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What are shadow work journal prompts?

Shadow work journal prompts are prompts that help you discover your hidden traumas, behavior, self discovery and deep seeded pain.

Want to work on the parts of your personality that have been hurt? Want to clear any blockages preventing you from being your most authentic self?

This list of shadow work prompts can help you start to heal your inner child and move your forward into the best most successful version of yourself.


shadow work prompts

What is shadow work?

Shadow work is not as eerie as it sounds. Shadow work is helping yourself heal from the dark things that may have happened to you.

Shadow work is embracing your shadow. The part of you that you don’t want to come into the light. 

Shadow work is that part of yourself that you want to hide away from in the shadows.

Shadow work may be needed for something that happened to you or even for something that you did.

Your shadow side is a side of you that you don’t want to look at. That part of you that you don’t want to look at in full light. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s definitely worth it.


Before starting any shadow work (or any type of spiritual work), set an intention. What is your intention for the shadow work? 

Set your intention before you begin. Your intention is powerful.


When you do shadow work, it can help you to become the best version of yourself. Whether you want to attract a specific person or any healthy relationship, the best way is to get yourself mentally healthy.

Shadow work helps you to have a healthier relationship with yourself, your family, and romantic relationships.

This list of prompts can help you do shadow work.

Here are some shadow work prompts for relationships:

  • What was your worst relationship?
  • How did that relationship make you feel?
  • What are my toxic relationship traits?
  • What did you do in the relationship to cause problems?
  • What did you allow that person to do to you, that you did not deserve?
  • How can you forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be treated badly?
  • How can you forgive the other person for hurting you?
  • Are there any negative patterns in your relationships that you have that are repeating?
  • What red flags in relationships did you ignore in the past?
  • Why do you think you ignored those red flags? What were you looking for that made you stay?
  • What makes you feel jealousy? 
  • Where do you think that comes from?
  • Do you or did you date and or marry individuals who you thought could fill the parts your parents couldn’t give you?
  • Did you date and or marry someone that would punish you the same way your parents punished you?
  • Why did/do you believe that you deserve that?


journal prompts for shadow work

You can make a list of the things that trigger negative emotions. 

Then, you can make a list to work through it and check things off of your list. Who doesn’t love to check off things on a list, right?

What is an emotional trigger? A Trigger is something that triggers an emotional reaction in you.

An emotional trigger could be a person, sound, it could be a smell, it could be an image, it could be almost anything. 

When you have that fight or flight reaction to something, your heart starts racing, your mind starts racing, or you start to sweat, it’s a trigger. Once you notice an emotional trigger, you can add it to your shadow work list. 


I talk a lot about raising your vibration and being happy, and being happy is something we all want in life. 

However, if you continue to ignore what’s happening in the shadows, they may come to light when you don’t want them to. 

Not only that, it’s tough to operate as your true authentic self if you are burying hurts and inner wounds.

I’ve always been a runner. When something goes off the rails, I run. I don’t just run a little bit, I usually go half way across the globe for long periods of time. I’m talking about months and or years. 

That behavior was not really sustainable, and once I started to embrace the shadows and I started using shadow work prompts for healing, I no longer felt the need to run.

When you acknowledge the negative and the sadness, you can work through it and get past it.

My life has gotten exponentially better since I started the shadow work, and I feel it’s important to share some deep shadow work prompts for the collective.


This can be really difficult, and when you are triggered, it may not be the time to start asking yourself the hard questions. 

You may want to wait until you have overcome the trigger (when the moment has passed). Then, the right time to start asking questions is as soon as you can.

Or, you may want to ask the question while you are in the middle of the trigger so that you can get a true and raw answer to your question.

Here’s an example of a string of questions you can ask yourself:

Why is that triggering to me? “Because it hurts.” Why does it hurt? “Because I’m afraid to be alone.” Why are you afraid to be alone? “Because he won’t come back.” Why won’t he come back? “Because he doesn’t love me.” Why doesn’t he love you? “Because I’m unlovable.”

And there it is the real reason, “because I’m unlovable,” then the next question would be “Why are you unlovable?” and keep going deeper to uncover the layers of your onion. 

The above questions can be used to journal prompt shadow work.

When you look at those questions, most of your answers probably won’t be something your rational mind would believe, but your subconscious believes them. You probably didn’t even realize you thought those things about yourself.


  • Affirmations – Acknowledge all of those negative beliefs and replace them with positive ones.
  • EFT Tapping – Write a script using the exact answers to your questions and at the end say, “and I completely love and accept myself.”
  • Shadow work journaling prompts – you can begin your healing journey by exposing your negative emotion through journaling.
  • Therapy – Talk your negative beliefs through with a therapist you can trust


Beginner Shadow Work Prompts

You may think that you can remember things, but in reality, we forget. 

We forget a lot of things. If you take notes when something emotionally triggers you, you won’t forget.

Notes will also help you to see your patterns. Patterns like, “What triggers me, and then how do I behave?” 

For example, when someone is a little bit critical of you, what do you do? Do you fly off the handle, do you get defensive? What is the pattern?

Even the bad things that have happened to you make you who you are. You can come out on the other side of those things a better and stronger person.

Shadow work isn’t always rainbows, but you come out on the other side an even better version of yourself once you get through it.


As a beginner, please don’t start healing the worst thing that ever happened to you.

Start out small. Choose something that happened in your childhood that bothers you. Bothers you, not traumatizes you to your very soul. 

