You Are Both Heaven and Hell
Who we are as people is far more than what we show to the world, and is much more than what we think of ourselves. Our lights and shadows are part of the whole to which we belong.
What are our shadows? Our shadows are our personal hell which we do not want to recognize in ourselves. It is what we insist on concealing. Behaviors, thoughts and emotions that are inadequate, unacceptable and inadmissible for us. Everything we learn in our culture that we cannot be is what we repress. It is what we judge and criticize others for.
We strive to show only one part of ourselves. Which is a waste of energy that just ends up working against us.
“No one is illuminated by fantasizing about figures of light, but rather by being conscious of their darkness.”
– Carl Jung
The world is not just composed of light
We believe that our strength lies in bringing out our most friendly and cheerful side. Showing a constant smile and a continued willingness to be available to others.
Not all situations can be like that. In many circumstances it becomes necessary to express our sadness, our rage, our discomfort, our anger and all the aspects that are socially “negative.”
But by suppressing these states that naturally and spontaneously occur in us which are response to a series of life experiences, we are denying the expression of our being. This causes these aspects to acquire greater intensity and end up revealing themselves in an inadequate and disproportionate way.
An example: when we have accumulated a lot of discomfort and a situation occurs where we finally explode and we unload everything thing right there on that particular situation and person. When this happens, the consequences are unpleasant, and we are filled with guilt for having reacted in such an inappropriate way.
Accepting our shadow
In the face of guilt, which is generated by our inappropriate expression of a behavior that we reject, we tend to lock up that behavior in order to keep it from manifesting again.
What we don’t understand is that we are fueling what causes us to inappropriately express ourselves in any situation.
If we can become aware of this process, we are taking a step towards accepting our shadow. Moving away from not wanting to recognize that we also are one and that it is a part of us.
For light to exist it is necessary to recognize the shadows, so that there can be a balance, and not go past a pendulum from one extreme to another in our repertoire; at the level of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Only by allowing myself to effortlessly and naturally be all that I am, can I feel complete. Acceptance awakens our conscience and opens us up to the experience of discovering and loving ourselves as we are.
This is how our world is formed: by combining opposites, the duality of everything and nothing, of life and death.
By accepting that we are made of these opposites we recognize everything that we avoid being and reject as part of the whole. We become more human, gaining an understanding and respect for people that reject us.
We go from judging to understanding, both of ourselves and of those around us. And this causes an awakening of harmony, a balance of opposites.
There is no good and bad. There exists an integration of the poles, the balance of this relationship.
When we are in conflict with one of our aspects, for example, under the rule “I am a responsible person, I cannot afford to be otherwise” we always make sure to keep it that way. This ends up being exhausting and there may come a time when we inevitably move to the other extreme.
When we heal the conflict with one of our poles we can move toward integration and balance, so that we do not fall out of proportion.
“If you suffer it’s for yourself, if you feel happy it is for yourself, if you feel joyful it is for yourself. No one is responsible for how you feel, just you and nobody else but you. You are hell and heaven too. “
Images courtesy of Amanda Cass