People fear their dark side. They try to run away from what they don’t understand and what scares them. Especially, after the interest in spirituality got rekindled in the last couple of years, tendencies to focus only on light emerged. However, focusing only on light has its purpose, it doesn’t change the fact that you first have to face your dark side if you want to become a balanced being. No spiritual bypassing will do because the dark aspects are parts of you too.
What is the dark side of a person?
Everyone has a dark side which creates the balance for the light side. The dark and light sides reside in everything in the world of duality. As long as we evolve and experience the contrasting universe, both sides play their role.
In the Yin and Yang symbol, we can see a dark spot in the white swirl and vice versa. Hence the harmony is preserved. The dark and light don’t have to be balanced 50/50. It can be a 20/80 ratio, but there is something that we call “dark” within us regardless. Even if it’s a small dot, like in the Yin and Yang symbol.
The Sanskrit word GURU (a teacher) also reflects this duality. GU means darkness and RU stands for light. The teacher can’t become the wise one if he doesn’t face and transmute his dark side to the light. Transforming the dark into the light is what the lightworkers do.
Your dark side means that you have shadow aspects of yourself that you don’t want to look at and even less you want consciously work with them. Instead of facing your dark side from the place of presence, we ignore and suppress the parts of ourselves that we dislike.
The inner shadow consists of fears, limiting beliefs, pain, suppressed emotions, worries, or doubts. These states of mind have their meaning and place in life because they’re, too, aspects of you.
Fears are the aspects of you that you don’t want to take ownership over and thus they control you.
When you face your dark side, you realize that you’re not your shadow. Moreover, the darkness has valuable lessons for you. Once you grasp the lessons, the shadows become light.
Examples of a dark side in a person are:
- fear, worries, resentment
- self-sabotage, a wish to hurt others (consciously or not)
- jealousy, envy, comparison
- manipulation and control
- self-harm or harming others
- unprocessed feelings and situations from your past – such as the way your parents or friends treated you while you were growing up
- running away from what you want
- hiding away from your inner power
- inner critic and editor
Understanding your dark side
Regardless if you want, your dark side has a final vote in your life until you begin to transmute it. For the inner darkness not to control you, you need to develop an extra effort to suppress it. However, by fighting those unwanted aspects and characteristics of you, you give them a lot of your attention. It’s your attention that gives them power over you.
Whenever you work hard on getting over something, you must give it a lot of energy. This energy serves as fuel for your fears and shadows and makes them stronger. If you’d be in a state of total peace about the whole of you, then you wouldn’t need to create an effort to suppress anything. Thus the dark and light sides would be in balance.
Anything you hide from will find you. Anything that you suppress will control you. Presence is the highest alchemy to transmute your inner shadow.
You can’t walk a spiritual journey and keep avoiding your dark side because it’ll eventually kick in.
Let’s say that you try to stay positive under all conditions. Perhaps you have set up a background with affirmations at your computer and phone and try to avoid any negativity. However focusing on what you want to experience has its place, it doesn’t make your dark side disappear. No matter how much you try.
One day, you get fired, or your partner leaves you. Suddenly you go into the victim mode, and the fears kick in full speed. The mind goes crazy, and all you think of is how you’ve messed it up. Again. You start to believe that you can’t be happy. If you didn’t embrace your dark side before, it’d get stronger once it’s triggered.
It’s like sitting on a volcano and trying to choke up the crater before the eruption and pretend that the lava won’t come. You can’t change the matter by ignorance. But you can accept the fact that the lava is there and think about what you will do about it.
Ignoring your dark side
Another example of ignoring the darkness is the eagerness to be somewhere (better) than you are at the moment. It’s the unspoken desire to be a better human – there is nothing wrong with that – but you’ll never find inner peace and love for yourself as long as you don’t accept the totality of you – the dark and light aspects within.
The avoidance of darkness makes us ignore one part of us – the unpleasant feelings and aspects of us.
It’s the avoidance of inner shadow that limits you.
Many times, I’ve witnessed that some of my coaching clients are out of touch with their shadow aspects. Society inbuilt an impression that we should always be kind, obedient, and not to display any weaknesses such as sadness or anger. This is one of the ways to form a compliant society, but as you can see from any news, it doesn’t work.
Suppressing doesn’t make anything to dissipate. It pushes it deeper into the subconscious and gives it more control over our lives.
Being good should be a natural result of recognizing and mastering both aspects – the dark and light – and then transcending (and integrating) them.
However, when we want to be kind without knowing the full potential of our being then it backfires to us. It’s like trying to force yourself to love the pink color. You only wear pink, and your home is painted pink too. You never look at different colors of the spectrum, and you’re not aware that there is also green, red, golden, etc.
One day, someone crushes your bubble, and you notice different colors. You feel fascinated and realize how much you’ve been restricting your options. On the other hand, if you’re free to experience any colors, eventually, you choose the favorite ones.
And then you don’t need to wear black color (dark side), for instance. Even if you see someone wearing black, you feel neutral (it doesn’t take you off balance anymore), and you think oh, I’ve tried black too, but it doesn’t suit me. This is the freedom of choice – choosing out of the palette of options. Instead of being handed only one or two possibilities and forcing everyone to like them.
How to embrace your dark side
Unless you learn to embrace your dark side, you’ll not understand your potential. As long as you need to flip from one side to another, you’re not a free person because one of those sides will control you.
To liberate yourself and find inner balance, we need to rise above the dark and light. But how can one do it without consciously working with both?
To embrace your dark side, you need to face it and accept what you see. Understanding your dark side takes time. It’s a process that can take however long it’s needed. You’re in control over that process because you decide whether you’re ready or not. And you decide how much you commit to finding your true self.
One of the ways to embrace your dark side is to write a list of the unwanted aspects of you. You can also connect with them (one after another) in meditation and feel them.
Your awareness is the key.
Since you’ve suppressed those unwanted parts of you for a long time (if not whole life), you’ve also deprived them of your awareness and love. They are like abandoned children of yours who yearn for your love and attention.
As you embrace the dark side, you’ll understand better who you are. You’ll recognize the areas of self-sabotage and when perhaps you also hurt those around you by your words. You may even realize that maybe you’re not as far as you wanted but you’re more grounded, balanced, and free.
Embracing your inner darkness is the necessary step to light. Without it, you can’t understand the light and yourself. When you find peace with your darkness, you’ll transmute it to the light. It’s a natural by-product of embracing your shadow.