Shadow Work Prompts: 75+ Journaling Cues For Your Healing Journey
Shadow work isn’t just important, it’s a crucial component of the healing journey. So many of us suppress our shadow selves and therefore struggle in many aspects of our lives. Keep in mind, even when you do embrace shadow work, it’s not a cure-all. But it will help guide you on your path of integration and wholeness. Here we explore the basics of shadow work: what is it and why is it so important, and we provide you with 75+ shadow work prompts for your inner healing journal.
First, What is Shadow Work?
We talk about shadow work a lot here at the Otherworldly Oracle. But if you don’t know what it is, we’ll define it. Put simply, shadow work is the journey we take to understand, heal, and integrate our “shadow” selves. What is the shadow self? This is the part of ourselves that we ignore, repress, or flat our reject. Typically these are things in our past that have caused us to create bad habits, toxic relationships, negative thinking patterns, low self esteem, etc. All of the worst parts of ourselves (or so we believe them to be the worst) that we shove down deep and try our hardest not to show anyone. The problem is – these shadows often manifest in powerful ways. So even if you think you can run from your shadow self, you can’t hide forever.
The concept of shadow work was developed by Carl Jung. He believed the shadow side, also called the id or shadow archetype, could cause us to project onto others. There are negative and even positive aspects to the shadow self. Many of these shadows that we hide are rooted in childhood experiences, of which can often be of a traumatic nature. But shadows don’t just develop in childhood, they can develop later on in life. OR may be the result of primal human instincts. Whatever the cause of the shadow self, Jung taught that it was important to identify and assimilate the shadow self in order to heal the whole person.
Why is Shadow Work So Important?
Shadow work reveals our shadow selves – the things we’ve suppressed about ourselves for years, possibly our entire lives, that can cause significant problems in our daily lives. Your shadows might prevent you from having healthy, long-lasting relationships including romantic relationships, friendships and connections with family members. Some hold us back from reaching our full potential in our careers. Unintegrated shadows can even manifest in physical illness as well as mental. Our physical and mental bodies affect one another, and therefore both should be cared for. If we ignore our mental health, our physical health may eventually suffer. And vice versa.
Keeping a Journal
Keep a journal to document your healing journey with shadow work. Be aware, if you have true psychological and emotional trauma, seeking professional help is best and recommended. We can’t heal ourselves all on our own, all of the time. We often need the help and expertise of others. That being said, keeping a journal and answering a shadow work prompt like those provided, will aid you down your path of inner healing. Journaling doesn’t just chronicle your thoughts and experiences, it gives you a place where you can reflect on the past and the present. Go back and review your past entries. You’ll notice patterns emerging and you might even have a real epiphany.
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75 Shadow Work Prompts For Your Healing Journey
We’ve said it many times, and we’ll see it again – journaling is a great way to understand yourself better and to help yourself heal. If you haven’t started a healing journal, now’s the time. A simple notebook, composition book, or a fancy journal all do the trick. How your journal looks is up to you. The important thing is to write in it regularly, every day if you can. Focus on answering some or all of these shadow work prompts in your journal. You don’t have to rush this process. Take your time and do one shadow work prompt per day. Or one per week, even.
- What is your understanding of shadow work? How would you define it?
2. Are you consciously aware of any of your own personal shadows?
3. What is your number one pet peeve?
4. Describe your romantic relationship. Describe your romantic relationships in the past.
5. Do you have a lot of friends or a few close ones?
6. Do you prefer to be alone or around other people?
7. What was your childhood like?
8. Are you close to your mom? What’s your relationship like with her?
9. Are you close to your dad? What’s your relationship like with him?
10. What is your best childhood memory?
11. What is your worst childhood memory?
12. Do you have any recurring dreams?
13. Do you have any recurring nightmares?
14. What’s your greatest fear?
15. What’s your favorite thing to do
16. What’s your least favorite thing to do?
17. Do you enjoy being in public places? Why or why not?
18. If you have to pick one of the four elements (earth, air, fire or water) as your favorite, which one would you pick? Why?
19. What’s your least favorite element and why?
20. What are your friendships like? What would you improve or change about them?
21. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
22. Do you believe your body is healthy? Why or why not?
23. What causes you anxiety? Where does this trigger originate?
24. What’s one quality you admire in others but feel you don’t have yourself? Why do you think you don’t have this quality?
