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Journaling Prompts for Shadow Work

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

We all have a shadow side. When I first heard this phrase, it scared me, I didn't want to have a shadow side. I have spent so much energy trying to live my newly awakened life with bright light, positive energy so the last thing I wanted was a dark shadow figure following me around. So, I did everything I could to tell myself that everything is great full of rainbows and butterflies and if anything, "negative" would come up I would shut it down and not deal with it, or even let myself feel for that matter.

I then asked myself one day how am I ever going to be my true highest self if I am not even acknowledging my whole self-dark shadow side included? That's not real or sustainable its exhausting not living in my full truth shadow side included. Also not dealing with past Tramas that is stuffed down were coming up in ways I wouldn't have even realized. Never underestimate your subconscious power she will come out screaming loudly if you keep trying to ignore her.

Example of when mine would come out guns a blazing; I would be watching a tv show with my husband, insecurities would creep in when a beautiful actress would show on the screen. Thoughts of "She's so much prettier than me" "I'm sure he wants her and not me" "She has so much confidence" "I'm sure he will think of her later tonight instead of me." "He's a #*&? for thinking she is better than me!" The thoughts would go on and on and I would be so consumed in my head that now this is all my husband's fault, and he likes her and not me. Like really in the moment, I can't rationally think and be "like listen to yourself did he once say any of those thoughts?" "No, okay cool, done." but I couldn't even be present enough to sort out fact thoughts from fake thoughts. Then this would turn into me make blanket statements like "You think she's hotter than me huh?" "You wish you were with someone like that." This would then lead to a fight of me being crazy and then the whole tv show is ruined and then the guilt would settle in that I just messed up our show we were supposed to be enjoying together. So then here comes the tears and the "sorry's" and the never ending beating myself up for letting the thoughts take control.

I came to the self-realization that this was happening because I hadn't worked on my shadow parts of myself so my subconscious insecurities of not feeling good enough or pretty enough or whatever "type" of enough came to the surface and my thought took charge; I let it. I let my thoughts have power over me in that moment, instead of being present with my husband. Not just that one moment alone; this happened over and over again on repeat. It felt like every other night. I finally had enough, and my husband did to (I'm sure). Something needs to change so I found podcasts and they talked about journaling prompts that can help dive into my shadow side. These are some that I have used and love.

If your still not sure how to figure out what your shadow self is, it is actually easier than you think you will start noticing it throughout your day when you learn what to look for

What to look for:

  • Notice the moments when you feel insecure/envious

  • Having arguments (trying to be "right")

  • Seeking out attention/validation from others

  • Complaining about others

These are just a few examples of situations to look for. As you practice noticing one or more of these examples you will start to naturally notice other ones. Then you can dive into your journal and do the work to help you live your life to the fullest.

Journal Prompts for your Shadow Self

  • What things are triggers for you?

  • What is the oldest memory you recall of having these triggers?

  • What emotions do you feel in a moment of being triggered?

  • Do you feel it anywhere in your body? (throat, stomach, etc.)

  • What is the "worst" emotion to experience for you personally? Why? Can you think of where it stems from?

  • When have you been self-sabotaging or destructive?

  • What emotions tend to bring out the worst in you?

It's great to start noticing the emotions that come up along with body ques when you are triggered that way when it happens again you will be able to recognize it in the moment rather than when its passed and your night is "ruined."

  • What do you believe to be your "core" values?

  • Do they match those of your parents or guardian?

  • Are you living in alignment with them?

  • Do you feel like your core beliefs are truly yours?

  • Would you like to have different core beliefs?

  • What is the biggest lie you tell yourself?

  • What makes you feel empty?

  • Do you have ways of filling that void?

  • What are some healthy strategies you might develop to overcome the feeling of emptiness?

  • Do you have healthy boundaries set up in your relationships?

  • Do you feel you are able to respect the boundaries of others?

  • Can you think of a particular relationship that you feel could benefit from stronger boundaries?

  • What is preventing you from feeling like you can create these boundaries?

  • What do you think are the worst traits a person can have?

  • When is a time you have demonstrated similar traits like these?

  • What things make you judgmental?

To dive deeper into the judgmental category I highly recommend, Judgment Detox, by Gabrielle Bernstein. She takes you on a journey with journal prompts/mediations throughout her book that help you discover the root of our judgmental thoughts.

  • Do you consider yourself to be conformational?

  • How do you feel when you're in a confrontation with someone?

  • What most frightens you?

  • In a safe way how might you be able to expose yourself to that fear?

  • Have you had recurring nightmares?

  • What is the common theme?

  • How might you face the fear causing nightmare?

  • What is the worst thing you have ever done?

  • What drove you to it?

  • How does it make you feel?

  • How do/did you console yourself for this behavior/action?

  • Does it make you feel better or worse?

  • Have you been able to talk to anyone about the worst thing you have done?

  • Yes, how did it feel to let someone know?

  • No, are you afraid of being honest?

  • Could you make peace with anyone? (If applicable)

  • What person has hurt you the most in your life?

  • Write them a letter telling them all the things you'd like to say.

If you don't feel comfortable giving the letter to the person that hurt you the most, then I recommend burning your letter and watch those feelings and worries fade away as the pages turn to ash. This is amazing to let that pressure release from you without getting others involved especially if you know the outcome may make things worse.

  • What are your parents or guardians worst/best attributes?

  • Do you see any of these qualities in common with yourself?

  • What is your definition of failure?

  • What is your definition of being successful?

  • Did someone tell you these definitions or beliefs?

  • Have you ever felt like you let someone you love down?

  • Think of a time you received praise, what were you doing? How did that make you feel?

  • Who regularly belittles or downplays your emotions?

  • How does this make you feel?

  • Think about unhealthy relationships you have had or currently have.

  • Do you notice any common themes in their behaviors?

  • How do you feel after having had an interaction with someone you consider to be an unhealthy relationship?

  • Could boundaries benefit the relationship? or do ties need to be cut?

  • Do you feel like you put on a mask for others?

  • How does it make you feel?

  • What do you think would happen if you exposed your true self?

  • Do you remember a time of feeling judged for expressing your true self?

Take your time on this journey always know that things can feel worse before they get better when we are bringing up the past if you feel like you need help, please know there are always resources and help out there. BetterHelp is a great way to afford counseling if you need help.



Disclosure: I am not a certified therapist or counselor. These are tools and tricks that have helped me on my journey. Even though they have helped me on my journey doesn't mean they are guaranteed to help you on yours. If doing these activities activate strong emotions or bring up trauma that you're unable to deal with on your own, please reach out to a professional for help. I am truly wanting nothing but kind, light, loving energy for you so you can function in life feeling your best.

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