We all have a dark side. You may hide your dark side so well, even you don’t really know you have it. But facing this ‘shadow’ is very liberating and empowering. As we come into the darkest time of year, face the unmentionable and truly discover yourself.
Here we look at:
- Facing doesn’t mean condoning
WHAT IS YOUR DARK SIDE
It’s made up of all the things you repress about yourself. Probably this mostly consists of feelings you’ve been taught to be ashamed of, such as jealousy or maybe anger. It will also consist of good things about yourself – maybe even fabulous things – that you’re for some reason afraid of.
For instance, you may have some amazing talent but because you’ve been told not to show off or make other people feel inferior, or to be conceited etc. you may repress some wonderful attributes.
Almost definitely you will have been taught that it’s wicked to have ‘bad thoughts’ and that if people find out about these you’ll be despised or punished. This is very damaging to self-esteem and takes up a lot of mental energy, as you instinctively conceal some parts of you – even from yourself.
However, facing your dark side means you stop hiding and pretending, realising it’s your flaws that make you human. It also means also facing the glowing darkness of the talents you hide. In essence, facing your dark side means confronting and overcoming your deepest fears. It’s one of the greatest quests you can undertake.
FACING DOESN’T MEAN CONDONING
There are sure to be some things about you which are really awful. You may not believe this, but everyone is the same, and everyone is hiding something – even the kindest, sweetest person (or perhaps especially the sweetest, because they may be hiding even more!)
Most of us are hypocrites. Worse than that, we hide things we’re ashamed of even from ourselves. But if you’re eaten up with envy, if you feel murderous hatred or you’re seething with anger, well, join the human race!
It’s fine to face your feelings. It’s good to accept them. Love yourself, for your vulnerable, imperfect humanity. This does not mean you condone all the harmful things about yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re really going to kill someone, or give in to rage, or let yourself be controlled by envy. It just means you say to yourself ‘Yes, I am like that. I totally accept and love my flawed self. I also choose not to express these parts. I choose instead to develop my higher being, and my talents.’
FACING YOUR DARK SIDE IS EMPOWERING
Probably you spend more energy than you even begin to realise on repressing parts of you that you hate. But once you realise that you’re ‘okay’ even with all of this going on, it’s an amazing sensation. You will see that at last you are free, that you have nothing to feel bad about, or to hide.
Of course this doesn’t mean you want to tell the world about your dark side. It is good to be able to share it in group counselling, and find that everyone, far from despising you, actually respects you. But even if you decide to be honest only with yourself and find that the sky does not fall down as a consequence, you’ll feel great.
The energy that you liberate may surprise you. It’s easy to underestimate the toll it takes on you if you’re lying to yourself. As if by magic, facing your dark side opens your eyes to a whole range of wonderful things.
FACE YOUR GLOWING SHADOW
It can be just as hard to open up to the things you’re good at. This may sound strange at first, but owning a major talent can be scary for several reasons.
If you’re really talented it can isolate you. People could feel intimidated. They may criticise or attack. Or you may feel mean for denting their self-esteem by your obvious abilities.
If you are just rather good at something and want to learn, if you’re really subject to negative programming you may repress this, too. Maybe people will ridicule you, or put you down, clipping your wings before you’ve got off the ground.
All of these can be real issues, it’s true. But they are outweighed by the benefits. These include fulfilment, being able to follow your path and grow as a person. In the end you attract more genuine, deep friends by emerging like a butterfly from a chrysallis and being your beautiful, imperfect, shadowy self.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We have looked at what your dark side consists of, that facing doesn’t mean condoning, how it can be empowering and facing your glowing shadow. All of this requires a little self-analysis and a lot of courage. Facing your shadow can be psychologically difficult and may make you anxious – but don’t worry. Our Readers, with their deep insight and empathy are here to help, so don’t struggle on your own. Discuss your issues with one of our experts and emerge into a new ‘you’ today.
PUBLISHED: 09 October 2017