What is shadow work? (in my own words)
To face one's shadow is to face the side of yourself you want to hide from the world. To face the thoughts we pretend we don't think, the feelings we ignore, the part of us the world would reject.
In the philosophy and psychology world, there is a term that is used: the anti-self, otherwise known as the evil side of man.
The anti-self is the reason for every bad decision, every controversial thought. When you are selfish, it is because of the anti-self. When you think taboo things, such as killing (whether it be yourself or someone/thing else), it is the anti-self. It is everything that fights against the good within you.
Shadow work brings you face to face with the anti-self, the shadow, in order to better understand yourself and to liberate yourself from the chains you, society, family, everything places upon you. You take back control of yourself and your life by finding a way to walk with your shadow rather than against it.
It is only by accepting our shadow that we can control it.
What shadow work means to me
For what seems like my entire life now, I have had issues with mental illness (Depression, PTSD, Anxiety) that has seemed completely out of my control. I've gone through therapy, I've taken medications, I've been hospitalized. But I always seemed to be pulled back into it with no real way to pull myself back out.
This, with the aid of my trauma therapy, finally feels like a chance to gain control back. My brain will no longer be a prison because I can finally get the upper hand.
It means freedom.