The “shadow self” is the parts of ourselves that have been pushed down to the unconscious — the parts that we’re insecure about, ashamed of, or frustrated with and therefore repress.
The concept of the shadow self is based on the notion that we figuratively bury those pieces of personality that we fear would not be welcomed, accepted, or loved by others; therefore, we keep them in the “shadows.” In short, our shadow selves are the versions of ourselves that we do not show society.
So what is shadow work? This is the practice of loving what is, and setting the shame and judgements free, so that we can be our true selves.
As Victor Hugo famously said, “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves”.