Our inner head space… doing the inner shadow work

Inspired by Jack Canfora’s post: “We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be” where he brings up existential questions about life, our perceptions of ourselves, and other people’s perceptions of us.

Our perceptions of ourselves many times are based on how others have treated or mistreated us.

If we were loved and cherished, we may grow up thinking we’re a good person, deserving to be loved and to be treated in a respectful way.

Likewise, if we were mistreated, we internalize the mistreatment and come to a mistaken conclusion that we must not be a good person to have merited someone else to treat us badly.

Then if we have come to believe what is essentially lies about ourselves (for our abusers will mostly project onto us their own anger, fears, and negative thoughts), we develop a dark inner world where we beat ourselves up, speak harsher to ourselves than we ever would to anyone else, and struggle with depression because the emotional blows we deal out to ourselves batter our spirits into feeling we are useless and undeserving of anything positive.

The space in my head used to be filled with dark images of myself as a monster, where I relived every battle, every perceived negative and loud strident noise of how I was a loser and would never be able to do anything right.

A few short years ago I decided to redecorate my inner living space. I no longer wished to live with the old trappings I had gathered, they were exhausting me and paralyzing me into anxiety and depression.

Instead I wanted to create a happy and serene place. The old decorations were carefully examined and I realized they were cheap copies of how I had been treated, but in truth didn’t represent me.

The clean out is very scary, for who are we if we remove all the negatives which really don’t belong, but from which we had pulled our identity for so long?

Who are we to be when we clean house?

I was afraid that I wouldn’t find anything of value left in my rooms, yet when I decided to shine a light on all those hideous thoughts, I discovered they were mere dark shadows, having no real substance, so they left, one by one.

What remained was actually a very nice place to live! It took a lot of time and effort to clean up and to polish what was there before, but I found that words of encouragement to myself helped more than I could have imagined and soon there was color up on my walls, sunshine coming in once more from windows that had too long been boarded up. The more I worked on cleaning up this inner space, the nicer it became!

This was an absolute shock to me to discover that such a radical change was possible, much less that I was capable of doing it myself.

The mind is truly incredible at what it can do, and our inner being is capable of such transformation!

Tamara’s Response to Jack Canfora’s post: “We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be”

What can we do?

Transformation is possible and doable, each one of us has our own timelines to work with as we deal with and battle with the inner shadows.

This work is much easier if we are already in a physically safe place, for it is important to remember that the old foes in our lives can no longer hurt us!

If you aren’t in a safe place physically, mentally, or even spiritually, please take the time to secure your safety.

In the meanwhile, pay extra attention to getting extra sleep, eating nourishing food, and getting some gentle exercise done, for this process is very physically demanding! I was surprised by how much it took out of me physically!

You aren’t going crazy if you see it’s taking more out of you than your regular life does. That is quite normal!

It’s a process, it takes time. The transition period varies for each of us, and some weeks we can be doing really well, and other days not so much. Keep going!

I send you blessings on your inner journey. Take all the time that you need, rushing through it may only deal with the first layer or two, and you may find yourself returning, again and again, to keep peeling back the old layers!

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35 thoughts on “Our inner head space… doing the inner shadow work

  1. This is such an enlightening and inspirational post, Tamara. The picture you paint about clearing out the negative feelings and redecorating our inner world sounds very attractive. I’ve always been cautious about thinking about my shadow side, as I understood it at the time, to be the devil living in the shadows of my soul. This idea was planted by that emotionally abusive therapist many years ago. Now, I know differently; it’s not so frightening. I feel stuck at the moment, being between therapists and not knowing how long it’ll be before I get allocated a new person. I feel as if I have frozen myself into no man’s land while I wait for the time to pass before I can feel supported by a new therapist. However, I don’t feel totally unsupported, as I am very fortunate to have some wonderful WP readers who give me lots of support and encouragement. I really don’t know what I’d do without my blog to express myself. I hope I can get to the point in my life (preferably sooner than later) where I can feel safe enough to start redecorating my inner world. Thanks, as always, Tamara, for your valuable and much-appreciated advice and views. Xx 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellie, I totally understand about the image of the devil, having been in 2 fundamental churches that heavily pushed those ideas. The fear that is created is used to control us. When we can recognize the lies, we see that all that lies in the shadows is a very hurt inner child. A child who needs to be loved, nurtured and shown they can drop the mantle of shame that was forced on them, and simply start taking tentative steps into the light!

      Some kind of meditation is very helpful to be able to manage the emotional stresses. I use nature meditation and art making meditation, they allow me to enter a meditative brain wave, while allowing my body space and gentle movement. I have heard from others who use traditional meditation to help heal and to help process stresses.

      This is something you can do for free, there’s many YouTube videos both to teach and to offer guided meditation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for understanding me so well, Tamara. I, too, was at a church for some years, which was pushing the ideas that I was a sinner and was going to hell week after week after week. I stayed there from 2008 until about five years ago when I decided to leave. It wasn’t easy, but I don’t miss the services and have found other ways of living spiritually, but more tied in with the universe rather than a god. I used to meditate regularly but lapsed about ten years ago now. I learned to do Transcendental Meditation, but would be very rusty after all these years. I will take your suggestion and look for meditation ideas on YouTube. Thank you once again for all your kind support and advice. I value them a lot. Xx 💗

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have seen too many people utterly destroyed by churches, myself included. Due to their teachings and how they taught people to treat others, I had reached a point where I believed I no longer deserved to walk the earth or to breath the air.

