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  • Writer's picturekate mantello

How to Explore Your Shadow Self (and why you should)

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

How to explore your shadow self

We all have an image of who we are and how we want the world to see us. We’re masters of disguise, hiding our true selves behind a mask of ‘acceptableness’.

But behind this mask is what Carl Jung called the ‘shadow self’. This is the home of our fears, weaknesses, embarrassments, repressed desires, and impulses - the parts of us that we’re ashamed of, afraid of, or just plain unaware of.

Why our shadow self is important

We tend to think of our shadow self as made up of negative qualities, which is why we (intentionally or unintentionally) keep them hidden. But the fact is, many of these beliefs have been forced onto us by our society, culture, or familial upbringing.

It’s important to explore these hidden beliefs in order to understand ourselves more fully and grow as human beings.

Because we’ve spent a lifetime burying the parts of ourselves that we’re afraid or ashamed of, our shadow self contains a juicy mix of forgotten things. When brought to light, these things often reveal themselves to be gifts instead of scary monsters.

How to explore your shadow self

Exploring your shadow self isn’t about wallowing in despair or letting your anger explode out of you whenever you feel like it. It’s about self-awareness and acceptance.

When you can shine the light of awareness onto your shadow self, it stops those hidden qualities rearing their ugly heads at inopportune moments, and instead allows you to use them intentionally.

Anger, for example, when observed and accepted, can be channelled into a constructive and powerful, forward-moving energy. But when it simmers away below the surface, it can become the lens through which we observe our reality, holding us back from our true potential.

Jung famously said, ‘Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.’ So, paying attention to what triggers you in other people is a great way to get insight into your shadow self.

Other ways you can begin to unlock and integrate your shadow self include:

Mindfulness Practices

Practicing mindfulness allows us to observe thoughts and feelings with acceptance instead of judgment. The shadow self was created by resisting and hiding unwanted parts of ourselves, but when we stop resisting and accept all parts equally, we bring light to the shadows. The more we practice, the better we begin to know ourselves and this allows us to experience more contentment and wholeness in our life.


Daily journaling can do wonders for helping you unlock those hidden parts of yourself. You may want to use specific prompts relating to your fears, what you dislike about yourself and other people, and what qualities you admire.

You can also do a daily brain dump where you free-write anything that springs to mind. You’ll be amazed at what comes up when you commit to this as a daily practice, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes every evening.

Creating Art

Creating art, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, is an amazing way of connecting with that deep, dark part of yourself. Creativity bypasses our logical mind and allows us to swim in our primal soup to see what sparks of life are hidden there.

Although exploring the shadow self can be a scary and uncomfortable process, it ultimately moves us towards a state of greater self-awareness, growth, and wholeness.

Did you know that some crystals, such as black obsidian, selenite, and lapis lazuli, can help you on this journey of self-discovery?

Explore our online crystal shop to find the perfect crystal and Learning About Crystals companion for your shadow-journey

Kate Mantello is a Master Crystal & Energy Healing Practitioner, Founder & CEO of Evolve Healing Institute, and the author of 'Rock On - The crystal healing handbook for spiritual rebels'. If you would like to learn more about crystal healing or how to become a crystal healing practitioner, then please check out Kate's world-class, internationally accredited online crystal healing courses.

Mel Shieldhouse is a freelance copywriter and content creator, specialising in helping busy, heart-centred entrepreneurs attract their dream client. If you’d like to work with Mel, you can contact her at Teacup Copy.

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