Hiding in the Shadows: Embracing Your Shadow Self

Hiding in the Shadows: Embracing Your Shadow Self

Everyone has parts of themselves that we like to keep hidden in the shadows.  We fear it, but it’s something we should be embraced.  However, these “negative” pieces of ourselves that we try to push away make up our shadow self. Unlike Peter Pan’s shadow, our shadow isn’t something we can separate from.

What is the Shadow Self?

Carl Jung, a famous Swiss psychiatrist, created the concept of the “shadow” as a way to describe the parts of ourselves that we deem as “negative”, and therefore, try to repress and reject. We often reject these traits because they don’t align with the projection of our authentic
selves. After all, if you’re projecting, you’re not really being authentic, are you?

What if I don’t have a Shadow Self?

There are those who do not think they have a shadow. For some people, it’s easy to think that you are a perfectly lovable individual who has no qualities they are trying to reject. Here, we see these individuals have distanced themselves so far from the undesirable qualities that they have become blind to them.

Just as your physical body must have a shadow, so does your emotional and spiritual self. As we go through life we are constantly given “rules” to live by, creating a mold for a “model citizen”, given to us by parents, teachers, and society. If we don’t fit into these “rules”, we develop
a fear of ourselves and try to change who we are to fit the mold. The longer we go denying who we are, the more it negatively impacts our mental health and general wellbeing.

Can’t I just ignore my Shadow Self?

While you technically can ignore your shadow, it’s always going to be there. By ignoring it, we continue to dive deeper into the rejection of ourselves and this can lead to mental illness, chronic illness, low self-esteem, and so much more.

When we ignore our Shadow Self, we give in to our limiting beliefs which stunt our potential. We also end up giving power to “negative” emotions by seeing these parts of ourselves as something we should ignore. If you try to ignore your Shadow Self, you are reaffirming that these parts of
you are “weak” or “wrong”, but that is not the case!

How can I embrace my Shadow Self?

Through a series of self-reflection activities (a.k.a. Shadow Work) you can learn how to see, and yes, even care for your Shadow Self. The first step to embracing your shadow is by getting curious! Think about your triggers, what situations make you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps there is a
person who you find annoying and irritating. What about that person brings up those emotions? Is it possible you have some of those same traits? As you’re doing this work, try to see patterns. Are there any reoccurring themes?

Mindful meditation & journaling are great for releasing judgment of your Shadow Self and for understanding this side of you. Talk therapy, Sound Baths, Reiki, and various alternative therapies can be beneficial when doing Shadow Work.

Shadow Work isn’t easy! As you’re going through these practices, make sure you’re keeping up with your self-care routine and try using positive affirmations like “I accept all parts of myself” and “I release my insecurities”.

The Takeaway

Your Shadow Self may be hiding in the dark, afraid to be seen, but you have the power to change that. The more we connect with our Shadow Self, we work towards personal development and healing. Empower yourself by embracing your true authentic self, including your shadow!

8 Most Common Cognitive Distortions & How To Overcome Them

8 Most Common Cognitive Distortions & How To Overcome Them

There are 8 most common cognitive distortions that are incredibly common. Most people don’t even know when they’re experiencing them! Odds are, when you’re experiencing a negative thought, cognitive distortions are the culprit! So, what are cognitive distortions?

Cognitive distortions are irrational thought patterns or belief systems that usually distort, or “twist”, our perception of reality in an unfavourable way. These thoughts are automatic and run in our subconscious, thus making it difficult to identify them. They impact our mental and emotional wellbeing. When left unchecked, these negative habitual thinking patterns can lead to anxiety, depression, and unnecessary stress.

Are you ready to understand your cognitive distortions? Continue reading to learn about the most common ones to help you overcome them.

Negative Filtering 

“I know everyone said I did a great job with the presentation, but I know I made a mistake and could have done better.”

