11 Dec Accept your darkness.
Whether you like or not, all of us carry negative emotions and perceptions. Some more than others, but few have the serenity to be rid of them entirely (if at all possible).
We all carry darkness, no matter how much we would like to avoid admitting it. Everyone is capable of unspeakable evil, just as they are capable of immeasurable good. Given the right circumstances in our lives, great darkness can manifest in any good man.
Were all Germans in Nazi Germany bad? No, but due to normalization of cruelty, evil was seen as something normal to most. People were desensitized, they were given good reasons for bad actions. Bad things tend to happen from good intentions, but with the wrong means to achieving them.
No one is pure good.
Just as there are no one-sided coins. Some of the most evil people on this planet go to church every Sunday and some of the most benevolent are covered in tattoos and wear all black. The difference between those people is that one group understands darkness and the other shuns it. The people that do understand it know how and when to apply it in a positive (or non-threatening) manner. The others lose control, blackout in rage and beat their wives. The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a great metaphor for this.
Carl Jung speaks of the shadow and the things we repress from our conscious. These repressed thoughts and feelings do not simply disappear, but manifest in other ways. Many people are driven into self-destructive behaviors and wars with themselves because of this. A repressed shadow has the power to override our consciousness in moments of weakness. We need to stop being willfully blind to the darkness of our unconscious. We need to stop believing we are only moral and good.
You can imagine how a normally righteous father is capable of murder, to protect his family. So you could imagine yourself in situation where you would hurt or even kill someone to prevent bad things from happening to you or those you love? So you can see, it’s not just revenge, spite or fury. Sometimes the ends are so important or dire to us, that we justify the means (malevolence). And as soon as we admit that we are capable of such malevolence, the sooner can we rid ourselves of it’s influence and maybe use it as a force for good. Subconsciously, your darkness will always have an influence on you. However, we need to be aware of it, we need to understand it and learn to not fear it.
Only when we truly know and accept our darkness, can we use it as a force for good. It’s kind of ironic, really.
Maybe you are quick to anger, or regularly have obsessively negative thoughts. Do you know yourself enough to have an explanation for them? Most don’t, but if you do then you are on the right path. Finding out when and how they appear is the first step.
It may be painful, but we need to know our deepest wounds, greatest regrets, strongest fears. These negative places in our souls fuel darkness. Some may never be completely healed, but being aware of them is important. In that way we can avoid the pitfalls of our own negativity. For example, understanding why a situation angers us can help us avoid that scenario. Maybe the anger response is completely irrational and based on a fear from our past. Maybe it does not apply to today. Understanding it, helps eliminate it. Exploring darkness is difficult and painful, but if we want to be the best versions of ourselves it needs to be done.
We need to admit to ourselves that we are not so virtuous, moral and good human beings as we would like to think. All of us carry darkness. Integrating parts of our shadow in our conscious is the only way to keep it in check.
Integrating darkness within your conscious.
If you can’t get rid of your negativity, then you could channel it into art. Paint it, write it, sculpture it. Create a message with it, make it beautiful. That is also therapy.
Anger always popping up? Channel it into sports, the gym or maybe calm down with a hobby. Use it as fuel.
Don’t wallow in self-pity. Negative emotions exist to propel us into making a change. To make us uncomfortable enough to move to a better place.
“There is no generally effective technique for assimilating the shadow. It is more like diplomacy or statesmanship and it is always an individual matter. First one has to accept and take seriously the existence of the shadow. Second, one has to become aware of its qualities and intentions. This happens through conscientious attention to moods, fantasies and impulses. Third, a long process of negotiation is unavoidable.” Carl Jung