One of my favorite lessons (a lesson that I seem to learn over and over again) is that there is a dark side for every light, but there’s beauty in the darkness. I think it was 2013 when I read my first book referencing some of the ideas that I’ve held myself close to ever since; the law of attraction and Love, positivity, and optimism. I soaked it all in and felt like I found the answer to life. Be good to people, be “nice”, give Love, be positive, and everything will work out perfectly, it has to. Sike. That’s not exactly how it works.
Rooting myself in positivity has certainly done wonders for who I am as a person. I don’t feel the sting so painfully when something bad happens. I can always find something to be grateful for. I know that that’s helped to make my life so bright, but where I slipped was with my interpretation of dark moments. They do happen. We can’t hide from them, suffering is an essential part of the human experience. The way we process our suffering is the difference between making and breaking us, so we have to find our way back to the light, but not without being real with that darkness.
In the beginning of my learning, I made the mistake of confusing positivity with permanent positivity. I thought that being a positive person meant that there was no room for negative thoughts, emotions, or reactions to the negative shit that is very well happening. Something happening over there that’s affecting you negatively? Just look over here to the good stuff! Nothing to worry about over here!
I thought that processing negativity would only add to it, but by avoiding it, all I did was paste a smile over all the shit that was piling up on the inside. Where did that piling shit end up, you ask? All over the place. I let it spill in forms of crying spells and overwhelming needs for isolation, just to name a couple. So, lately, I’ve been embracing the dark and my own true shadows.
We all have a “shadow self”: the sum of all the parts of us that we hide because if we didn’t, it would taint the picture of the person that we show off. I’m pretty talented; I’m a good writer, I can sing, I’m imaginative, but the shadow of my talent is my laziness and tendency to procrastinate, if not convince myself altogether that I can’t do what I’d like to. I’m a positive person and my positivity helps paint me as fearless; the shadow of that includes the moments when I’m physically terrified at the mere thought of death.
It appears that for all of my good qualities, there’s a quality underneath it that I’d tried to hide from even myself. I would try to just push it down because who knows what would happen if we give in to our darkness? Well… What happens is more light. Warning, this next sentence is about to be hella cliché. When night falls, we have to push through it, whether that be through rest or enjoying the night however we may, before the sun comes back. But the sun always comes back, even though nature has its way of forcing us to deal with the night.
So, how do we deal with our darkness, our shadows? First of all, we cut the bullshit and admit to having them. There was a time when I felt like being positive meant I couldn’t dislike. I had to just find a way to Love everything and everyone. That makes no sense. For what I think is the very first time in years, I said out loud this past week, “I don’t like her”. I’m not going to tell you nosey babies who I was talking about, but that moment, for me, felt really good. It felt honest. Also! It’s important to note that I did not use the realization of not liking someone as a reason or excuse to minimize my character by mistreating this person. What it did was paint a real picture and create a space for me to deal with the next steps of interacting with this person that I don’t like.
Know it, own it, make the shift. I know I’m lazy as fuck and I procrastinate, so I plan my ass off. Keeping lists breaking down my goals and intentions for the week and for each day has shifted my productivity tremendously. The byproduct of that is feeling really proud of myself for my small wins and consistency, this pride then fuels my positivity. It’s a cycle just like night evolving to day; deal with the darkness, be honest with it, take care of it, and then the light shines through.
These are just a couple examples of my shadows and darkness, but I’m looking forward to having a one on one with them all. I deserve light, and if dealing with my darkness only makes my light brighter, then let’s get to it.