Light & Dark
I was asked if I knew that my greatest gifts were also my biggest weaknesses. Huh?
"What do you mean?" I asked back.
She explained that each light side of my personality had a reverse. Creative vs destructive. Inspiring and inspired vs depressed. Bold and adventurous vs afraid and anxious. A life of service vs selfish me me me. I was familiar with Yungian psychology, having worked with a therapist who specialized in it for several years. But it wasn't until that moment that I really understood this whole "shadow" business.
It's always been confusing to me, why I have these sides that seem so incompatible with the other. And I am sure it is confusing for the people in my life, too. I am consistent, until I'm not. Happy, until I'm sad. Bold, until the fear becomes too much. And then everything starts to go in a negative direction. I make mistakes. My brain feels fuzzy. I walk directly into the arms of self destruction, knowing the results all too well.
For a long time, I demonized these darker sides of me. I thought they made me incomplete, bad and someone to be shunned. I didn't necessarily try to hide them, because I simply don't have it in me to play pretend. But they caused great shame and guilt, self loathing on top of the self loathing that was already there.
We all have our own versions of a scarlet letter. The burning secrets inside of our chests that make us feel as if we are wrong. Bad. Unacceptable as we are. And instead of seeing that our so called darkness is just our light in reverse, we believe that the darkness is all there is. At least, it can certainly feel this way when you are depressed. Or anxious. And stuck inside your little self destructive brain.
For me, I have been forced into a period of acceptance. Realizing that there is nothing to hide. That inside of me lives all of the complexities of the human existence. I feel things deeply, maybe more deeply than most. And unbalanced, it can create beautiful highs and painfully low lows. I try to remember that darkness cannot live in the presence of light. But there are the shadows, lingering in the background. Instead of hating them, I can learn how to see their value. The break they provide. A place to rest, protection from too much sun.
Within these shadow parts, lives an opportunity for channeling towards greatness. An addictive personality can be fueled into discipline, creativity and heightened sensitivity. A tendency towards anger can be used to enrich your life with passion. A love for the drama can be transmitted into a nurturing of the quiet. We all have demons, but it is what we choose to do with them that is most interesting.
I will leave you with this quote that I posted on Instagram the other day. I love it so much. The author knows the darkness well and has allowed it to fuel her journey towards the light. She still curses and fucks up, but she is always progressing. Becoming the truest version of who she is meant to be. I wish the same for both you and me.
"Life is beautiful, but it wasn’t created to be a whole experience. It was broken into millions of shattered parts for our exploration. This is why we sometimes see the beauty in the shattered glass, and at other times the grief and rage. My advice for anyone at any time is to listen, listen to that inner voice and stay close to it. “This too shall pass,” is what they say. And eventually it does, and you will realize it was all worth it. In my life I actually remember experiencing ecstasy around these shocks. My higher self does not want a boring life. Only my mechanics or what some people call “ego” wants it all to be easy. My soul is interested in challenge and loss. My soul is interested in heartache and fear. Get interested in what is breaking you, look closely, it is in the center of these things that your grace can be found.” - Biet Simkins