130+ Shadow Work Journal Prompts

Everyone has both light and dark sides to their personality, but we naturally want to show the world only the best parts of ourselves, so we prefer to hide the parts of ourselves that we are less confident in.

The unprocessed, unconscious feelings, thoughts, and experiences we have within us are referred to as the “shadow self.”

It doesn’t relate to the ominous, shadowy figure lurking inside us; instead, it references the reality that we process and cling to these emotions and ideas because they are accompanied by pain, shame, or dread.

Shadow Work Journal Prompts

What shadow work is all about is recognizing the aspects of ourselves that we have hidden, rejected, or denied. In order to integrate or heal these hidden aspects of ourselves and become our most full selves, the objective is to become aware of them.

You will get a lot of understanding about who you are and what has molded you as a person up to this point by completing these shadow work tasks.

In addition, it enables you to mend past wounds and let go of the baggage and negative thought patterns that have prevented you from achieving success, joy, and even love.

What feelings or actions were classified as “bad” or forbidden when you were a child?

If you were emotional, how would your parents react? How did you feel after that?

What aspects or facets of who you are, did you have to conceal to find acceptance and love?

What would you say or do if the young version of you were in front of you right now?

What do they require to be heard, seen, and safe?

What traits and actions did your family or other authority figures laud or appreciate the most when you were growing up? Did you believe you met those requirements?

When did you, as a youngster, feel unsafe? Do those circumstances still make you feel uneasy? What might make you feel secure now?

What needs did you not have as a child? How can you currently carry them out?

What information does your inner child need to hear right now to believe they are deserving of unconditional love?

What characteristics did you have as a youngster that you wish you still had as an adult?

Have you imitated your parents’ unfavorable traits or tendencies out of devotion or a desire to win their love? How would your relationship be affected if you stopped that behavior? What should you say to your inner kid to help them feel secure letting out this bad behavior?

What negative recurring patterns exist in your life?

When and where do you believe it began?

Did you pick it up anywhere else? If so, how did they learn it, in your opinion?

What feelings or circumstances set off this pattern?

What (false) advantages do you believe this pattern will bring you?

How does this behavior hurt you?

Could you accept that you contributed to or created this pattern? Would you be able to pardon the ones that taught you this?

If you ended this pattern, how could your life change?

How could you alter your behavior pattern or prevent your trigger?

What do you fear others will condemn you for? Do you ever let fear prevent you from pursuing your passions?

Have you ever made a mistake that you hold yourself accountable for too harshly? What are the things you need to forget about?

What does failure mean to you? What did you determine your prior failures to say about you? How can you redefine failure so that you may have more love and compassion for yourself?

Recall a moment when you held back from pursuing a desire. What were you worried would happen if you failed? How did acting tiny keep you safe (what were you scared would happen if you were successful)?

Consider a person you wish you had what they had. Why do you believe you don’t? Is it feasible that you might have that, too, if you adopted a different perspective and took the appropriate actions?

In what circumstances do you behave the worst? What part of you wants to be protected when you lash out?

Do you prioritize your needs, or do you take care of everyone else while neglecting your own needs? What do you fear would occur if you prioritize yourself?

Do you allow someone to transgress certain boundaries repeatedly? In that case, why do you believe it is? What would occur if you refused to cross your boundaries?

Do you have any relationships where you are aware that the other person is causing more harm than good? What do you fear might occur if you broke up with this person? Do you feel unworthy of a better relationship for any particular reason?

What would you want to say to someone if they had profoundly harmed you? Write down your feelings and ideas. Identify whether you are prepared to let go of your emotional relationship with them and, if not, why not?

What emotions do you find difficult to feel or witness others feel? Who or what taught you that expressing that feeling wasn’t a good idea?

Do you feel secure sharing your thoughts or disagreeing with people? Why?

Do you ever feel unsure about your ability to make the best decision or manage a situation? Why not? What would you say if you could provide compassion and grace to yourself in those circumstances?

Do your accomplishments and personal worth go hand in hand? Would you still be deserving of happiness if you didn’t accomplish the goals that society or your parents believe you should have? If not, why not?

Do you frequently compare yourself to someone and come up short? Why do you use them as a yardstick for success, worth, or value?

What quality do you admire in others that you wish you possessed? Is it tough to develop this quality inside yourself?

Is it okay to accept yourself as the finest version of yourself, warts and all? How would you feel if you never made comparisons to other people?

How do you respond when confronted with difficult circumstances? Do you have faith in your ability to handle things, or do you feel helpless? Are you really vulnerable, or is it simply how you feel?

How could you support yourself if you considered occasions when you needed someone to help you, but they didn’t?

Who or what do you blame when you reflect on the things that have gone wrong in your life? Are you taking a productive or destructive stance?

When have you ceded control by placing the blame for your actions or inaction on another person?

When have you criticized yourself excessively? What would be a more sympathetic reaction?

What do you think of this assertion: I deserve to be happy no matter what I’ve accomplished or committed mistakes? 

Are you at ease seeking assistance? How do you react when someone asks you for assistance?

Do you believe that society or someone doesn’t comprehend you? Instead, how would you choose to be viewed?

Do you believe you deserve praise when you receive it or not?