Those immense types of traumas are best worked out with a professional.

Sometimes on our shadow work journey, it gets darkest before the dawn. Unfortunately, things can get worse before they get better.

We have professionals help us with everything else, right? If we have a broken bone, we go to a doctor. If we have a cavity, we go to a dentist. 

If you have an emotional wound, there is no shame in seeing a therapist. Instead, think of it as a luxury.

If you allow a cavity to fester, your tooth will rot. It’s the same thing with emotional trauma. A professional can help you heal your inner wounds.

However, there is so much you can do on your own when you choose to embark on a shadow work journey.


  • In what way do I most often hold myself back?
  • What do I say when someone gives me a compliment? 
  • Do I say thank you, or put myself down?
  • How do I feel today?
  • If I could ask the person who hurt me one thing, what would it be?
  • What traits do I see in others that I wish I had and why?
  • What is a positive outcome of a negative experience that I had?
  • I release all negative energy worry about __________________.
  • Who do you want to be and why?
  • Why aren’t you that person now?


example of shadow work

A shadow work journal is a great place to keep all of your shadow work in one place. You can keep a running list on your phone, a notebook, or an app. 

Something private that makes you feel safe would be the perfect shadow work journal.

You can make it pretty if that helps you want to work with it. Anything that can help you enjoy the experience can be helpful. So if a pretty journal does that, then go for it.


If these don’t “stick” right away, repeat as necessary. Take your time working through them.

Even if you do only one per day and spend some time digging deep and writing a few paragraphs about it would be in your best interest for healing.

  • How do you see yourself? How do you really see yourself? What do you like best about yourself? What do you like least of those things?
  • What have I done in the past that I am most ashamed of?
  • What has happened to me in my life that I am most ashamed of?
  • What is something I feel that no one understands about me?
  • What are my pet peeves? Why do those things bother me?
  • Who has wronged me the most times? (Write a letter to them explaining everything you feel about how they hurt you, then let it go.)
  • Write yourself an apology letter. I’m so sorry for…
  • Write an apology letter to someone who has passed, tell them something you are sorry for that you did to them and that you love them, then forgive yourself.
  • What is something I don’t forgive myself for allowing to happen? (Write it down, then write a letter to yourself apologizing for it, then forgive yourself and let it go.)
  • What are some negative thoughts I have about myself? How would I feel if someone I loved said those things about themselves?


Think of a time that you were hurt as a child. Close your eyes and picture the scene. Now picture who you are now, hugging and loving yourself as a child. 

You can give your inner child exactly what they needed back then. Say what your inner child needed to hear, and imagine doing what your inner child needed to be done.

“As traumatized children, we always dreamed someone would come and save us. We never dreamed that it would, in fact, be ourselves as adults.”

Alice Little


We all have childhood trauma in one way or another. No matter how hard our parents may (or may not) have tried.

Childhood trauma is something you can move forward from using shadow work.

“You can spend a lifetime trying to recover from a few minutes of your childhood.”



Examples Of Toxic Traits:

  • Jealousy
  • Manipulation
  • Taking advantage of people
  • Overinflated sense of self
  • Not keeping a promise
  • Self-harm
  • Negativity

If you can recognize the toxic traits you have in your life, you are halfway to healing them. 

What are some toxic traits that you have? Everyone has them. Make a list and resign yourself to change them. Not only do they hurt other people, but they hurt you


  • What toxic traits do you recognize in your parents?
  • How did their toxic traits affect you?
  • How do you feel about those traits now? Do they still affect you?
  • Do you see any of those traits in yourself?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • Why is that?
  • What makes you feel jealousy and why do you think that is?
  • What is something that people complain about you doing?
  • Is that really something on your part, or is it their problem?
  • If it is something on your part, how can you embrace it and then turn it into a positive instead of a toxic trait?


Shadow Work Prompts For Healing

Once you are done with your shadow work session for the day, you may be feeling drained. Personal growth isn’t always easy.

Shadow work is never fully done, but it does get much easier. 

Be gentle with yourself, rest, drink water, curl up in the fetal position with some soothing music. Do whatever it takes to enjoy some inner peace.

Take as much time as you need before you delve in for more. The more time you spend on it, the quicker you can get through it. But as I mentioned earlier, things can get worse before they get better.

Give yourself enough time, days off of work, and taking some time to be alone to process some of the work you have done can be helpful in your healing journey.


As most humans, I had a lot of trauma as a child, and someone told me something that stuck with me, and it helped me process my trauma faster.

She said, “high-risk equals high reward” and “When you chose to come into that body, you knew what you were getting into.” I believe she is right. I believe I knew who my parents were and what I was getting into, but I chose anyway because it was something I needed to overcome to grow as a person.

I never could get behind the “God chooses your parent for you” concept because why would He choose parents that ruin their kids? That makes no sense.

Me choosing my parents makes a lot more sense to me. I chose parents that were “high risk,” and the things that I would have to overcome could offer me a “high reward.” It’s a gamble, and I believe it paid off.

That made sense to me, does it make sense to you too?

Hearing that I chose my parents helped me be more forgiving and helped me work through my shadows.

I hope this was helpful to you. I know that shadow work in and of itself is emotionally triggering, but the opposite of a shadow is a glow. Once you shine the light on your shadow and heal those parts of yourself, you can glow.


shadow work prompts for healing

shadow work journal prompts that are good for the soul