The only way you can truly be at peace, is to be at peace with all sides of yourself
There are aspects of my personality that I’d rather not own up to. They’re swept away with the dust bunnies of my past, confined to a corner that can never truly be cleaned. Shame. Embarrassment. A cold edge that glints bright like the blade of a knife. Guilt. Memories of past trauma too long held onto that have wedged themselves in my consciousness, flickering in the early morning hours as I lie awake hitting replay. Various forms of constant self-sabotage. The list could go on.
If it were up to my brain, I’d wish away the dark side and only live in the light of creativity and kindness, empathy and beauty. But this isn’t a fairy tale, and so I’m forced to accept all facets of myself. Turn me one way for kinship and clarity, turn me another for, well something else entirely. The embarrassing moments; those words once said, never to be taken back; the unkind and cold-hearted. For too long, I shrunk away from the realities of past and present darkness, resolving instead to pretend they didn’t exist. This, it turns out, is a recipe for failure. It was a vicious cycle, one perpetuated by none other than my own brain that desired so strongly to be in the light that it refused to accept what was in the shadows. The aspects of myself that nagged and ate away at my confidence, at my ability to be happy. The inner turmoil that bubbled up. The less I accepted that side of myself, the more power I gave it, the more those harmful memories and thoughts overshadowed the good ones.
Until one day, it just felt ridiculous.
I could obsess over pushing down the thoughts and memories, wishing they didn’t happen, didn’t exist. That I hadn’t said that one thing fifteen years ago, or hadn’t disappointed that one ex-friend. Or accept that they had, in fact, happened… and move the hell on. And in doing so, I was able to let go of so much. Not all of it, mind you, but pounds of guilt, a small lifetime of miniature battles, years of second guesses. While some of it will take much, much more work, much harder work, the simple act of accepting that I am a multi-faceted being, and that some of those facets maybe aren’t so shiny and that’s OK, has allowed me to move forward just a bit more swiftly.
We all have a dark side, but it’s up to us to decide how much power to give it.