Do you sense the need for outside approval when you don’t receive praise?

What is your inner critic most critical of you? Do you believe the criticism is fair or useful? Does anyone else have that voice? What would the tone of a compassionate inner dialogue be?

Has something that happened in the past—possibly a failure or a cruel remark—severely damaged your confidence? Could you take a closer look at that scenario in an altered vision now?

Do you ever make snap decisions in response to circumstances that you subsequently regret? Do your responses resemble someone else’s conduct that you have observed? What would be a more suitable response?

What instance from your childhood do you recall feeling mistreated? What was your response? Has this continued to affect you as an adult? How?

Consider a situation in which you felt deceived. If someone had betrayed your confidence, what would you say to them?

Describe an instance when you felt let down by a person you had previously admired.

Identify one quality in other individuals that you wish you possessed. Why do you not already possess this quality?

Do you frequently catch yourself second-guessing what you’ve said or done? What often causes this?

What were the fundamental beliefs of your parents or guardians when you were growing up? Do you still believe these, or have they changed? How so?

What do you consider to be your fundamental human values? What holds the biggest significance for you? What do you feel morally strongly about?

What usually makes you envious? Why do you suppose that is?

What are the initial indications that your mental health is deteriorating?

When do you criticize yourself the most? Why? What origin do you suppose this has? Why do you put so much strain on yourself? Why are you so hesitant to show yourself any compassion?

When you’re upset, how do you respond? Are these like other folks who have been in your life since you were a little child? How do you feel?

What sets you off? Are you able to pinpoint its source?

What do you think of failure? What does failure mean to you? What does it do to you? Do you worry about it? How could this be? How did your guardians or parents handle failure?

In what circumstances do you feel inadequate or unworthy? Why do you suppose that is?

How do you get along with your siblings and/or parents? What changed when you were a child? Why do you suppose that is?

What characteristics of your parents or guardians do you perceive in yourself today? When did they start to show themselves?

What negative characteristics have you noticed in your parents? What emotions did you experience when you realized that your parents weren’t special? Do you personally exhibit these qualities?

What characteristics make you toxic? What kind of appearance do these have? How do you transfer these to other people?

What areas of who you are would you wish to develop? Why? Has someone ever suggested that you should do anything in the past? If so, how did you feel as a result?

How do you feel about the person you are? Why?

How frequently do you extend yourself grace? What types of things do you believe you deserve a pardon for? Why is that so?

Describe an instance when you erred and required forgiveness. Did you make an apology request? Did you offer apologies? How did things turn out?

Do you tend to create unhealthy or obsessive relationships easily? Why do you believe this could be the case? For example, do you fear rejection, change, or abandonment? Alternatively, do you have trouble making emotional connections, have trouble making commitments, or grow restless after spending a particular length of time in one place? What origin do you suppose this has?

How do you pass the time when you’re bored? What makes you happy? What self-care techniques do you frequently employ?

What unpleasant feelings do you want to avoid? How could this be?

Which unfavorable feelings can you genuinely sit with without feeling uncomfortable? How could this be?

Describe a person you’ve never been able to forgive. What transpired, and why couldn’t you let them go? Was it justified? What long-term effects has this incident had on you? Do you believe that you could now forgive them? What did you do to get beyond this?

How do you deal with the trauma from your past? How does it make you feel?

How did you handle emotions when you were a kid, a teen, and a young adult? How do you now deal with unpleasant feelings? Has anything changed since then?

How are restrictions imposed? How does it make you feel when someone crosses them? What’s your response?

What is the largest self-deception you regularly engage in? Why?

What false beliefs have you observed in your harbor? Can you recall the beginning of these?

What stereotypes about femininity do you hold? Why do you suppose that is? From where did they originate?

What stereotypes about masculinity do you hold? From where did these originate?

What do you understand by the phrase “Shadow Work”?

What three major objectives do you hope to accomplish via your shadowing?

Did you have any childhood heroes? Who inspired you, and why?

How did you learn to manage your emotions as a child?

How do you now handle your negative emotions?

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done to another person?

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done to yourself?

How have you improved since you caused harm to someone else?

How do you intend to proceed after suffering harm?

What is the largest promise that someone has broken to you? What did it do to you? Why?

Which of your major self-promises have you broken? Why? How do you feel about that?

Have you ever failed to keep a commitment to another person? Why?

Is there anything in your life that you’re hiding from when you truly think about it?

What do you often tell yourself is a lie about?

What lies do you tell other people? Why?

How large a lie have you ever told, and why?

Has your heart ever been torn apart? Describe this moment in your life in writing.

Have you ever hurt another person’s feelings? Was it deliberate or unintentional? About this, write.

Do you ever find yourself attempting to protect yourself by manipulating others?

What was a question you had as a kid but never really got an answer to? Do you already know the response?

What is anything you’ve wanted to confront someone about in the past? Why have you not? Are you going to? Why?

What do you believe the purpose of life to be?

What was the topic of your most recent disagreement? Was it sorted out?

What do you think about the conflict? Why do you suppose that is?

Do you ever have bodily repercussions from emotions? About them, write. What causes this, in your opinion?

What is your preferred method of self-care? Describe the ideal day for self-care.

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