Everybody has within themselves the element of duplicity. There’s nothing scarier than facing the deepest realms of our self, but how can you completely and wholeheartedly accept who you are if there are sides of yourself that you’re too afraid to explore?
Every story has a hero and a villain, and in your story you’re both. All the bright aspects and all the dark aspects of your self orchestrate the melody of your song, but in order to truly hear this song you have to learn to listen… To listen not only to what you want, but also to what you’re afraid of. Your fears and your darkness are not detached from you, do not disregard them… Analyze them, internalize them. The shadow is always there and it will always be, but the shadow can look big or it can look small depending on the angle from which the light caresses you. What is the size of your shadow?
Famous psychiatrist Carl Jung described the dark side of a person as their “shadow” which contained all of the things society teaches us to repress: greed, anger, hatred, fear, our raw sexuality, and our primitive side. Jung believed that this latent energy is present in all of us, in many instances forming a strong source of creative energy. It’s really the same as the Japanese principle of Yin and Yang: that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, for without darkness there cannot be light.
By getting to know your dark side you can know yourself better and become a better, more authentic version of yourself. This doesn’t mean acting on your darkest instincts, but rather acknowledge your feelings and work through them, instead of pretending they don’t exist. Taking a deeper look at what makes us uncomfortable and why is a useful tool for self development.
That being said, stay true to yourself, pay attention to your instincts, feelings and personal tastes. Maybe you don’t like the same things others do, and that’s okay. We cannot fix that which we do not understand, after all. Ensure that you adopt an analytical, nonjudgmental and compassionate attitude toward yourself, rather than playing the prosecutor and judge which hinders your ability to embrace your shadow self fully.
Ways that can help you to embrace your shadow self:
- Ask the people close to you what they feel your greatest personality flaws are
- Art and writing
- Practicing meditation
- Developing self awareness