This post is all about these 65 best shadow work journal prompts to become a better person.
We all dream about becoming the best version of yourself.
But the truth is we will never achieve this until we uncover and integrate the different parts of ourselves, yes the ugly parts included.
If you do not know how or where to start don’t worry. In this article, I’m sharing everything you need to know about shadow work including 65 best shadow work journal prompts!
What is shadow work?
Before we dive into the journaling prompts let’s take a minute to understand what shadow work and shadow self means.
Let’s begin with your “shadow self”. This concept first appeared in the 20th century thanks to psychologist Carl Jung.
According to Jung, the shadow self is the unknown dark side of our personality.
Our shadow self is made up of parts of our personality that we fear wouldn’t be accepted by others. For example our flaws, insecurities, mistakes, and even our past.
We are so scared of rejection that we bury them deep within ourselves so that no one can see them (and even pretend to ourselves they don’t exist).
But just because we try to ignore them doesn’t mean they are not there. Here are some common representations of our shadow self:
- A quick temper
- Playing the victim
- Stepping on others to succeed
- Being judgmental of others
- Pointing out other peoples’ insecurities
- Always looking to save others
- Having a toxic and negative inner dialogue.
Then we have the term “shadow work” which refers to the exercise of working through and learning to forgive your “shadow self”.
Now, shadow work has two sides:
- First, we have the introspective practice of uncovering the parts of your personality that you’ve hidden from your conscious mind.
- And secondly integrating the compartmentalized versions of yourself into one whole through kindness and love.
You can either do this shadow work on your own or with the help of a therapist. Either way, journaling is a good way to begin reflecting and becoming more self-aware.
Remember that it’s important to take your time with each question and dig deep into your answers to understand the emotions behind them.
That way you will have a starting point to challenge those beliefs and make changes in your life.
How do I find my shadow self?
The thing is, you already know your shadow self, you just never had the courage to acknowledge it.
Dont, believe me? Well, have you ever…
…felt triggered by someone’s words or actions and reacted in a way you were later embarrassed by?
…thoughts about something awful about someone and been relieved it was just in your head?
…gossiped about someone you were actually just envious of?
The good news is, your shadow self is someone you actually want to meet.
And before you start running in the opposite direction, let me explain to you why.
Even if you feel justified for feeling or doing any of the things above, the fact you had no control over your reaction is a hint of your shadow self.
It’s a part of you that lives underneath the carefully constructed personality you show to the world.
But the truth is when you make the effort to make the unknown known, you gain something very powerful. And that is control over it.
Have you ever heard the quote information is power?
Well knowing this person is powerful. And it will give you the ability to control it instead of the other way around.
Getting started with shadow work journal prompts
Before we start, I want to share with you a couple of tips on how to approach these shadow work questions because they are not your typical journal prompts.
These types of prompts are specifically designed and written to help you uncover that darkness of yours we just talked about.
That is why you will find that the questions are intimate, thought-provoking, and will make you feel vulnerable.
Shadow work can trigger a lot of emotions and thoughts. You’ll very likely be hard on yourself criticizing your answers, and your feelings and maybe even gaslighting yourself.
So, before you start answering these questions, I want you to consciously promise yourself to be kind.
It’s important that you can create a safe space within yourself where you can accept and forgive all those shadows and mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Remember that the path of healing is not paved by self-criticism but by acceptance and kindness.
The point of these shadow work journal prompts is not to be perfect. It’s about acknowledging all the parts that makeup you, even the ones you neglect and bury within yourself.
65 Shadow work journal prompts to become a better person
- What am I most afraid of others finding out about myself?
- What’s the biggest, most mortifying lie I’ve ever told myself?
- What’s the biggest lie I’ve ever told anyone else?
- What am I most ashamed of in myself?
- Think of people in your life (partners, family, coworkers, peers) Write down what are the most upsetting aspects about these people. In one word, what would describe them? (It can be multiple things).
- The above are often projections due to pain or beliefs we received as a child. Can you think back to a time when that word first came up and you rejected it?
- When did you reject this aspect of self?
- Who did you pick it up from? Or who shamed you? Or who did you watch getting shamed?
- What judgments came up for you?
- Make a list of all the times you consciously remember being this.
- Get into the other person’s shoes. situations, and perspective and find a positive new interpretation.
- Picture your older self comforting your younger self and your younger self what you needed.
- What are my pet peeves? Where do I think these pet peeves may have stemmed from?
