Perhaps you have a fiery temper.
Or you’re secretly so competitive that you enjoy when other’s careers are damaged.
Maybe you believe you’re worthless, of no relevant talent, skill, or importance.
We all have internal challenges we’re battling (or have battled) that have informed who we have become as people. But to think that you’re stuck with these negative aspects of your personality and that they’re destined to doom you is a misunderstanding.
In fact, we have the potential to turn these dark aspects of our ourselves into an advantage, taking something that holds us back and using it almost as a superpower– our superpower.
We all have a dark side. Most of us go through life avoiding direct confrontation with that aspect of ourselves, which I call the shadow self. There’s a reason why. It carries a great deal of energy.
– Lorraine Toussaint
The power of your dark aspects
The dark aspects of your personality are gateways to wisdom that is otherwise very difficult to unlock on its own.
Think about it this way: Imagine stepping into a dark room for a research experiment and being told that your anger was hovering in the center of the floor in front of you. Your task is to describe your anger– and you can’t turn on the light.
So, you walk forward, attempting to place your hands on it and notice that it’s a spherical object. You describe its shape, size, temperature, and weight. You’re able to describe this because it exists in your mind.
However, if you hadn’t experienced this, you would have had no reference point. Because of this, you’d have no way to describe it to others, offer your own guidance as to how to deal with it, and you’d be wholly unprepared the next time you’d encounter it.
And, perhaps most importantly, it’s because you’ve felt the course razor of anger that you know how to appreciate the peace that comes with its absence.
These, and others, are the powers bestowed upon you in the wake of your dark aspects. They’re only possible because of your dark gifts and, if used to their full potential, can make a positive impact on your life.
Our dark aspects can provide us with some incredible gifts, but that doesn’t mean we all inherit them.
To acquire these gifts you must first learn how to use your dark aspects to create positive change.
First, before you can get anywhere you need to stop running and accept your darkness. If you’re heavily competitive, accept it and know that it’s a part of who you are. If you struggle with feelings of unworthiness, accept that questioning your worth is a normal part of being human so you can move past it and find confidence.
Oftentimes, we run from our darkness and bottle it up, acting as if it doesn’t exist. But anytime you do that it just creates fiction, causing you to suffer more than if you had faced it and accepted things for what they are.
Your dark aspect might be a part of who you are and it might be something you developed solely because of your upbringing. Therefore, it’s a behavior you can change.
However, in either case, it’s always best to accept it instead of trying to run away.
If you can do this, you’re able to take control of the behavior instead of it controlling you. You can study it, see how it works, and even learn how to utilize it to accomplish your goals.
A bad temper or a competitive spirit can hurt you, but all of our dark traits are a form of energy– and energy can be used to your advantage if you know how to direct it.
Anger is powerful when directed at your goals. The memory of your haters combined with an incredible anger can be one of the most powerful motivators in existence.
And, while a competitive spirit can cause harm to you (typically by pushing friends and family away and creating enemies in your professional life), if you learn to use that spirit you can direct it to become the best there is at your craft — as opposed to using it to react negatively towards others.
In this way, your competitive energy is “unloaded” on yourself instead of harming others, a far more productive use of your time if you want to be the best at what you do.
Lastly, the above becomes much easier by establishing a set of ideals to live by.
- Be kind to others, regardless of who they
- Contribute to the world by giving your all to your craft or profession
- Be kind and accepting of yourself and welcome difficult emotions instead of running from them
By creating such ideals, you have a reference point to grab hold of when your dark aspects take hold and, as a result, you can guide that energy in a positive way. Without such ideals, you can turn these dark aspects into an advantage, but it’s much less reliable without that reference point to guide you.