You Are a Balance of Light and Shadows
The sum of who we are is much more than we show, and much more than we think of ourselves. Our lights and shadows form a part of everything that pertains to us.
What are our shadows? Our shadows are our personal hell, things that we don’t want to acknowledge about ourselves. Things that we try to hide.
Behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that we find to be inappropriate or unacceptable. Everything that we learn from our culture that we can’t be, everything that we repress. The things we judge and reproach other people for.
We make an effort to show only one side of ourselves, rejecting what we can’t accept, even though it’s also a part of us. Which is a waste of energy that ends up turning against us.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
The world is not made of only light
We think that our strength lies in bringing out our friendlier, happier side. We’re always smiling and we always try to appear available and open to other people.
But we can’t stay like that in every situation. In many circumstances, it becomes necessary to show our sadness, anger, distress, or whatever else that is deemed negative by society.
When we repress the things that arise in us naturally and spontaneously as a response to a series of life experiences, we are denying the expression of our being.
All this does is intensify the negative feelings, only for them to reappear in a more inappropriate and disproportionate manner.
For example: we accumulate a lot of stress we finally explode in any situation and unload it all right there, towards a specific situation or person.
When this happens, there are very unpleasant consequences, and we’ll also feel guilty for overreacting like that.
Accepting our shadows
When we feel guilty for displaying a behavior that we disapprove of, we tend to lock that behavior away, pretending that it won’t come back.
But what we don’t understand is that we’re actually feeding into it by repressing it, only for it to express itself again disproportionately in any given situation.
If we’re able to make ourselves aware of this process, we can take a step towards accepting our shadows. Accepting what we don’t want to acknowledge, but what also forms a part of us.
For light to exist, you have to acknowledge darkness, so that there can be a balance – instead of a pendulum that goes from one extreme to the other – at the level of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Letting us be ourselves naturally, without effort, so we can be complete. With acceptance, we wake up our conscience and open up to the experience of discovering ourselves and loving ourselves the way we are.
The fusion of opposites
Our world is made up of the fusion of opposites, the duality of everything and nothing, of life and death.
When we accept that we’re made up of opposites, too, we’ll recognize everything about ourselves that we avoid being, that we reject in other people. We’re prepared to be more human, acquiring an understanding and respect for people we reject.
We go from judgment to understanding, both towards ourselves and the people around us. And this gives rise to harmony, a balance of opposites.
There is no good and bad, only the integration of poles, and the balance of this relationship.
When we’re in conflict with something about ourselves – for example, “I am a responsible person and I can’t let myself be any other way – it becomes exhausting to keep it up, and the time could come where we inevitably jump to the other extreme.
When you resolve the conflict between one of your poles, you’ll permit the integration of the two extremes and the possibility of balance, so that you don’t have such extreme reactions. So you can just let yourself be.
“If you suffer it is because of you, if you feel blissful it is because of you. Nobody else is responsible – only you and you alone. You are your hell and your heaven too.”
In the documentary The Shadow Effect, you can discover many profound examples of what avoiding our shadows can do to our lives:
Images courtesy of Amanda Cass