“You must go into the dark in order to bring forth your light,” Debbie Ford wrote in her 1998 self-help book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.
This was a game changing statement for me. This rocked my boat like nothing else before. For years I fought my dark side (part of my shadow) and for years I denied it existed. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I figured who would love me, want to be with me or accept me if they saw my dark side.
Part of my dark side showed up as an on again, off again dark depression that I felt so ashamed of and felt very insistent on pretending otherwise. I was supposed to be rock solid, fearless and the one who had to keep it together to ensure everyone else’s happiness. Pretty ironic considering deep down I was so UNhappy.
We All Have One
We all have both a dark and light side to us. Our dark side is what we hate, loathe or despise most in ourselves. It’s these things we don’t like about ourselves. It’s the part of us that we often try to hide or avoid because it’s too painful or scary to look at.
It’s our fear of failure, angered emotions, feelings of irritability, our vulnerability, our sadness our bitchiness. Our dark side is often the things we wish we could shut off or change about ourselves. It’s the part of us we don’t want others to witness- for if they did, they might not accept us for who we are.
It is our natural instinct to want to fight our dark side. We want to crush, abolish, squash, kill it then stomp on it until it bleeds dead. This becomes in turn very destructive to us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It makes for a difficult struggle to fully accept, love and be at peace with ourselves.
It makes us divide our persona into two: the right and the wrong; the good and the bad. The problem is you can’t really be mentally or spiritually split, because it’s not so black and white. It’s not about being right or wrong or good or bad.
Consciously or unconsciously, we hide and deny our dark sides, judging, hating and rejecting these parts of our true natures instead of allowing ourselves to live authentically and as our true selves.
Here’s What I Learned From My Fight With My Dark Side…
Trying to bury, deny or hide your dark side is not the answer. Your dark side provides and serves a greater purpose, one that we usually can’t see at them time we’re in it or living it. Your dark side is just as part of you as your light— but that doesn’t mean it is who you are or all that you are.
For so long I struggled with this concept. I thought my depression was me and I was my depression. I longed for the days for my happy pre-6 year old self to come back and re-join me in my present. I wondered when I would ever be that happy-go-lucky little girl my mom described and often asked me where she had gone?
It was not until I fully LET GO of trying to HIDE and CONTROL my dark side that I was truly able to accept it as part of me and that it was okay. I began to realize that I did not need to demolish, slay or defeat my dark side.
Compassion & Love
What my dark side really needed was some attention, LOVE and compassion. It needed some LIGHT. When I stopped fighting my dark side I was able to release all that pent up negative energy from my body and create more LOVING SPACE and ROOM for other purposes. Just by starting to accept who I was as I was, I was able to make more peace with myself.
Now, did this mean I accepted my “depressed” self? Well, not exactly, but it helped me to accept how I was feeling at the time, rather than reject it like I had been programmed to do. Giving attention to my darkness allowed me to heal this part of my life that needed unconditional love and healing. No judgement allowed here.
This also allowed me to reach out to the people, resources and tools I needed access to in order to go through my healing journey.
It gave me the courage and strength to explore the depression and understand what it was all about. It allowed me to nurture these feelings and emotions I was experiencing so I could move on with my life and begin to serve a greater purpose.
Shedding Light Makes Our Dark Side Not So DARK
This means we need to be consciously aware of our dark side and acknowledge that it exists. And we do this without judgment. We need to witness our dark side if we are able to shine light on it. If we are completely unaware, apathetic and don’t look at this side of ourselves, then we simply cannot accept it and will continue to waste valuable negative energy within our physical being.
Understanding Our Dark Side
We must understand our dark side, what it is all about, how it got there in the first place and why it is exists before we can accept it. This means going into our dark side and exploring it. Sit in it, squirm in it, walk in it and experience it— fully. Instead of shutting it off, ignoring it or denying it, trying being in it and see what that feels like for you. I promise it won’t kill you, despite what your ego might be telling you. In fact, it will only make you stronger.
Acceptance is Key
Once you have felt through your dark side, be willing to accept your dark side. Be willing to shift your perception about your dark side from a negative into a positive one.
By accepting your dark side you can then begin to gently and carefully work on these things about yourself that you may want to change or improve. You can start to let go of these things, work on and release them as you wish.
Consider shining some LIGHT on your DARK and I promise you’ll be glad you did. Not only will it make you stronger, more peaceful and totally transform the way you feel about yourself, but it will also allow you to share your light with others who know not their darkness exists.
Sharing much love and light from my darkness to yours… xoxo
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