Shadow Work, Our Greatest Teacher

Paisley Bird
3 min readFeb 7, 2024

The term ‘shadow work’ used to be ominous to me, as if it was dark magical art. Shadow work is actually the practice of addressing what we deny in ourselves: our flaws, our mistakes, etc.

This article will be one of the most vulnerable I’ve written, as I’m going to share some of my own shadow work in order to inspire yours. Doing this work led me to self acceptance, and it can do that for you too.

For context for this musing, here are some of the questions I asked my shadow side while writing this:

What do you want from me?

What are you trying to show me?

What do you have to teach me?

Who are you in relation to me?

Who Am I?

I project my repressed anger on my partner. I project distrust because I don’t trust myself and my upbringing showed me I couldn’t be trusted. I’m afraid of money because it equates to being an arrogant person. I equate suffering and pain to validation and goodness.I want to be found because my dad didn’t look for me. I’m insecure about my sexuality because it was repressed and violated early on. I am inconsistent with my judgment of others because I’m unsure about who I am. I strive to be special and perfect because I received that praise as a child. I’m uncomfortable around family dynamics because mine was skewed. It’s hard for me to befriend most women because I’m afraid of my own femininity- masculinity has been safe for me. I’m afraid of sharing feelings for fear of abandonment.

I’m upset at bits of selfishness because I’m afraid to take up space. I’m upset at laziness because I am overly ambitious. I feel threatened by families/mother relationships because I’m jealous. I obsess over fixing parts of myself because I created emotional solutions for my mother. Anger and fits of sadness were powerful yet rare growing up, therefore my temper is hard to control- I didn’t know when I could express emotions or productively. My anxiety and depression fluctuate astronomically because I judge my past decisions and question my future judgment. I’m jealous of creative confidence because I struggle with it. I’m uncomfortable being myself in front of groups because I doubt myself- I put too much stock into other’s perspectives. I empathize without boundaries. I unintentionally lie to others because I lie to myself.

Now, the light side giving gratitude to the previous protection to the shadow side:

But I am growing.

I’m working on self-actualization.

I do not shy away from the uncomfortable.

I do not run away from shame.

I am beautiful even with my flaws.

I’m worthy of love.

I’m worthy of being a priority.

I’m worthy of being emotionally supported.

I’m worthy of having someone to rely on.

I’m worthy of being taken care of.

I am my own dream girl.

I am confident.

I am successful.

I am wanted.

I am generous.

I am energetic.

I am loved.

By making friends with your shadow side, you can grow and learn from it. Without that discomfort, I would not be the confident person I am today.



Paisley Bird

Insight Coach that lives in the form of an Intuitive Empath, HSP, and Visual Storyteller.