- What personality traits bother me? What behaviors get under my skin?
- Do I possess any of these personality traits or behaviors?
- What external experiences trigger a negative reaction within me?
- Why do I think I react negatively to these experiences?
- Have I ever offered my authentic self to another and been rejected?
- How did this make me feel?
- What was I like as a child? Is there any aspect of my childlike self that I’ve lost touch with that I miss? What caused me to lose touch with this part of me?
- Did I experience any embarrassing or difficult situations when I was younger that had a profound effect on me? How do I feel when I think about that experience now?
- Do I try to hide any parts of myself from others?
- Why do I hide these parts of me?
- What personality traits do I notice in others that I wish I had?
- How do I feel when I’m around people with these traits?
- If I could change one part of myself, what would I change? (Now, challenge yourself to see if you can find at least one positive aspect of this part of you. Could this thing you don’t like be beneficial in any way?)
- What emotions do I typically avoid feeling? (i.e. anger, resentment, sadness, grief) What do I think will happen if I allow myself to feel these emotions?
- Write a letter to yourself, from Fear. What does Fear want to tell you?
- In what ways do I ghost myself? Do I ignore my own feelings, thoughts, needs, or desires? How does it feel to ghost myself?
- Have I noticed any negative patterns that keep appearing in my life? (for example, sabotaging your romantic relationships, pushing people away from your life…) What do I need to do to break this cycle?
- What emotion do you try to avoid feeling the most? How do you typically react when you feel this emotion?
- Is your inner voice truly yours? Could it be influenced by other people in your life like your parents, friends, or teachers?
- How do you think people see you? How does that make you feel?
- How do you want other people to see you? Is it different than how you think they see you?
- What relationship do you think you could have stronger boundaries? What’s preventing you from setting those boundaries?
- Do you respect other people’s boundaries?
- What are your core values?
- Are you living in alignment with your core values? If no, which values aren’t being respected?
- Are your core values similar to your parents or caregivers? Are you happy about that? Where else do you think your values came from?
- Write down a time you felt betrayed. What would you say to that person now?
- What trait do you wish you had that you see in other people?
- Do you frequently overthink what you’ve said or done? Why do you think that is?
- What are the first signs that your mental health is suffering?
- Are you easily swayed by the opinions of others? Why or why not?
- Do you value yourself and what you bring to the world?
- Have you ever done something to make someone else proud? If so, who was that person and why did you care what they thought?
- Imagine you are lying on your deathbed. What regret do you fear having the most?
- What do you wish people understood about you? Is there a way you can better share that part of yourself with the world?
- What makes you feel empty inside? When you feel this way, how do you try to fill the void? Are there healthier ways you could do this?
- Who has the most influence over you? Are you okay with this influence?
- What does freedom mean for you?
- When are you hardest on yourself? Why do you think that is?
- What is your relationship with your parents like? Is it different now than when you were a child?
- What is your relationship with your siblings like? Is it different now than when you were a child?
- What does achievement mean to you? Do you celebrate your achievements?
- Do you think you’re only as good as your last achievement?
- Have you ever felt taken advantage of? How did you respond to feeling that way?
- Which relationships in your life no longer serve you? Is there a way you can salvage them?
- What was your last unkind thought? Did you voice it?
- When you think of your life so far, what situation do you wish had a different outcome?
- Are you a dramatic person? Why or why not?
- Are you comfortable asking for help? Why or why not?
- What makes you feel unsafe?
- When you think about your life so far, who do you feel you’ve let down the most? Why?
- Do you feel less than, more than, or equal to others?
Variations on shadow work journal prompts
Journaling is great for soo many reasons. One of them is that when we write down our thoughts, emotions, and experiences it helps us process and reframe our negative thoughts to ultimately change ourselves.
So why stop there? If you want to improve yourself and your well-being, I highly suggest you include these to your journaling routine:
- Mental health journaling. 19 mental health questions to ask yourself.
- Self love journaling. 29 best self love journal prompts
- Self discovery journaling. 48 Deep questions for self discovery you need to answer
- Money journaling. 36 money journal prompts to heal your relationship with money.
Keeping a shadow journal can help you heal, grow and live more authentically to your true self.
And even though it requires work, vulnerability, and honesty it’s so worth investing your time in and something you will not regret.
Thank you so much for investing your time in this article. I hope the journal prompts, tips, and resources in it will help you find your shadow self and accept your beautiful self.
Remember that you are worthy of even your deepest and wildest desires!