Your shadow self is the sides of yourself that you keep hidden from most people. In essence it is often your truth of who you are. The reason this is being hidden is because it is painful to look at aspects in ourselves that we do not like or are ashamed of. This is a very big misconception.
The cause of the shadow self is the false belief that we must be perfect and if we are not we are bad people and feel shameful. How can we feel ashamed by our shadow selves when they are all just a result of our life experiences?
As you begin your spiritual journey you will undoubtedly start to look at your shadow self. By practicing self awareness you can start to become aware of the shadow self and begin to journal about it. When you first start doing this you may feel some judgment or shame around it. In the past you may have denied the shadow or not paid attention to it. It likes to operate from the subconscious mind, which is the reactive mind. The reason it is stored in the reactive, or subconscious mind is because something in your life has happened that caused you pain and your brain automatically stores painful memories in the subconscious mind so it can help you in the future by reacting. As you practice self awareness and start to notice where you are having strong reactions. It is in this noticing that great changes take place. Each time you remember a past painful memory, you move it from the subconscious, where it is constantly reacting, to the conscious, where things are much more understood and thought out.
In learning this little thing you can release your judgement and shame because now you understand that your life experiences are causing your reactions in your day to day life. All those outbursts and things that you do that you really want to change, but somehow fail to, that have caused you to be judgmental of yourself, were only happening because they were trying to prevent you from further pain. The subconscious mind store all of your painful life experiences and your subconscious mind is very quick to react to prevent further offenses.
Journaling daily and having gratitude for yourself for noticing areas that need improvement is the most powerful change you will ever make. When you notice, things move, they actually move to the conscious mind. Little by little you empty out that reactive subconscious and you become much more mindful and begin to love yourself in a whole new way.
Check out my website at Your pain is my pain and read the blog titled, Knowing Yourself.