We all have a dark side, the things we donít like about ourselves, our secrets and hidden thoughts. We all have light as well, the things we love about ourselves, the things we try to show to the world. But in order to be a whole person we must embrace every aspect of ourselves including the dark.
Life is about balance and to truly be a whole person, we must balance the dark and the light within. The darkness is there to teach us lessons, to build our character, to challenge us toward greatness. The dark is often a place we need healing. If we ignore the dark, try to hide it, or deny its existence we are only cheating ourselves.
Debbie Ford in her book, The Shadow Effect said, ďOur mind may tell us that bad is bad, good is good, and that we can never really be all that we dream of being, but if our dark shadow (dark side) could talk, it would tell us otherwise. It would tell us that our brightest light can shine only when weíve accepted our darkness. It would reassure us that there is wisdom in every wound.
When our wounds are fresh, it is hard to accept that any wisdom can be found in them. But time heals all wounds and eventually, if we allow it, time also reveals the lessons we can learn from those wounds. But those lessons canít be learned if we hide the darkness, deny it, or pretend it never happened. Itís not good to keep the dark locked away. It only provides more darkness and causes the darkness to expand and grow until one day it blows up in our face manifesting as harsh words to someone we love, addictions, violence, unexpected stupidity and so on.
Debbie Ford also said in her book that, ďYou never know when you will need a part of you that you have locked away. You never know when a part of yourself that you deemed to be worthless will deliver the exact skill you need to make a difference for yourself or another.Ē
As a teenager and even as a young adult, I would have disagreed with that statement. But now I know better. The very thing that hurt me, the very trauma I experienced as a child, is the very thing that has made me such a passionate writer, itís the very thing that has brought me to this point in my life where God is allowing me to bless others with words of healing, hope and inspiration. Though I would never wish my past experiences on anyone, I would also never want them to have never happened either. Iím not sure if Iíd be the same person I am today without those wounds.
I look back now and can honestly say that the reasons for those hard times, the reason for those wounds, was to make me a stronger person who is capable of fulfilling my destiny.
Your darkness might not be because of circumstances from your past, but rather traits and qualities about yourself you just donít like, or an addiction you canít overcome. You must forgive yourself for possessing these qualities and accept that you are simply being human. As humans, we arenít perfect in every moment of every day.
Because we canít be perfect, most people try to hide their dark side by pretending to be something they arenít. They wear masks to cover up what they donít want anyone to know. Most of these masks have names, such as: the charmer mask, the people pleaser, the seductress, the eternal optimist, the martyr, the good girl, the nice guy, the tough guy, the abuser, the bully, the jokester, the victim and the overachiever.
Those who wear the mask of the charmer do so because they are trying to hide that they feel unworthy. Those who wear the mask of the people pleaser do so because they are trying to hide they are unhappy with themselves. Those who wear the mask of the seductress do so because they usually feel unloved. Those who wear the mask of the bully, do so because they are trying to hide that they are afraid, and so on.
We were not born this way. We were not created to wear masks, we were not created to hide the darkness, nor were we created to live as partial human beings. We were born whole. We were meant to contribute to all humanity with our uniqueness, but somewhere along the way, we encountered pain, trauma and crisis and, in that experience, a darkness was established that we tried to hide. If instead, we shine the light on that darkness, we will find that that old wound can be healed and we can learn from it. Eckhart Tolle said that, ďyou canít fight darkness and win, you only need to bring the light.Ē
So today, make peace with your darkness, accept that itís there, acknowledge why itís there, allow it to heal, and learn from it.
Tori Vigil is an author, inspirational speaker and reporter she can be reached at http://torivigil.tripod.com