Everybody has a dark side. No matter how many times you try to hide your “shadow”, it has its own ways of coming back to life. This article is not only going to help you understand your deepest desires and negative thoughts, but also provide you with several ways to accept them.
1. What does your dark side really mean?
Here is what your dark side (also called “the shadow self”) means according to Jung: “the Shadow Self is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions and embarrassing fears.”
2. What are you supposed to do with it?
The only way to deal with your own darkness is to accept it. Resistance only grows it stronger over time. By suppressing your thoughts, desires and fears, you create a shallow self that you present to the world but it is not essentially you. We live in a time when people put 50 filters on their selfies to make them look perfect. “The persona” is the face you present to the world, your ideal self, the way you want to be perceived by other people.
If you focus on feeding the part of you that strives perfection, you will inevitably fail. This will happen because you can’t develop only the “good” part of yourself, you have to accept both sides of the coin. But how exactly are you going to do that?
3. How can you accept it?
Knowing yourself is the best way to achieve success, happiness and peace in your life. By acknowledging the dark parts of yourself, you open the door to your deepest fears and negative experiences. This is a very rocky road and it’s not a good idea to walk it alone, so I strongly advice you to seek professional help.
Accepting your shadow is the only path to self-love. You can’t love the parts of yourself that are suitable and discard the ones that you don’t want to be associated with. Realise that you need to appreciate and accept every little detail about your personality and appearance.
One of the things I tell my clients is to take a good look in the mirror. Not judging, not trying to change anything. Just observing the person that is looking them straight in the eye. This person is the most important and valuable person in the whole world, because he/she creates their whole reality.
Another technique is to make a list of all the things you don’t like about your personality and try to twist them in a positive way. It’s all about the perspective. Let me give you an example: “I hate myself for getting angry easily and fussing about stupid things” can become “I’m temperamental and sensitive, and sometimes I become easily irritated. I accept and love myself as I am.”
There are a lot of ways to integrate your dark side, but we are all different from each other and unfortunately there’s no such thing as a universal formula to change the way you perceive yourself. Some people spend years in therapy or coaching, while others get results for 1-2 months. It depends on the past wounds, the level of open-mindedness of the client and the persistence to achieve the desired outcome.
4. How do you know if you succeeded?
One of the best ways to tell if there’s any difference is to take a look at your everyday emotions. If you experience negative emotions and you’re conscious about what provoked them, it’s safe to say that you are aware of your dark side and don’t try to hide it anymore. Another sign of it working is that you don’t fall into the old negative patterns that often and even if you do, you know exactly how to get out of them in a shorter period of time then before.
Every human being is different and results may vary. Nevertheless, there is one thing in common: when you accept your dark side, you feel better about yourself, your self-confidence is improved and you change your perspective towards life. The moment you realise that life is neither good, nor bad, is the moment you start to take responsibility for your own actions and accept yourself.
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