What is the one area in your life that you consistently struggle with? You know the thing that you keep trying improve on, but end up falling back into old habits and patterns. On one shoulder there’s a little devil telling you be selfish and brash, and on the other, the voice of reason that keeps trying to guide you in the healthy and moral direction. Maybe this emerges when you’ve been trying to be a better leader, have more emotional stability, be more productive on the job, or be a better spouse or parent. Whatever it is, making qualified and lasting change doesn’t always come easy. It takes some serious self-awareness and acknowledgement of weaknesses and faults. I can think of numerous situations where I have made great progress only to end up back where I started. For me it resorts to letting my ego get in the way of long-term significance. Right when I think all of my blind spots have been revealed, I get hit upside the head with an unnecessary bout of unhealthy behavior and regretful decision making. Fortunately, in the long-run, these mishaps lead to greater self awareness. Real personal growth comes from these moments of distress and adversity. These are the exact situations that allow us to become more conscious and discerning when interacting with others. It’s important to start dealing with these moments of discouragement and mishap more effectively, and learning how we can limit this “darkside” so it doesn’t show itself in times of consequence. Here is a system for overcoming and dealing with your “darkside.”
Become of aware of negative beliefs and emotions
Learn to examine your belief system and get to the root of your shadow. What are you afraid of? What are your insecurities? What are the distorted thoughts that keep you consumed in darkness? Developing this awareness will allow you to become more conscious of why your making decisions and more clear headed when emotions area on high.
Forgive yourself for having a darkside
Anger, stress, fear, and shame are natural emotions. In fact we are in trouble without them. If I don’t have the capacity to feel ashamed I just might do some pretty heinous things. Recognize you will be dealing with this side of yourself as you grow into a more compassionate, caring, and whole person. If you can’t forgive yourself when mistakes occur you will be riddled with guilt and shame, which will show itself as further resistance and strife.
Take 100% responsibility for your feelings and actions
This may be the most important step in the process. When we have a bad attitude, fall back into old patterns, or make a mistake, it is up to us to make the shift from blaming others to taking control by empowering ourselves. No one else is responsible for our feelings and behavior. Don’t blame others or take it out on them. You have a choice in how to respond and deal with your ugly moments. This is what allows you to begin embracing and cultivating more light and positivity as well.
Start filling yourself with light
As you encounter and defeat your darkside, it’s time to fill yourself up with light, and develop your natural authentic peaceful state. After you have conquered your fears, let go of the past, and moved beyond your old comfort zones, you can begin to transform yourself, others, and the world around you. When you fill yourself up with positive energy, you will be more likely to fill up others. This can be done by engaging in life through using your strengths, doing things you enjoy, and being grateful for what you have. Find meaning through acts of kindness, giving back, and helping others grow. Emanate as much light as you can and don’t get stuck in the dark. As you work on yourself and begin to notice the patterns that keep you stuck and dispirited, you can start to move beyond the conditioning that holds you back. The steps described above are not necessarily linear. You will experience things that knock you down a few pegs and you have to work your way back up. No matter how much positivity we fill ourselves with we all have a darkside that emerges. Finding a harmonious balance between the two is the key. Until we have reached a place free of ego, self-interest, and pride we will struggle with jealousy, doubt, and remorse. It’s time to move beyond your barriers of fear, forgive yourself for your past, and embrace the light.
This is where I provide my personal connection to the ideas in the post. I hope you will join the conversation by leaving a comment, and offering your personal connection to these ideas as well. I tend to do well with emotional intelligence. I notice when my emotions are causing me problems and am able to adapt so I don’t make things worse. Though despite this, I still run into to set-backs. I keep regressing and struggling with taking 100% responsibility for my thought, feelings, and behavior. It’s easy to use others in my life or the circumstances I’m faced with as the reason I’m not making more progress or where I desire to be. Though, when I commit to taking responsibility I immediately gain greater self-control, motivation, and strength to make change and progress in my life. It’s a powerful notion that takes real effort, but by not placing my control in external circumstances I am able to work past insecurities and uncertainty. Everyone has work to do on themselves, and until we acknowledge our darkness we cannot transcend beyond it. What do you do to work past your insecurities and distorted thinking? Photo by: JoelMonte