The social unconscious sometimes shows up as a part of the self in Shadow Work. For example, I grew up in a church with an all-male clergy. As an adult, when I wanted to explore spiritual leadership, I found I had an inner tape that said, "You can't be a spiritual leader because you're female." To the best of my knowledge, I'd never heard that spoken openly by anyone I knew, but I "heard" it nonetheless, from the church, most likely through its teachings and general attitudes.

I would even go so far as to say that doing emotional work is in shadow for our culture as a whole. Members of my parents' generation believed that emotional work was indicated only for those with serious mental health problems, and many people still believe that. The mainstream view seems to support taking prescription drugs to alter behaviour, rather than addressing the source of that behavior within the mind.

Many of us who do Shadow Work see our emotional work as a life path that makes us happier people who are more connected with ourselves and our loved ones, in more control of our lives and more at peace, and more able to achieve our personal goals.

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