YOU. 

The shadow self is born from the grief, guilt, shame, and pain that has accumulated throughout your life and has become ingrained in your patterns. Deep within you, beneath this conditioned self is something greater – something which you already are but which you haven’t been able to freely show or experience. This is your Divine uniqueness. 

Your unique, authentic, and inspired life is waiting for you 

And the path to get there is directly through your shadow. Each of us is unique – like snowflakes, no two are alike. You have a special magic that no one else has. But sometimes your true essence is hiding beneath the layers of conditioning. 

The process of shadow work and transformation isn’t about becoming something you’re not. It’s actually about going through the darkness and the muck so you can get ever closer to the you that has always been within. 

The path of transformation is one of becoming. 

This doesn’t mean your pain, struggles, or experiences were all in vain. Nothing you’ve been through is ever wasted. Each experience adds to your story and the thing you’re meant to bring to this world. This is the spiritual journey. 

We are ever evolving beings. We’re never static. If we want to change in the direction of being more our authentic selves, we have to integrate our shadow work. 

We have to heal our wounds by taking an honest look at them. We also have to look honestly at our patterns. When we see a pattern come up, rather than letting ourselves spiral into shame or judgment, we have to look at it with a discerning and nonjudgmental eye. 

We have to stop and say, “Hmm, this is happening again. I wonder why?”

Instead of looking at life as things that keep happening TO us, we get to step back and self-observe. To see what information is there for us about our shadow self and what we need to work through. 

Humor can help you navigate your shadow work with more ease 

Taking an honest look at your patterns and your shadow isn’t always a walk in the park! But the fact is, if you want to improve your life, if you want to love yourself, some behaviors and patterns have to go. In order to have the life you say you want, you can’t bypass this work. 

This process will unfold naturally if you have the willingness. When I first realized I had to change myself, rather than focus on the outside, I had a lot of resistance. I was afraid of what I’d find, I wanted to keep going, and maybe I could outrun the parts of me that felt unworthy, grief stricken, ashamed of who I was, especially the things I experienced when I was a practicing addict and alcoholic. But what I discovered is this process catches up to you regardless of how fast you try to run, or how busy you try to keep, your shadow is always waiting to be acknowledged. It’s also waiting to heal, and to be loved. Participating in this essential process of change has its own evolution and has a natural, organic timeline to it. You just have to show up each day with curiosity and openness. You have to look at things as they come up for you and stay committed to making better choices. It’s nowhere near as difficult as it seems. 

Humor can be an incredible tool in this process. When you dive into shadow work, you’ll see it’s ongoing and once you’ve identified your core conditioning, it really helps to be willing to laugh at your own humanness. To notice a trigger when it comes up and think, “Oh goodness, here we go again!” To keep practicing awareness and keep things light. To not take yourself too seriously.

If you want to love yourself and love your life, you have to have compassion for yourself on this spiritual journey and on your quest for spiritual awakening. 

You have to be willing to pause in the moment you want to judge yourself for falling into an old pattern and say, “Wait. I have compassion for myself. I love myself and I am in the process of becoming. I can make a shift now and make a better choice. I’m always in the process of becoming as I grow.” 

Self-compassion isn’t the same as condoning your patterns

There’s a subtle distinction when it comes to doing your shadow work and having compassion for yourself. As you take an honest look at yourself, your life, and your patterns, judgment and shame will not serve you.

At the same time though, having compassion for yourself in the process does not mean condoning your negative patterns, your triggers, or the places you see you need to grow and change. You can have compassion and love for yourself and still be really honest about the places you need to change in order to grow.

You have to take responsibility for the energy you put out into the world. With each action and choice, you’re putting out a certain energy or vibration. And you are responsible for making better choices when that awareness and clarity comes through for you. 

How to integrate your shadow work with your becoming

I decided to pull a card for us in order to get some direct guidance from Spirit on how we can integrate our shadow work with our becoming! This card is from my Enchanted Map deck. 

This card, Home, represents who we are when we land at home in ourselves. When we do our shadow work and integrate it, that’s where we land – home within ourselves. 

Without shadow work, it can feel like we go in a loop, repeating the same patterns over and over again and never feeling truly in touch with our inner-selves. In this place, it can feel like life is happening TO us because we are operating from our conditioning. 

But when you do your shadow work, you get to come home to your true, authentic self. You liberate yourself of your conditioning and get to become the truest version of you that lives within. 

The beautiful thing about the journey of becoming is that it is ongoing throughout our lives. There’s always something to be uncovered in the journey of becoming who you were meant to be in this life. 

This is one of the three core themes we’ll be exploring at our upcoming virtual event, OraclePalooza Virtual. This is going to be a magical 3-day event with thousands of spiritual seekers from around the globe. 

Throughout the weekend, I’ll lead you through an experience of seeing your own life journey as a landscape on a mystical map. This is the perfect place to begin exploring your shadow work and your conditioning. Through this process, you’ll gain clarity about your authentic self and how to claim this part of you. 

This is going to be a weekend full of healing, self-discovery, deep connection, and joyful spiritual awakening. If you’re curious about joining us, click here to see all of the details and get your ticket! 



Showing 4 comments
  • Kathryn

    I’m looking forward to this year’s Oracle Palooza. Every time we go a little deeper, peeling off another layer to be curious about. Out of the shadow comes our love & light. Great article! Thank you, Colette

    • Colette Baron-Reid

      so happy that you liked this, Kathryn! glad you could join us in this year’s Oracle Palooza! it’s going to be A LOT of fun!!

  • Veroshka van der Walt

    Love this, and have been working on myself since 2004… it is a never-ending path of commitment to become who I am truly meant to be. What is also nice is that shadow work isn’t a “once-off” exercise, it is an ongoing experience of learning and enjoying this beautiful being I truly am, and becoming. Thank you so much Colette 💕

  • Martha Ray

    This is a great article! I’ve learned so much from you in the short time I’ve been a member.
    I’m so excited to be part of the Oracle Palooza this year!

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