Someone experiencing negative filtering, or mental filtering, will magnify all negative details and ignore or minimize the positive details. This individual may dismiss a positive experience as a “fluke” or “luck”. Where there is dark, there must be light! On the other end of the filtering spectrum there are those who manage to see the good in everything, and everyone. While CBT techniques won’t make you a “positive thinker”
overnight, it will help you challenge those negative thoughts and try to replace them with positive ones. Try challenging negative filtering by starting a gratitude journal, or reflecting on something positive that you may have overlooked. Take time to recognize even the smallest of victories!

Black or White Thinking

“If I don’t get this promotion, I must be bad at my job.”

Black or white thinking is when we experience an “all or nothing” mindset, there is no grey area. Although this kind of thinking can make you feel certain of some things, which has its benefits, it can also blind you to other possibilities. Once you know something is certain, you filter out other options.

Try to reframe your thoughts in a way that allows for other possibilities. Avoid using words like “always”, “never”, and “every”. Instead, start using words like “sometimes”, or “every once and a while”. You don’t need to have all the answers either! It’s ok to say that you need more time to reflect on things.

“Should/Should Not”

“I shouldn’t be lazy and watching TV, I should be cleaning the house.”

With the “should/should not” mentality, your brain is giving you a set of unrealistic “rules” that should not be broken. When a “rule” is broken, the individual gets down on themselves and resorts to an extreme, not unlike black or white thinking. These statements can also take form of “ought to” and “must”, telling us that we need to follow these “rules” in order to be perfect.

Challenge “should/should not” thinking by asking why you think you should (or should not) do something. Try to get to the root of the “rule” your brain is giving you, and try to reframe that concept into something more


“My date didn’t go well, so I must be unlovable.”

Labeling (also referred to as global labeling and mislabeling) is when an individual generalizes one or more qualities into a negative judgement about themselves or others. Due to this, they view themselves or others though the lens of the label and then filter out any other information that may conflict with that idea. For example, if you think something like “I failed my test, therefore I am a failure”, this is an example of the labeling distortion.

If you can relate to this cognitive distortion, try to journal and meditate on why you rely on these labels. Do these labels bring a benefit? Likely, they do more harm than good. Try to separate the actions from the
person, and do so with compassion. Just because someone did not do well on a test, they are not a failure. There are more to people than labels, try to see other qualities that they have.


“It’s their fault that we didn’t do well on the group project.”

When the blaming distortion takes over, you tend to focus on the other person as the source of your negative feelings and refuse to take responsibility. Alternatively, you may blame yourself for every problem you
encounter- even things that are outside of your control. These thoughts might sound like “It’s my fault you were late to work.” or “She is the reason we failed the presentation.”.

We need to realize that although we may not be able to control what others do, we can control how we react. Practicing meditation helps you be more in the moment. This helps us accept the things that are out of our
control that we can no longer change. We understand that although we cannot change the outcome, we can change how we feel and react.


“What if I call in sick and get fired?”

Catastrophizing is the worst case, “disaster”, mentality. Here, the individual always jumps to disaster, magnifying the outcome based off of a series of “what-ifs”. In this mindset, fear takes control and your brain tells you these horrible stories of “what-ifs” that scare you, causing anxiety and panic attacks. This is connected to our “fight, flight, or freeze” mentality.

Meditation is a great tool for overcoming this cognitive distortion. When we can calm our mind and slow down the never-ending thoughts about of worst-case scenarios, we can reduce stress and make more informed
decisions. One of the best ways to battle catastrophizing is to follow these thoughts. It may be scary, but I guarantee you, the worst-case might not be as bad as you think!

Mind Reading/Fortune Teller

“I don’t think I did well during the interview, I am not going to get that job.”

The mind reader and fortune teller are a lot alike, they both jump to conclusions, not unlike when we catastrophize. Where the mind reader assumes they know what people think, the fortune teller predicts the future by assuming what lies ahead on their path. Both make these assumptions about themselves or others without taking the time to rationally look at the situation.

Think you’re playing the role of the mind reader or fortune teller? Take this opportunity to find evidence that supports and evidence that counters your assumptions. It’s likely that there isn’t enough substantial
evidence to back up your assumptions. It is easy to assume the worst, for both predicting the future as well as assuming how others view us. Fortunately, there often isn’t enough substantial evidence to back up our assumptions.


“My friend cancelled on me last minute, they must not like me.”

