It is thought that each person we encounter is in some way a mirror of ourselves (and vice versa). This is comforting whenever we see aspects that are considered positive or admirable, but when we see the worst in someone? Oof. Well, that’s not exactly fun. Especially when you consider that we are equally capable of unleashing some nasty, unpleasant, and downright awful behavior of our own. Sorry to tell ya, but “Love and Light” isn’t all that we are made of. We also carry hurt, anger, hatred, unhealed trauma, sadness, and a whole lot of darkness throughout our time on this planet, and we will continue to come up against people and situations that trigger the unhealed wounds within us to come forward.
Self-awareness is a powerful and important first step in healing and transformation, and it will require you to do some work with the deeper, darker, shadowy sides of yourself. It’s big work, and not to be taken lightly. It can often lead to unlocking some traumatic memories, so it’s best to do this type of healing with guidance from a trauma-informed professional (therapist, counselor, or spiritual healer).
Self Check-Up: Shadow-Work Journal Prompts
If you are ready, I invite you to take a few minutes and, using a recent unpleasant interaction as your guide, take a quick self check-up. Here are some questions/journal prompts to consider:
- Without filtering your response– what did you like and dislike most about that person? Write it all down. Don’t censor yourself, this is important information to gather.
- Again, without filtering your response– what did you like and dislike most about your interaction or conversation with that person? Write it all down. Don’t censor yourself, this also is important information.
- Feelings Inventory- How did your interaction or conversation with the person make you feel? Go back to what you wrote and underline the words that stand out and evoke a strong emotion or reaction.
- Integrity Reflection– How do any of your negative thoughts towards this person and your interaction or conversation with them relate back to yourself? Without judgement, notice any ways that your own words, attitudes or actions may have created these same hard or negative feelings in someone else- either intentionally or not.
Now, take a deep breath and look over what you’ve written. Notice any shifts in your energy and emotions. What comes up for you?
Moving Forward- Now that you have had a good “look in the mirror” it’s important to recognize where are you showing up well, and where you need to do some more shadow-integration work. Remember- you are going to get triggered from time to time, and it’s going to reveal parts of yourself that need attention and healing. It’s very important to be extra-gentle and kind with yourself, especially if you’ve had a realization that some of your own inner-asshole behavior has just been checked.
You may also sense a need to ask for and/or offer forgiveness at this point- explore that, and if it is safe for you to do so, consider what those next steps might look like. It may be something that you have to do from a distance, energetically through meditation, a letter, or not at all.
Becoming more self-aware is not always easy and isn’t always full of sparkles & rainbows, but it is absolutely vital to our personal growth. Doing a quick self check-up like this is one way to keep yourself on a positive path towards your best self.