You can connect with your shadow selves in various ways: internal dialog, writing, talking out loud, or even through movement.

To begin, ensure you are in a safe space where you won’t be interrupted. Verbally, in writing, or in your mind, ask who wants to speak right now. Then, wait for this particular self to respond. Often it’s helpful to give these characters names—you can start by asking “Who are you?” or “What’s your name?” At first, it may not be obvious how to distinguish between yourself answering, as opposed to a shadow self, but if you push through the confusion, you will feel a distinctive feeling, as if you’re replying from a different “you”.

After your shadow speaks, you can respond to them, and hold a conversation between the two sides. This might feel weird or awkward at first, and that’s quite normal. Remember, this is a safe space, and you can fully express all parts of you here, just like in therapy. Some of what you discover in these sessions may scare or even disgust you, which can be hard to tolerate. Allowing yourself to feel any emotions that arise from connecting with these different parts of you can be a unique opportunity to integrate these parts instead of having them dictate your behavior.

Once you have a conversation going, this is your chance to ask them questions, get to know them, and express to them what’s on your mind. Some questions you can try are:

Another way to work with your inner selves is to choose a particular topic on which you are conflicted, and set a timer for thirty seconds, a minute, or more. First, talk from one point of view. When the timer expires, reset it and let one of your inner selves speak their mind. This structured approach ensures all sides are heard and can facilitate better communication.

The more your selves feel that you are taking them into consideration, and the more you can reach agreements with them, the less power they will have over you. This will allow you to navigate your inner landscape with greater ease.

Your inner selves are always available to you whenever you need to communicate with them. It’s important that you follow through on your agreements, and adjust them as needed. Periodically, check in on your inner selves to see how they are doing, and whether they need anything.