I believe everyone has a dark side of their personality. I don’t believe everyone’s dark side is the same type nor degree. One person’s dark side may include fantasies of committing felonies while another person’s dark side may be the inner fear of failing in life. The person who fears her urge to seriously break the law may only be a fantasy; or she may give in to it and do something terrible. The same scale works for the person who fears failure. He may worry that he will fail; or he may believe in failure so much, that he does, indeed fail.
It’s healthy and helpful to confront our darker nature of secret anxieties and fears. To honestly assess the chains of anxieties and fears is the first step towards becoming a stronger person.
The dark side holds a person back from becoming the best version of oneself. The dark side might manifest as bad habits, addictions, negative thoughts, compulsions, behaviors, or remaining in harmful relationships. The dark side traps us between pleasures we receive and suffering the consequences with lasting emotional pain. The dark side entices us to submit to the thrill of instant gratification at the cost of satisfying our long-term goals. In the moment you know you want to satisfy the short-term thrill even though you understand that doing so is at your detriment. At the lesser end of the scale, giving in to instant gratification only hurts oneself. At the greater end of the scale, giving in to instant gratification hurts others and oneself.
Before one gives in to the dark side, it is wise to take a step back to bring them into conscious awareness. Using the tool of honesty one can examine one’s negative urges and patterns that have clouded one’s life for so long. A person can discover weak places in the dark side that one can exploit in order to free oneself of the deathly grip the dark side enjoys.
Although a person may know and understand negative beliefs, habits, and behavior, it takes honest intent and effort to work on solving the problems. This won’t happen overnight. It takes concerted will and encouragement to follow through.
A frustrating trait of the dark side is that it often pops up when you’re approaching a break-through or are on the verge of successfully achieving a goal. The dark side is the urge to give up and surrender to old patterns of thinking and behavior.
Limiting beliefs and attachment to opinions will re-emerge with the danger of holding you back. This shadow self is ready and able to sabotage and sacrifice all the effort and achievement already made towards improving oneself. One must reinforce the decision to let go of one’s fears and jettison limiting beliefs about one’s abilities. This activates intent, and progress becomes easier than you had previously feared.
When the dark side appears, it is especially helpful to encounter it fully conscious with confidence and strength. It is by honestly understanding one’s inner most secrets and urges that a person can release them or integrate them constructively. There’s a liberating feeling when you realize you’re not who you used to think you were.
In some instances the dark side is not a negative side. It might be a neutral personality trait or feature that you’re ashamed of. The dark side turns out to be a positive prompt to accept who you are, warts and all. In such instances, what you once believed to be a fault, turns out to be a feature.
In the end, the need to practice detachment arises. When one detaches from identifying with the dark side, freedom is revealed. When you give yourself permission to release yourself from unhealthy attachments to views, objects, and harmful people, the dark side recedes. It’s the dawning of a new you.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Academy Award winning actor, director, and film producer, Anthony Hopkins. “I think the healthy way to live is to make friends with the beast inside oneself, and that means not the beast, but the shadow. The dark side of one’s nature. Have fun with it and, you know, is to accept everything about ourselves.”