25. What is one thing about yourself that you are self conscious about? Why is that?
26. Do you overthink the decisions you’ve made? Why?
27. Do you feel your personal morals and values are similar or the same as your parents? Why or why not?
28. Did your mom show you love as a child? In what ways?
29. Did your dad show you love as a child? In what ways?
30. Are you easy to anger? Why or why not?
31. What’s one thing that quickly draws you to anger? Why do you think that is?
32. Have you carried on your parents’ bad habits or traits? How can you change this?
33. Who are you as a human being? Really think about this. Don’t answer based on what others think of you, but answer based on what you think about yourself.
34. Are you happy with your lifestyle? Why or why not?
35. Are you happy with your career choice? Why or why not?
36. Do you have any toxic habits or addictions? Why do you think this habit/addiction exists? How can you let this go and heal?
37. Have you ever wished ill will on someone? Why?
38. What’s one time recently that you felt vulnerable? What caused that feeling of vulnerability?
39. What’s one time in your childhood that made you feel vulnerable? What caused this feeling?
40. Do you trust your closest family members? Why or why not?
41. Do you trust yourself? Why or why not?
42. What’s one thing you don’t like about your appearance? Why? Think about whether this insecurity goes back to your childhood and/or when it began.
43. Are you a good public speaker? Why or why not?
44. Do you avoid expressing or even feeling a particular emotion? I.E. anger, sorrow, joy, peace, etc. Why?
45. Did your parents or caregivers show you affection as a child? How do you feel this has affected your life as an adult?
46. Do you avoid a particular place? Why? Examples: airplanes, cliffs, crowded stores, church, etc.
47. Are your current relationships with family members healthy?
48. Do you have any estranged relatives? If so, why?
49. Do you have any long-time friends or do friends come and go quickly in your life? Why or why not?
50. Do you keep the same job for a long period of time or quickly switch jobs? Why?
51. Do you avoid conflict? If so, why do you think that is?
52. What is the one thing about other people that you can’t stand? Take some time to think about why that is and whether this is a quality you lack or fear within yourself.
53. What’s one thing about other people you admire? Do you see this quality in yourself? Why or why not?
54. How has your life been so far? Are you living your best life? Why or why not?
55. What is one thing you like about your appearance?
56. Name one big accomplishment in your life.
57. What do you feel has been the biggest teacher in your life? This could be an event, a person, etc.
58. What did that event or person teach you? (continued from shadow work prompt #57)
59. What ended your last romantic relationship? Did you or the other individual end it? Why?
60. Did you and your last ex end the relationship amicably? Why or why not?
61. Do you know what it means to project onto others? (If not, time to research and add your notes here).
62. Would you say you have good self esteem or poor self esteem? Why?
63. Do you believe the big events in your life happened because of other people or because you made them happen?
64. Do you feel you take responsibility for your decisions and the consequences of your decisions? Why or why not?
65. What are your thoughts throughout the day? Are they positive or negative?
66. Do you talk negatively about yourself to others?
67. Do you talk negatively about yourself to yourself? (This is called negative self-talk) If so, why?
68. Do you frequently gossip about other people? If so, why? What do you find to be the “juiciest gossip”?
69. Do you feel other people gossip about you? Why or why not?
70. In your own words, without looking it up, define love.
71. Do you love yourself, fully? If the answer is no, why not?
72. Are these shadow work prompts helpful? Why or why not?
73. Which of the shadow work prompts have helped the most?
74. Do you take care of yourself? How so?
75. Do you allow your emotional needs to be known to others (i.e. your significant other, friends, etc.)?
76. Do you feel you work hard enough? How do you feel about your career or current job status? Does it make you happy and feel fulfilled or not?
When Journaling and the Healing Process Become Hard…
Perhaps you made it through 5 shadow work prompts and it triggered something in you. Perhaps it’s even been a painful process and you’re not sure you can continue. If this is the case, and it is highly probable, take your time continuing. Sometimes our shadows are so deep and painful, we need help from others to bring them to the light and heal them. Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional if you need help sorting through your past or current traumas, anxiety, or any other mental health issue. But if you feel you can continue the process, do so with an open heart when you feel you’re ready.