          Thankfully I left, and have rebuilt myself, but not simply shoving the pieces back together willy-nilly, but meditavely deciding what was to stay and be amplified, and what was to leave because it no longer felt like it belonged to me or served who I wanted to be.

          Don’t worry about the process, instead trust it! The process is actually very nurturing! God, the Angels, and the universe are all based on love and love frequencies, which is the same frequency the planet vibrates at. I learned this early in my own recovery and found it incredibly comforting.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. If I may, I’d like to give you some homework.

          When I was struggling to find anything positive about myself and I decided to teach myself to like myself, I printed out and wrote out positive words and quotes that resonated with me. I figured I’d pull strength from other people who had walked the path in front of me. I plastered them all around my walls and work space so I’d be surrounded by them.

          I see you have hundreds of positive things that people are saying to you in the comments on your posts.

          I suggest printing out and writing out the ones that touch your heart!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you very much for your suggestion and invitation to have a go at doing this. I think it’s a good idea, although I might have a job explaining to my grandchildren why I’ve got words stuck all over the walls and mirrors. I’m on my own for Xmas Day and my grandchildren will be here on Boxing Day over to the 27th. Perhaps, I could start doing this once they’ve gone home again. I have a printer so could print a lot of different words and sentences out on one piece of paper and perhaps, put those up in my bedroom. After Xmas, I don’t see that many people so it’ll be easier. Thank you so much for the idea and opportunity, Tamara. You always have such good advice to share and I do appreciate that. Take care Xx ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You don’t need to put them up until the kids go back home! I’d recommend printing in a large size font, to see them easily from a little distance away! (I even used acrylic paint on my bathroom mirror at my lowest point and used a razor to scrape off when I felt ready.) I found it extremely helpful! You can also rotate what goes up on the walls, so they stay fresh in your heart, and so you don’t feel too overwhelmed with a lot of paper tacked up! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you for your good ideas and thoughts, Tamara. I will take your advice and do that. It’s a good idea to alternate them every now and then; otherwise I will get so used to the same words being there, that I won’t notice them after all. My family go home on the 27th as my daughter and the girls are coming that day. After that, all will be quiet at home. Hope you enjoy the holidays, too. Xx

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Another good post Tamara and very encouraging. I look around my room and I notice some clutter. Sometimes with clutter can come anxiety. This makes me wonder how I can reorganize to make the flow in my room feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! Even before I had heard of Marie Kondo I tuned into the idea of following my joy. I think we need to decorate pur inner and outer worlds in a way where we remove the things that are negative and that interfere with our growth, while choosing things that bring us joy! It’s all about carefully curating the things and experiences we want. I wish you joy on this journey!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s true we sometimes consider ourselves the person, others are treating us like.
    We treat ourselves badly, if others are continuously bullying us.
    It can definitely hurt our confidence.
    It’s true, a good sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise can help us a lot, especially building our self confidence and emotional health.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I would have really enjoyed it! Please keep me in mind for your future retreats, so I can see if I can attend! 🤩🤩

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m very happy to hear that you are doing this work! It’s tough to turn it all around, but doable. It needs persistence.

      I was so surprised one day when I discovered that the loud inner voice I was working on had changed and was becoming quieter and quieter, until it was no longer the negative blast I had become so used to. Instead, a new supportive voice had grown in its place.

      Blessings on this journey!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, the basement! I used to store many things in the basement of my spirit. I was surprised to find that a lot of those old things had taken themselves to the curb when I was working in other areas of my spirit. It’s amazing how those things are linked together an when one issue is resolved, how it gently pulls out a string of things attached to it and quietly leaves. Some other things in the basement of my spirit shrank so that when I went to check on them, they had diminished so much that huge monstrous things shrank into manageable packages. I’m praying that you will discover this has quietly happened for you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that you call this the shadow work. And I especially like this sentence, “Transformation is possible and doable, each one of us has our own timelines to work with as we deal with and battle with the inner shadows.” A great spin-off of Jack’s post and since it’s tricky with the shared Wise & Shine blog space to see all the comment threads and know who’s referencing our posts, I’ll try to pass this on to him.

    Bless you for talking about how we can do our work and redecorate!! Lovely and inspiring, as always!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Wynne! I’m grateful for your support and passing on to Jack. I did link to his post, so I’m hoping he will receive notification, but WP is a mystery sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, WP is a mystery. I know from experience that when people link to our W&S posts, the author is not notified. If they look at the comments, they’ll see the pingback but they don’t get an email notification.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, I didn’t realize that! Good to know, and thank you for your diligence in passing this along!


  5. This is a wonderful post, Tamara! Who are we once we take all the old stuff out? That’s such a key part of the fear, I think, in terms of getting started. It takes great courage to do this kind of redecorating, but when we become tired enough of the furnishings we’re living with, it’s not an option NOT to. And I loved your quote about accepting ourselves. Really seeing who we are – the good and the bad (not the bad that’s been projected), but still recognizing we’re worthy of love. I also appreciate how you include actionable ways to get through it, and loads of links. If someone is ready to begin their redecorating process, you’ve given them the tools to do so! 🤍

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, thank you for your very thoughtful response! I feel very seen and heard!

      Yes, these are very real fears we have. I had them and after having spoken with others, I discovered they had them too, and that realization stuck with me for years. Only after I had gone through my process did I realize what the way out was. In facing our fears we then discover they’re just a scary facade, with no teeth or power!

      Liked by 1 person

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