Overgeneralization occurs when a person comes to a general conclusion based on a single incident, or a single piece of evidence. Regardless of how many times there has been a positive outcome,
the individual always focuses in on the one negative outcome and assumes they can expect that negative outcome to happen over and over again.

This cognitive distortion can become difficult to challenge and can lead people to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. To avoid this outcome, we need to retrain our brains to focus on the times things went right. For every time something goes wrong, think about other times it went right! Mindful meditation and journaling to prompts like “When have things gone right in the past?” and “What evidence counters this thought” are a great place to start when battling overgeneralization.

Emotional Reasoning

“I feel depressed, therefore I am unlovable”

Those who experience emotional reasoning tend to believe that just because they feel a certain way, that it must be true. Emotions are very powerful and can overrule our rational thoughts
and reasoning at times. With emotional reasoning, an individuals emotions take over their thinking entirely, disregarding all reasoning and logic.

If you’re experiencing this cognitive distortion, try to challenge it by stepping back from the situation and looking at it from a new perspective. If your friend was experiencing this same feeling and thoughts about the situation, how would you guide them? Allow your logical brain to step up and provide some clarity to what is happening.

Hopefully, you have gained a greater understanding of yourself and the cognitive distortions you experience. These sneaky and false thoughts can have lasting negative impacts if left unchecked. Use these tools to become empowered and put an end to cognitive distortions controlling your life.

The 3 Pillars of Empowerment:  What Everyone Ought To Know

The 3 Pillars of Empowerment: What Everyone Ought To Know

As an Empowerment Coach, I’m here to tell you what everyone ought to know about the 3 pillars of empowerment.  If you’re tired of feeling like you’re living life on auto-pilot, or like you’re living life for others, or perhaps just feeling insecure, and having a hard time making decisions (does the question, “what do you want for dinner” scare you?), you may be disempowered.

When we experience a disconnect from ourselves and from life, we are not feeling empowered.  We can become empowered through the 3 pillars of empowerment.  What is empowerment?  Empowerment is being able to take control of your life. When we are empowered, we are more authentic, experience increased self-confidence, live with intention, and feel more aligned.


Humans have been adapting to life by being aware of their surroundings for centuries. So, the first step towards becoming empowered is to hone in on your awareness. We can do this in a variety of ways, like trying mindful meditation, journaling, and cognitive restructuring.

When we take the time to tune in and become more self aware, we become more connected to our values and beliefs. These work as a guiding star that help us become better at making decisions. Our awareness of ourselves and others also helps improve relationships and develop deeper connections. This is the baseline to becoming more empowered.


Mindset matters – and your attitude is at the forefront! Manifestation is powerful, and works in every direction. For example, if you have a negative attitude surrounding a task you have to complete, you’re more likely to notice all the things that go wrong, move at a slower pace, and feel generally angry and irritable. However, if we recognize that the task may not be enjoyable, yet is inevitable, we can focus on shifting our perspective. We can understand that there may be some benefit to this task, or that we may learn something. We can do our best to focus on the positives (no matter how small!) and possibly change how we perceived this task.

Not unlike a self-fulfilling prophecy, we have the power to control more than we think. If we are in a mindset where we think we are going to have a terrible day, our brains will ignore anything positive and reaffirm the negative. Once we see how much power our attitude holds- we are ready to take ACTION.


Once we have improved our awareness, and worked to be mindful of our attitude, we are ready to take action! This final pillar is where we actively take back our power. Continue to use your awareness and mindset to take stock of your life. Where have you been? Where are you now? Where are you going? The possibilities are endless. Tune in to your intuition and take action on your dreams and goals.  As you enter this phase in your empowerment, use this time to make SMART goals and understand that you are free to move at your own pace. Trust yourself, and trust your decisions. You’ve got this!

Now that you have the 3 pillars of Empowerment, you’re ready to take the next step! It’s time to live for yourself and be an inspiration to others. Make the conscious effort to grow and evolve without letting the fear of failure or fear of the unknown tear you down. Allow yourself to be seen and to take up space. You are capable of great things; you just need to be empowered to do so!